Department Personnel

Michael Konen

    Michael Konen

       Davis Hall, Room 212
       mkonen@niu.edu 

       Associate Professor
       Ph. D. Iowa State University 
       Certified Professional Soil Scientist,
       Certified Professional Soil Classifier

 

Research Emphasis: Soil Science, Landscape Evolution, Geomorphology


Specific Research Endeavors

The overall goal of my research is understanding how soils and landscapes change over space and time, quantifying these changes, and applying that information to the soil resource decision making process. Students, both graduate and undergraduate, are an integral part of this mission

Human Impacts on Soil Properties: I am currently investigating land-use impacts on soil properties at several never cultivated, cultivated, and restored prairie sites in northern Illinois. I am monitoring soil carbon dynamics at Nachusa Grasslands as land is taken out of agricultural production and restored to prairie. I am also investigating land-use impacts on soils at a series of sites in Kane County, Illinois that are under conventional tillage, no-till, switchgrass, and never cultivated savanna. Current research is also examining the impact of humans on soil erosion rates relative to postglacial events across the glaciated Midwestern United States.

Soil Color - Organic Carbon Relationships: Quantitative soil color measurements are being examined in order to better predict organic carbon contents of soils at the hillslope and soil association scales. Results of this work can be used in precision agriculture systems to predict soil organic carbon concentrations and adjust pesticide applications, seeding rates, etc. accordingly, utilizing variable rate technologies.

Landscape Evolution: Ongoing research is examining the genesis, distribution, and timing of relict periglacial phenomena and their effects on geomorphic surfaces and soils across the U.S. mid-continent. Results of this work are allowing for a better understanding of late Quaternary paleoclimate and the spatial distribution of modern soils on low relief landscapes.