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ISMC News 24 Feb 2022

Summer School 2022 + Featured Soil Modeller

Modeling Water Fluxes in the Soil Plant System

The 1st Summer School on advanced soil physics “Modeling Water Transport in the Soil-Plant System'' will be held at UCLouvain, Belgium, from 22nd to 26th August 2022. This one-week intensive summer school aims at offering participants an overview of physical and biological principles, theory and modelling approaches of the soil-plant hydraulics. A combination of theory and practical sessions will provide participants with the bases to understand and simulate soil-plant water transport. The main topics of the summer school are: 
Understanding and determining root and soil hydraulic properties.
Modeling root water uptake: processes, principles and applications.
Overview of current hydraulic and simplified modelling approaches (R-SWMS, MECHA, CPLANTBOX, MARSHAL, ...) for root water uptake and transpiration flux.
Please check the link here for more information.

Featured Soil Modeller

Overcome data scarcity in the description of soil hydraulic properties
Brigitta Szabó (Tóth)  graduated in environmental management in Szent István University, Hungary in 2005. She followed MSc courses in Physical Land Resources in Ghent University, Belgium in 2005 and was a grant holder at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy in 2006-2007. She obtained her PhD in soil physics in 2011 in the University of Pannonia, Keszthely, where she worked as a research scientist and assistant professor from 2011 to 2019. She was awarded the János Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences between 2018 and 2021. From 2016 she is a senior scientist working in the Institute for Soil Sciences, Centre for Agricultural Research, Hungary. Her main research focus is on obtaining information on soil hydraulic properties at local, regional and continental scale, she has experience in soil database construction, harmonization; using data mining techniques; mapping of soil hydraulic properties.
- Please tell us briefly about yourself and your research interest.
I’m interested in deriving soil data that can increase the understanding of soil functions and support its quantification. For this it is important to increase our knowledge on the relationship between soil properties and environmental factors. My research focuses on the prediction of soil physical and hydraulic characteristics, which are among the key soil properties due to their influence on all the soil functions featured in the latest concepts, namely the water and carbon storage, productivity, nutrient cycling and habitat for biological activity. From my past experience, the contributions to the EU-HYDI database, development of pedotransfer functions for Hungarian and European scale applications and deriving 3D soil hydraulic maps at catchment and continental scale are among the works which helped me to collaborate with other researchers from different disciplines in the assessment of soil functions.
-  How did you first become interested in soil modelling and learn about ISMC?
Those soil models which describe any processes related to water movement requires accurate information about the soil physical and hydraulic properties. These properties are rarely measured at catchment or regional scale due to high time and cost demand of their measurement. My main research interest is to derive relationships between soil hydro-physical properties and routinely measure other soil properties or environmental factors, and cover data scarce areas by predictions. I came across ISMC the first time when the consortium highlighted that they provide workshops for researchers working on soil modelling and compilation of soil data for modelling purposes.
-Can you share with us your current research focus? And, please tell us briefly how your research could contribute to ISMC Science Panel’s activities
I currently focus on overcoming data scarcity in soil input data required for catchment and filed-scale hydrological modelling. Our aim is to provide more accurate information both horizontally and vertically. This can influence the way how those processes are described in models which are related to the soil physical or hydraulic properties, how models incorporate 3D soil input data. Derivation of more accurate soil hydraulic data will support better understanding of interactions occurring in the Earth’s critical zone.
-Please tell us how can ISMC help you advance in your career?
In the platform of ISMC there is active interaction between many researchers from the young ones, who might be the most updated in technological advances till the experienced leading ones with background in handling complexity of a given topic as well. Being able to interact with researchers from other disciplines and discuss research questions in an international circle of scientists is inspiring, and brings many new ideas to work on, which support achieving new results and answering research questions in a more holistic way. The knowledge gained through the workshop discussions, joint research and publications related to ISMC activities has a great value, which helps me to improve in carrying out research related to soil modelling.
- What resources or skills would you recommend that early career members of ISMC should acquire? And how can ISMC help and support early career members in this regard?
It is important to be open for collaboration with researchers at any stage and from any disciplines that can be connected to their research field. Joint research always bring the possibility to learn new theories, methods, approaches and skills. In ISMC the possibility is there to interact with many researchers at different levels, it depends on the members how they make use and become part of it.
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