Welcome to the webpage of the Jackson lab in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources at the University of California at Davis. We study soil and root ecology in agricultural and grassland ecosystems and across agricultural landscapes. We are increasingly involved in social-ecological projects on agricultural adaptation to climate change and on agrobiodiversity and ecosystem services. Our goals are to:
- Understand ecological processes that control nutrient cycling, microbial community composition, and plant growth and diversity along management and disturbance gradients
- Develop environmentally-sound management practices for increased sustainability, soil quality, and biodiversity in agricultural and grassland ecosystems in California
- Incorporate concepts of resilience and sustainagility into participatory research on responses to climate change, and agrobiodiversity use and conservation
Our work examines ecological processes in:
- Ecophysiology, e.g., plant nitrogen uptake and water relations
- Community ecology, e.g., plant and soil microbial community composition and activity
- Ecosystem ecology, e.g., soil-plant nitrogen and carbon flows as mediated by microbial and plant processes
- Landscape-level ecology, e.g., soil and vegetation change along land use gradients
We focus on vegetable crop systems and on the comparison of soil processes between intensively-farmed vegetable crop systems and neighboring grassland and savanna/woodland ecosystems. Our projects span basic and applied research topics, and address issues related to water, nitrogen, and organic matter management. Currently, our work is in both conventional and organically farmed agroecosystems, and in managed and protected wildland ecosystems.
Outreach and extension of research results to farmers and landowners is an important part of our programs. We emphasize participatory on-farm research as an extremely valuable way to study ecological processes, as well as produce relevant information for farmers to use in their decision-making. We also find ways to include various types of organizations and agencies in this work, and to enhance the scientific basis for policy decisions and implementation on topics related to land use.
Professor and Extension Specialist