Purdue University


Owens Research Group

Phillip R. Owens
Assistant Professor
Area:  Soil Geomorphology/Pedology

Mailing Address:
Department of Agronomy

Lilly Hall of Life Sciences
915 W. State Street
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2054

Telephone: 765-494-0247
FAX: 765-496-2926
Email: prowens@purdue.edu

Office: 3-333 Lilly Hall of Life Sciences


Owens Research Group
Owens Research Group

Welcome to our research group!

The research in Owens’ lab focuses on fundamental and applied studies of natural processes and anthropogenic activity that influence soil properties and distribution on the landscape. This research links water dynamics as a major driving force of soil formation and soil ecosystem functions. In his work, Dr. Owens has established a program in the area of Hydropedology which is a new interdisciplinary science that embraces multi-scale basic and applied research of interacting pedological and hydrological processes and their properties in the vadose zone. The field of pedology has traditionally focused on the study of the pedon or individual soil to understand soil development and processes. Recently there has been a shift in paradigm to consider whole landscape processes in relationship to individual pedons. Dr. Owens has focused his research to evaluate landscape pedodiversity related to water distribution as influenced by geomorphology and terrain attributes to contribute to understanding common critical zone processes and utilizing digital mapping tools so that basic lab bench scale processes can be applied to whole landscapes.

Dr. Owens’ research also relates differences in water content and durations as the main driver or limitation for biogeochemical processes, which impact not only utilitarian functions such as remediation potential, roads, housing, agriculture but also natural ecosystem suitability for certain plants, animals and microbial communities. This research requires quantification of soil and landscape structures and the impacts on preferential flow of water across spatial and temporal scales. Dr. Owens’ research involves mapping, monitoring, and modeling of landscape-soil-hydrology relationships to develop quantitative predictable patterns reflected by soil morphology and soil classification differences. These projects require instrumentation and techniques for in situ measurements and developing relationships which provide prediction of transport pathways and patterns in heterogeneous soil landscapes. The overall goal of his research program is to couple pedological, hydrological and biogeochemical processes to integrate and define processes that affect agriculture and environmental applications of soils which ultimately lead to better utilization of the soils as a natural resource.

Purdue University | College of Agriculture | Department of Agronomy