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UF/IFAS professor wins research award

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Dr. Vimala Nair

Dr. Vimala Nair, research professor in the UF/IFAS soil and water sciences department (SWS), is the recipient of the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) 2021 Soil Science Research Award. The award recognizes outstanding research contributions in soil science. Nair will receive a certificate and a $2,000 prize. SSSA will present those to Nair at the society’s annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, this fall.

“This is a great recognition for Dr. Nair and shows the importance of her research – not only to Florida but around the world,” said Dr. Matt Whiles, professor and chair of SWS.

Dr. Willie Harris, professor emeritus of soil mineralogy in SWS, nominated Nair for the award.

“As Vimala’s colleague, I can attest to the relevance of her soils research as well as to her dedication to effective mentoring and to fostering the professional development and career advancement of her students,” he said. “She is a worthy and appropriate recipient of this award.”

Nair is an internationally recognized expert on soil processes that affect the fate and transport of phosphorus, the benefits and challenges of land application of biochar, and soil carbon sequestration in agroforestry systems. Her publications as author/co-author/co-editor include three books, 12 book chapters, and 70 peer-reviewed publications.

“It is a great honor to receive this award from SSSA,” Nair said. “My colleagues, post-doctoral associates, and graduate students all have contributed to this research award.”

Nair has provided leadership in organizing professional events within the United States and internationally. Additionally, she has presented her research and conducted training courses on five continents. She was named SSSA Fellow in 2014 and an American Society of Agronomy Fellow in 2013.

Nair is an affiliate faculty in the UF/IFAS School of Natural Resources and Environment and the UF Water Institute. She is also a courtesy faculty at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. A graduate of Kerala University, India, where she received her B.Sc. and M.Sc., Nair earned her Ph.D. from Göttingen University, Germany.

Nair is the second SWS faculty member to receive the SSSA Soil Science Research Award. Dr. Suresh Rao, now an emeritus professor of soil physics and hydrology, was the 1998 recipient.