Kate Scow is Distinguished Professor Emerita of Soil Science and Microbial Ecology in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at University of California, Davis. She was previously Director of the UC Kearney Foundation of Soil Science: “Soil Carbon and California’s Terrestrial Ecosystems”. She is Chair of the International Agricultural Development graduate group at UC Davis and was visiting professor of agroecology at Maringa State University in Parana, Brazil. Scow received her MS and PhD degrees in Soil Science from Cornell University in 1989 and her BS degree in Biology from Antioch College in 1973. She also studied Evolutionary Biology at U. of Chicago. Scow was a recipient of the Francis E. Clark Distinguished Lectureship on Soil Biology 2019, received the Nyle Brady Frontiers in Soil Science Award 2017 and elected Fellow of Soil Science Society of America 2000. She is on the Editorial Board of Advances in Agronomy, and was previously Chief Editor of Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Associate Editor of Vadose Zone, and member of editorial boards of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Microbial Ecology. She was also science advisor for the film “Symphony of the Soil”. Scow was elected to both the National Academy of Engineering 2022 and the National Academy of Sciences 2022.

Research Interests

Kate Scow's research program, spanning the molecular to landscape scale, investigates the relationships between soil microbial communities and critical ecosystem services in agricultural and polluted environments. A major focus is on how management practices impact the biodiversity of soil microbial communities and their interactions with biogeochemical cycles, carbon sequestration and soil health. She was Director of the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility at UC Davis which hosts the Century Experiment, a unique long-term experiment exploring relationships among management, climate, and indicators of sustainability (economic, agronomic, environmental) within a row crop agroecosystem. Research in Scow's lab has also helped to understand mechanisms of biodegradation and bioremediation of organic contaminants in groundwater, impacts of pollutants on microbial communities, kinetics of microbial processes, all of which supported, in turn, design of biologically based low-cost treatment systems. Scow also collaborates with colleagues and stakeholders in Uganda and Kenya in research on soil biodiversity, integrated soil fertility management and local-scale irrigation practices.

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Primary Section

Section 62: Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 63: Environmental Sciences and Ecology