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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Making the practitioner the researcher – reflections of co-workers

item Wienhold, Brian
item Varvel, Gary
item Drijber, Rhae

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/27/2011
Publication Date: 10/16/2011
Citation: Wienhold, B.J., Varvel, G.E., Drijber, R.A. 2011. Making the practitioner the researcher – reflections of co-workers. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: This presentation will share thoughts from several co-workers who interacted with John Doran on a nearly daily basis during part of his 31 years as a USDA-ARS soil scientist stationed at the University of Nebraska. John conducted pioneering work on changes in soil properties following adoption of no-tillage; use of the water-filled pore space (WFPS) concept to better understand the role of water content on microbially mediated processes such as nitrification, denitrification, and respiration; and electrical conductivity (EC) as a measure to monitor nitrate dynamics in non-saline agronomic soils. John conducted his research with a passion for soils, attention to detail, and an insistence for efficiency and accuracy in data collection. John was an early proponent of the soil quality concept and played a lead role in NCR-59 activities to define soil quality and develop methods for quantifying soil quality. Resulting publications have found their way into the hands of thousands of practitioners around the world. He later developed the soil quality test kit and a hand-held EC probe which became commercially available. These tools were designed to be affordable and readily available to land managers who needed to better understand how practices affected soil function. John was a tireless teacher and mentor. He constantly involved other scientists, faculty, and students in his research and writing. He was also well travelled interacting with scientists around the world “Translating Science into Practice”. For many of us interacting with John affected the way we conduct our research, how we present our results, and how we interact with others in the conduct of our research.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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