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John Galbraith


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 (30%, Fall)
  • CSES 3134 - Soils in the Landscape (30%, Spring)
  • CSES 3144 - Soil Description and Interpretation (Fall)
  • CSES/ENSC 4134 - Soil Genesis and Classification (Spring, odd years)
  • CSES 4174 - Soil Description and Sampling(Spring)
  • CSES/ENSC 4854 - Wetland Soils and Mitigation (Fall)
  • CSES 5854 - Advanced Wetland Soils (60%, Fall, odd years)
  • CSES 5864 - Advanced Wetland Soils and Mitigation, Online (60%, Fall, odd years)

Other Teaching and Advising

  • I offer undergraduate research almost every year and advise transfer 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.
  • I am co-instructor of a new course called: Indigenous Ecology and Knowledge Systems, cross-listed with Sociology.

Program Focus

My research focuses on soil resource inventory, wetland mapping, wetland hydrology and morphology of hydric soils, hydric soil indicator research, soil health and carbon measurement, and soil sampling/classification for research. I assist multiple graduate students in their soils research with tools, techniques, and expertise in soil science and soil sampling. I do extension through training and publication. I contribute to development of the Universal Soil Classification System and US Soil Taxonomy to include Human-altered and Human-transported soils, and am member of numerous professional societies related to soils and wetlands.

Role of Graduate Students

My graduate students are involved in: mapping, detecting, and monitoring wetlands with remote sensing; soil genesis and classification; and measuring beneficial changes in soil properties. I advise students involved with archaeology, carbon sequestration and aggregate stability.

Future Research

Future graduate students will use remote sensing to find and map wetlands. They will study soil health, low-input production systems, and wetland soils. Some will study soil genesis in human-transported soil materials.


Extension Program

John is a state certified soil scientist and professional wetland delineator. He offers training sessions in soil certification exams, basic soil functions and properties, soil features that indicate water-restrictive layers, hydric soils and wetland delineation. He is liaison to the Virginia Association of Professional Soil Scientists and instructs at two professional meetings each year. John involves students in professional society meetings. He is supervisor to three Special Research Faculty soil scientists who liaison with Virginia Department of Health (VDH) On-site Wastewater program. John is a member of the VDH Sewage Handling and Disposal Advisory Committee. He is a member of three Virginia professional organizations. He is co-founder and involved with VIP-COI (Virginia Indian Pre-College Outreach Initiative) at Virginia Tech and is a member of the Native@VT student organization. John has submitted education grants to work with a tribal college (Oglala Lakota College in Kyle, SD) to develop a soils course and intends to help develop a wetland soils class. John is the NRCS liaison in Virginia and represents Virginia Tech at all Regional and National Soil Survey Conferences. He will lead the first two-week digital soil correlation training class for NRCS employees. He hosts the Soil Taxonomy Forum website for NRCS. John participates actively in the Mid-Atlantic Hydric Soils Committee, has helped develop new hydric soil indicators, and is an ex-officio Board Member of Assoc. of State Wetland Managers. John is a co-founder and host of the Scholar site for the Wetland Mapping Consortium. He is 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. John is a member of international working groups developing a universal soil classification system and a working group writing a simplified version of Soil Taxonomy.

Extension philosophy

I conduct extension work through training sessions, speaking at meetings, publication, and by aiding others to obtain and correctly use soil survey data for food production. My philosophy is to look for those who most need my experience, help and advice and who are least enabled to gain that help elsewhere. My goal is to help the people and the environmental quality of the Commonwealth of Virginia and to assist international and indigenous groups gain the information they need to produce food and fiber while maintaining environmental and natural resource quality.


    John Galbraith