Purdue University


Phillip R. Owens


Professional Experience

Professional Certifications

Departmental Service



Assistant Professor
Soil Geomorphology/Pedology
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907

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8/97 – 12/01, Ph.D, Pedology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, 2001.  Major Professor: Larry P. Wilding, Professor Emeritus of Pedology.  Dissertation title: Inferring oxygen status in soils using iron metal rods.

8/93 – 8/97, M.S., Pedology - University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, 1997.  Major Professor: E. Moye Rutledge, Professor of Pedology.  Thesis title: Occurrence of free-water and filter field performance in an Aquic Hapludult.

8/88 – 5/93, B.S., Soil Science - University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, 1993.

Assistant Professor  Agronomy Department, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 1/05 – present, 60% Research/25% Extension/15% Teaching
Conduct research that addresses complex environmental issues including surface and ground water quality, land resource management, global climate change and the identification, preservation and creation of wetlands. This hydropedologic based research utilizes soil landscape modeling coupled with remote sensing, terrain attribute analyses and geostatistics to relate soil spatial variability to landscape scale processes. Teach undergraduate and graduate classes in classic and applied pedology. Educate the public on septic systems, online soil resources and management of soil resources.

Research Soil Scientist  USDA-ARS Waste Management Unit, Mississippi State, MS, 1/03 – 1/05
Executed basic studies on soil quality, nutrient speciation, mineralization rates, and soil nutrient balances with land application of poultry litter and swine effluents. Determined quantity and quality of surface water and subsurface water following litter applications at a watershed scale. Evaluated the processes that effect air quality emissions from poultry houses.

Congressional Science Fellow  Office of U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln, Washington, DC, 1/02 – 12/02
Researched and wrote reports for pending environmental/agricultural legislation and briefed the Senator for votes or meetings with constituents regarding these subjects. Corresponded to constituent phone calls and messages regarding environmental and agricultural issues. Attended and reported on environmental and agricultural meetings sponsored by government and non-government organizations.

Research Assistant  Texas A&M University, Soil and Crop Sciences Department, College Station TX, 8/97 – 12/01
Determined oxygen, ferrous iron, and manganese concentration along with reduction-oxidation potential related to soil hydrology on the Texas Coast Prairie. Developed a simple field technique to infer the oxygen status of soils using zero valence, low-carbon steel rods. Utilized micromorphology to understand and explain pedogenic processes. 

Lecturer, Texas A&M University, Soil and Crop Sciences Department, College Station, TX, 1/99 – 5/01
Develop curriculum and coursework for soil morphology and genesis. Prepared and conducted lectures on soil morphology, genesis, and taxonomy. Developed and taught a field lab on soil morphology, classification, and interpretations.

Research Specialist and Lecturer: University of Arkansas, Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Department, Fayetteville, AR,
8/93 - 8/97        
Oversaw and supervised research laboratory and field studies dealing with septic systems and soil classification. The soil characterization laboratory performed physical and chemical analyses that aided the National Cooperative Soil Survey of Arkansas. Developed and taught Soil Classification and Genesis Lab, Soils Laboratory, Hydrogeology Field Class, and technology transfers on describing and interpreting soils for the Arkansas Department of Health. Coached Collegiate Soil Judging Team: 3rd Place Team Region IV 1996, 2nd Place Team Region IV 1995,1st Place Team National 1995,  2nd Place Team Region IV 1994, 6th Place Team National 1994, 2nd Place Team Region IV 1993.

Soil Scientist Trainee: USDA-NRCS, Soil Survey Office, Nacogdoches, TX, 5/91 – 8/91
Performed duties of a soil scientist by classifying and mapping soils, and 5/92 – 8/92 making on-site recommendations.


  • Indiana Registered Professional Soil Scientist, IRSS
  • Arkansas Registered Professional Soil Classifier


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Society of Agronomy
  • Indiana Association of Professional Soil Classifiers
  • Soil Science Society of America


  • 2007-2009 Chair of Hydropedology Working Group 2007-2009 with SSSA Division S-05.
  • 2007 Member of the Sharkey Soil Research Review team that reported to the Secretary of Agriculture.
  • 2007 Developed symposium and submitted a report on the Future Directions of the Soil Survey as the Committee Chair at the USDA-Soil Survey National Meetings in Madison, WI.
  • 2007 Co-editor of Special Issue of Catena Journal “Hydropedology”.
  • 2007 Reviewed book for Elsevier Press Titled “Hydropedology.”
  • 2006 Developed symposium at 2006 ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Meetings: “High Intensity Soil Survey.”
  • 2006-present Chair of the Future Directions of the Soil Survey National Committee
  • 2006-present Member of SSSA S-05 Soil Micromorpholgy Subcommittee
  • 2005-present Chair NCERA-3 Future Directions of the Soil Survey Committee
  • 2005-present Chair NCERA-3 High Intensity Soil Survey Working Committee
  • 2005-2008 Reviewer: Soil Science Society of America Journal, Catena Journal, Geoderma, Journal of Environmental Quality, ASABE Journal, International Journal of Remote Sensing and Global Planetary Change.
  • 2005-2008 Reviewer: grants for University of California Davis, National Science Foundation and University of Maryland.
  • 2004-2005 USDA-ARS CRIS Leader for Refined P-Index


  • Seminar session at the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRS) Conference. “Graduate School 101 – What you need to Know.” Jennifer Dennis, Brad Joern and Phillip Owens. March 28, 2008. Denver, CO.
  • Gender Forum Workshop (Feb. 22-23, 2008)
  • CSREES Review Committee (2007-2008)
  • Support Staff Recognition Committee (2006)
  • Departmental Head Advisory Committee Member, (2006-present)
  • Multicultural Diversity Workshop (March 6-8, 2005)
    Agriculture College Grade Appeals Committee (2005-present)
  • Agronomy Harvest Reunion Committee (2005-present)
  • Texas A&M Graduate Student Council Representative, 1999-2001
  • Texas A&M Soils and Crop Sciences Graduate Student Association: President, 1997-1998; Vice President, 1998-1999
  • University of Arkansas Agronomy Graduate Student Association: President, 1995-1996; Vice President, 1996-1997; Treasurer, 1994-1995
  • University of Arkansas American Water Resources Association-Student Chapter: President, 1995-1996; Vice President, 1994-1995
  • University of Arkansas Agronomy Club: President, 1991-1992; Vice President, 1989-1991
  • Texas A&M Departmental Improvement Committee, 1999-2000
  • Arkansas State Soil Committee, 1995
  • University of Arkansas Agronomy Curriculum Committee, 1991-1992
  • University of Arkansas Agronomy Freshman Scholarship Committee, 1991-1992


  • ASA/AAAS Congressional Science Fellow, 2001
  • First Place ASA S-9 Poster Competition, 1999
  • Outstanding Agronomy Masters Student, 1996
  • Eighth Place Individual, National Collegiate Soils Contest, 1993
  • Outstanding Agronomy Senior, American Society of Agronomy, 1992
  • First Place Individual, Region IV Soils Contest, 1992
  • Second Place Individual, Region IV Soils Contest, 1990
  • First Place Individual, Region IV Soils Contest, 1989
Purdue University | College of Agriculture | Department of Agronomy