Other blogs...

These blogs were made in collaboration with people and organizations that love soils!


What type of insects live in soil?

There are a vast array of insects living in soils – and they have important jobs! Ants are fascinating as they create small trails in soils. They transport rocks, leaves, and wood, and anything with a manageable size, weight, and form. Seriously, insects are witty enough to conquer all the habitats around the planet, except for the open ocean. But, why select soils and how do they survive there?



A través de los años, muchas culturas se han destacado a nivel mundial gracias a sus contribuciones a la sociedad, tales como Roma con el desarrollo de los sistemas de alcantarillados o China con la magnífica imprenta. Aunque estos eventos son de vital importancia para la humanidad, todos comparten el factor de sus comienzos,  fueron pequeños grandes pasos.


The Lajas Valley is an important agricultural land in the southwest of Puerto Rico with an estimated area of 15,028 ha. In 1950 decade, an irrigation-drainage infrastructure was created to increase agricultural production managing Normal, Saline, Sodic and Saline-Sodic soils with 64%, 8%, 8% and 20% of area respectively, mapped to depth of 60 cm. The University of Puerto Rico and USDA-NRCS are working together (i) to create high resolution maps of soil salinity and sodicity, (ii) to assess changes in soil conditions after nearly 70 years and (iii) to improve soil mapping unit descriptions. The first steps have the objective to generate a protocol for use electromagnetic induction (EMI) technology in which factors in the Lajas Valley that could interfere with the instrument signal during the survey are determined. The preliminary assays were conducted at field scale in two farms with similar soil mineralogy but different landscape position, management practices, and level of salinity and sodicity. The data demonstrated that the EMI instrument, EMP-400, was able to detect small variations in soil apparent electrical conductivity (ECa) as a result of observed changes of micro-relief, furrows and vegetation. Furthermore, an empirical model based on soil samples from the valley was developed to convert electrical conductivity of soil/water extract (EC1:5) to electrical conductivity of the saturated paste extract (ECe). Both findings allow to continue the completion of the protocol with the next steps including a model-based soil sampling design and ECa calibration to study the relationship between it and soil properties. This paper is the first effort toward estimating the spatial variability at field and regional scale in the Lajas Valley.