After learning about porosity, bulk density, compactness, particle size, and other characteristics of the soil that allow for it to appear to be a living body of the earth I have decided to blog about this fascinating topic. I find it interesting, the many vital components of soil, that allow for it to be viewed as a system. After last semester with Dr. Reed Perkins, I learned how to view things in science from a “systems approach”. A system approach in science allows people to view a system in its entirety. Not only can you view the system as a whole, but as separate subsystems, interconnected, as to allow each to feed off of the other. Without the presence of one subsystem, the entire system can be effected.
As for soil, using the systems approach could prove vital to understanding how each aspect of the soil can function together or separately. When looking at the porosity of the soil, one knows that it needs a different porosity for different functions. As we said in class, porosity and bulk density are an inverted pair of characteristics in soil that as one goes up the other goes down. Porosity is key for the soil to move certain nutrients throughout. But if it is too porous, the nutrients are unable to be soaked up by the rooted plant life. If the soil is too compact, the water may not be able to move through, or drain, and there may not even be rooted plant life available to soak up all the water. For soil to be a functioning system, all parts must be equally benefiting each other, so as to allow for cyclic transfer of all components. This, as we have seen in Academic Quad, can disrupt how our plants grow and can cause potential flooding/marshland if not properly treated.
In the case of the academic quad we need to more frequently aerate the soil. Two, there needs to be a path placed from the center of the axis, that leads towards walker science, in order to prevent students from walking over the grass. This constant pressure from students, compacts the soil, as we have seen from our bulk densities intact core tests. The compacted soil can not absorb the water after heavy rainfall and the whole area becomes marshland. It is interesting to note how much we have learned just from a few weeks of classes and a couple tests performed on the soil. After noting these problems, we have connected the problems to its effects on soil, and then searched for solutions on how to fix the problems in order to create a better drainage system for the quad.