Two University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences scientists at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce, each who have made internationally important contributions to soil science have been recognized with University Term Professorship awards.
The scientists, Zhenli He, a professor of soil and water science and associate director for IRREC, and Alan Wright, associate professor of soil and water science at IRREC, work together to improve soils and water quality for environmentally sustainable agriculture.
In announcing the awards, three university officials congratulated the two professors who were among the first to receive the new university awards. The term awards are designated for the next three academic years and will supplement the professors’ successful research, extension and teaching programs.
The three administrators are: UF Dean for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, R. Elaine Turner; the UF Dean for Research and Director for the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Jacqueline Burns; and, Nick T. Place, UF Dean for Extension and Director of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service. Each dean leads UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences primary service areas to Florida’s agricultural and natural resource industries with research, extension and education.
“These three year professorships are given to recognize and reward faculty achievements,” said Turner, Burns and Place. “The review committee was impressed with your performance and your potential for sustained and future accomplishments.”
Both He and Wright’s careers are distinguished with multiple awards and achievements, and career-long service to international, national and local science interest groups.
Wright’s expertise is with crop production and wetlands conservation as it relates to soil and water quality. His work involves understanding the biological and chemical factors affecting nutrient cycling in agricultural, urban and wetland ecosystems.
Wright was for three years, commencing in 2013, a UF Research Foundation Professor, and was recognized with a Gamma Sigma Delta Junior Faculty Award of Merit in 2011.
He’s research interests include soil biogeochemistry of nutrients and contaminants, remediation of contaminated soil and water, and training new scientists to serve soil sciences. This year, He published, “Phosphorus Management in Crop Production,” in an effort to improve poor soils and feed the world’s increasing population.
He has been recognized with a number of awards, the most prestigious of which are as a Fellow by both the Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy, the highest point of achievement for both of these international organizations.