Skip Menu

Return to Skip Menu

Main Content

John M Galbraith

Associate Professor


Ph.D., Soil Science, Cornell University, 1997

M.S., Range Science, Texas Tech University, 1983

B.S., Range and Wildlife Management, Texas Tech University, 1978


2005 - Present - Associate Professor, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

1999 - 2005 - Assistant Professor, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

1998 - 1999 - Post-Doctoral Associate, Soil and Water Science Department, University of Florida

1997 - 1998 - Post-Doctoral Associate, Department of Crop, Soil, and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University

1990 - 1997 - Research Support Specialist, Department of Crop, Soil, and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University

1987 - 1990 - Supervisory Soil Scientist, USDA-SCS, Havre, Mont.

1983 - 1987 - Soil Scientist, USDA-SCS, Pearsall and Kenedy, Texas

1977 - 1979 - Range Conservationist, USDA-SCS, Menard and Andrews, Texas


Link to curriculum vita

Courses Taught

  • CSES 3114 - Soils (40%, Fall)
  • CSES 3134 - Soils in the Landscape (40%, Spring)
  • CSES 3144 - Soil Description and Interpretation (Fall)
  • CSES 4134 - Soil Genesis and Classification (Spring, odd years)
  • CSES 4154 - Soil Genesis Lab (Spring, odd years)
  • CSES/ENSC 4854/5854 - Wetland Soils and Mitigation/Advanced Wetland Soils  (60%, Fall, odd years)
  • CSES 5864 - Advanced Wetland Soils and Mitigation, Online (40%, Fall, odd years)

Other Teaching and Advising

  • I offer undergraduate research almost every year and advise all CSES Soil & Land Rehabilitation majors. I have been a member of the CSES curriculum committee for 10 years. I also developed the Wetland Science Minor and CGIT Graduate Certificate.

Program Focus

My research focuses on digital wetland mapping, wetland hydrology and morphology of hydric soils, hydric soil indicator research, soil carbon measurement, and soil sampling/classification for research. I assist multiple graduate students in their soils research with tools, techniques, and expertise. I do projects that support research such as development of the Universal Soil Classification System, amending US Soil Taxonomy to include Human-altered and Human-transported soils, and heading the IUSS Soil Classification Commission.

Role of Graduate Students

My graduate students are involved in: mapping, detecting, and monitoring wetlands with remote sensing; and biofuel production and measuring beneficial changes in soil properties. I advise students involved with carbon sequestration.

Future Research

Future graduate students will use remote sensing to find and map wetlands in forested areas. They will study soil carbon in peatlands and possibly in tropical wetlands.


Extension Program

I am co-founder and involved with VIP-COI (Virginia Indian Pre-College Outreach Initiative). I am a member of the Native@VT student organization. I have submitted education grants to work with a tribal college (Oglala Lakota College in Kyle, SD) to develop a soils course and will probably be invited to be an adjunct professor at the tribal college to help teach a 2-week wetland soils class next summer. I supervised a program funded by USDA-NRCS to enter over 400 Virginia Tech soils lab pedon descriptions and lab data into their Access® program to be incorporated into a nationwide soils database. I did quality control and researched the lab methods and reviewed/revised all legacy methods and data. I am the NRCS liaison in Virginia and represent VT at all National and Regional Soil Survey Conferences. I host the Soil Taxonomy Forum website for NRCS. I participate actively in the Mid-Atlantic Hydric Soils Committee and am an ex-officio Board Member of Assoc. of State Wetland Managers. I am chair and website host for the Intern. Comm. for Anthropogenic Soils (ICOMANTH) and am chair and web host for Commission 1.4 Soil Classification for Intern. Union Soil Sciences. I am involved with developing a universal soil classification system and writing a simplified version of Soil Taxonomy.

Extension philosophy

I do not have an extension appointment, but I do extension work by aiding others to obtain and correctly use soil survey, laboratory, and classification data. My philosophy is to look for those who most need my help and advice and who are least enabled to gain that help elsewhere. I especially enjoy working with disadvantaged groups such as indigenous peoples.


    Dr. John Galbraith