Congratulations to Courtney Emerson for completing her Master’s research!

Huge Congratulations to Courtney Emerson for finishing her Master’s.
Courtney investigated changes in soil biochemical properties in processing tomatoes grown under deficit irrigation. Deficit irrigation is a water conservation practice that has increased in use due to the threat of drought, but its long-term impact on soil health remains unclear. The project found no evidence that deficit irrigation could harm the agricultural production of processing tomatoes in California or negatively impact soil physical properties, but more research should be done to determine how spatial variability of biological properties affects the soil within the context of soil health and carbon sequestration.

From left to right, Cristina Lazcano, Courtney Emerson and Mallika Nocco


Joshua Garcia received two Postdoctoral Fellowships

Congratulations to Josh for receiving two postdoctoral fellowships to support his work! Josh received the University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship (, a UC-wide award meant to support postdoctoral scholars whose work addresses issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. For his PPF project, Josh will be collaborating with urban farmers in Oakland and San Francisco to examine how a variety of organic amendments can support soil health and crop productivity in urban farming. Josh will also work with these growers on a variety of urban grower outreach and extension activities surrounding soil health and sustainable management practices.

Josh also received the National Science Foundation’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology ( For his PRFB project, Josh will be examining how diversified crop rotations can support biological soil phosphorus cycling in the Midwest and Canada using soil physicochemical and metatranscriptomic techniques. As a part of his fellowship activities, Josh will also be leading efforts to support fellow postdoctoral scholars from marginalized backgrounds at UC Davis.

🍅 Tomato season is here!

Summer in Davis means tomato season. This week the team was out early in the field to collect soil and rhizosphere samples. In this trial, we are evaluating the response  of the soil microbiome to a biostimulant.

Zeke and Laibin (Rodrigues Lab) collect rhizosphere samples

Zeke (Rodrigues Lab) holding a tomato root sample

Nono, Anna and Erika (Lazcano Lab) taking soil samples

Noely Gonzalez-Maldonado selected as 2022-2023 Professors for the Future Fellow

Established in 1992, Professors for the Future (PFTF) is a year-long competitive fellowship program designed to recognize and develop the leadership skills of outstanding graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who have demonstrated their commitment to professionalism, integrity, and academic service. The program is designed to prepare UC Davis doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars for an increasingly competitive marketplace and a rapidly changing university environment.

Congratulations Noely!

UC Davis to Lead Groundwater and Irrigated Agriculture Sustainability Study

The Soil Biodiversity and Health Lab will be leading the charge to assess the potential of healthy soils to contribute to the sustainability of groundwater and irrigated agriculture in semi-arid regions of western US. We will assess how sustainable and regenerative soil management practices such as cover cropping build carbon and soil health with benefits for soil drivers of groundwater recharge and drought resilience to improve sustainability of western US agroecosystems. This research will be carried out within the context of a $10M USDA NIFA grant awarded to Associate Professor Isaya Kisekka. We will be looking for a postdoctoral scholar to work with us on this multidisciplinary project. More info here.

Four researchers measure soil moisture content in an agricultural crop at UC Davis Agricultural Research Farm

Professor Isaya Kisekka and students measure soil moisture content at the UC Davis Agricultural Research Farm in 2018. (Source: