Texas Tech Department of Plant & Soil Science adds soil chemistry expert
By: Norman Martin
Matthew Siebecker has been named an assistant professor of applied environmental soil chemistry with Texas Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science, according to officials within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. He officially stepped into his new research and teaching post on Jan. 1.
The Massachusetts native and adopted Delawarean looks forward expanding his new program here at Texas Tech. He will head up the Environmental Soil Chemistry research group, which will investigate how fundamental soil chemical processes can be extrapolated and applied to field scale environmental problems. Specifically, he is interested in the reactions and fate of heavy metal and metalloid contaminants (e.g., nickel, zinc, arsenic, and chromium) and agricultural nutrient cycling (phosphorus and potassium). Siebecker comes from a background in both fundamental and applied environmental soil chemistry with postdoctoral experience in chemical oceanography, where he participated on marine research cruises to study sediment geochemical cycling of iron and manganese.
One of his primary goals here at Tech is to expand the knowledge and use of advanced, high-energy synchrotron radiation techniques to tackle modern environmental challenges related to soil science and soil environmental geochemistry. Challenges include heavy metal fate and transport, the effects of climate change induced flooding on soil contaminant mobility, and soil organic carbon interactions with iron and manganese oxides and phyllosilicate clays. These advanced techniques in conjunction with traditional wet chemistry experiments carried out in the laboratory provide necessary information and data to address modern environmental challenges.
When asked about the current challenges in the field, Siebecker said, "When I consider the field of environmental soil chemistry, there is no better nor difficult time to be here than now. We are using cutting edge technology to address real world problems such as the effects climate change, flooding, and drying on soil contaminants and soil chemical processes, such as adsorption, dissolution, surface precipitation, and redox.
"These reactions occur on a wide breadth of time scales, from milliseconds to years. With the additional pressure to preserve soil and soil health, understand the global carbon cycle, and mitigate heavy metal and contaminant transport, we must carry out high quality, high impact research. Additionally, we must promote our findings in a concise, intelligible manner to the public and policymakers."
Prior to taking his present position, Siebecker served as a postdoctoral research associate with the Delaware Environmental Institute at the University of Delaware-Newark, and a postdoctoral research associate in chemical oceanography with the School of Marine Science and Policy at the University of Delaware-Lewes.
Siebecker received his bachelor's degree with a double major in environmental sciences and plant and soil sciences from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. His doctorate in Environmental Soil Chemistry is from the University of Delaware-Newark. He is a member of the Geochemical Society, Soil Science Society of America, and the American Chemical Society. He is fluent in Spanish and spent time in both Chile and Costa Rica.
CONTACT: Eric Hequet, Department Chair, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2838 or email@example.com
0228NM19 / Editor's Note: More information about his program and the Environmental Soil Chemistry research group can be found via the PSS faculty profile page here