We study the interrelationships between soil physical, chemical and biological properties, and its impact on flow and transport in soil and root. We combine a variety of computational and experimental tools with a particular interest in geoelectrical methods to measure, monitor and map subsurface processes and properties. Currently, we focuses around two main research themes:
Under this theme we seek to understand how the interactions between soil and roots shapes the physical properties of the rhizospehre (the soil in a close vicinity to the root), and how small scale processes at the rhizosphere are related to water dynamics in the soil and root system.
Geoelectrical methods can map the subsurface in a non-invasive fashion, at various spatial and temporal scales, and therefore hold a great promise to serve as a research and applied tools in many fields of soil and environmental sciences. Our main aims here are twofold: first, we look to improve our understanding of flow and transport at the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum by using geoelectrical methods and second, we strive to enhance the knowledge on the mechanisms affecting geophysical signature of porous media.
For many years the rhizosphere which is the zone of soil in the vicinity of the roots and which is influenced by the roots is known as a unique soil environment with different physical, biological and chemical properties than those of the bulk soil. In recent studies, it has been shown that root exudates alter the hydraulic properties of the rhizosphere affecting water content distribution and root water uptake (RWU). In this work we aim to understand how the contribution of different root and rhizosphere properties influence the hydraulic properties of the soil, and how in turn this impact water and nutrient flow between the soil and the root.
Geoelectrical tools are known to detect vadose zone processes, they can image the subsurface in a noninvasive fashion (for a relatively low price), and therefore they hold a great promise to be used in root and rhizosphere research. However, it is not clear how roots and roots activities affect the electrical properties of the soil. This understanding which stands in the heart of our research is crucial to utilized geoelectrical methods for root and rhizosphere studies. Therefore, the main objective of this work is to enhance our understanding of the mechanisms that govern the electrical properties of roots and their activities. Ultimately, our work will assist in the development of a non-invasive tool to image roots and their activity within the subsurface. This tool can improve our understanding of the interactions between roots and soil and can assist in the development of breeding techniques that will also consider the belowground part of the plant.
Monitoring of organic contaminants in the subsurface is of great importance to protecting water resources and to design suitable remediation strategy. Because the contaminants hidden in the soil and since the subsurface is highly heterogeneous, monitoring of the contaminants is a challenging task. Geophysical methods are sensitive to the subsurface properties, they provide a non-invasive spatial map of it, and hence they hold a great promise in monitoring contaminants. Efficiently use of these methods requires an understanding of the relation between the measured geophysical signature and the subsurface properties of interest. In soil and sediments, organic contaminants are mostly interacts with organic matter (OM). Hence, understanding how the interactions between OM and organic contaminants affect geophysical signature is the main objective of this work. Ultimately, this research will advance our understanding of the influence of organic contaminants on the geophysical signature of soil and will promote the applications of those methods.
Schwartz, N., Carminati, A., and Javaux, M., 2016, The impact of mucilage on root water uptake: Numerical study. Water Resources Research, 52, 264-267. link
Schwartz, N., and Furman, A, 2014, On the spectral induced polarization signature of soil organic matter. Geophysical Journal International, 200, 589-595. link
Schwartz, N. Shalem, T., and Furman, A, 2014, The effect of organic acid on the spectral induced polarization response of soil.Geophysical Journal International, 197 (1), 269-276. link
Shefer, I., Schwartz, N., and Furman, A, 2013, The effect of free-phase NAPL on the spectral induced polarization signature of variably saturated soil. Water Resources Research, 49, 6229-6237. link
Schwartz, N., Furman, A, 2012, Spectral induced polarization of soil contaminated by organic pollutant: Experiment and modeling. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, B10203. link
Schwartz, N., Furman, A., and J.A., Huisman, 2012, The effect of NAPL on the electrical properties of unsaturated porous media, Geophysical Journal International, 188 (3), 1007-1011. link
If you are interested to join our group or to get more details, please contact me by email. Potential students, please include statement of your interest, background, objectives and a copy of your CV.
In addition to the specific position posted here, we are always welcome bright, highly motivated candidates.