Laboratories, field equipment, and Geographical Information Systems
The Soil and Water Conservation Research Group runs several soil physical and soil chemical laboratories fully equipped to perform all basic soil determinations. The group further manages specific equipment for field measurements and long-term field monitoring such as soil respiration field equipment, meteorological stations, data loggers, a rainfall simulator, equipment for sampling of undisturbed soil and sediment cores, a hydraulic hammer, manual and automatic equipment for discharge and sediment load measurements, etc. Additionally, access to all laboratory facilities within the CEBAS and University of Murcia infrastructure is possible.
The group has state of the art GIS and remote sensing facilities (software and an extensive collection of digital cartography, aerial photographs and satellite images). Various team members are specialized in hydrological and soil erosion modelling.
The research group is currently involved in medium-to-long term monitoring of several field stations to quantify the impacts of global change and land management on soil, water and vegetation resources and related ecosystem services:
- Burete and Alhagüeces (in collaboration with EEZA-CSIC) stations where soil erosion, soil quality, organic Carbon dynamics and crop yield are measured on rainfed agricultural fields under different management strategies.
- Cárcavo, Upper Taibilla and Rogativa catchment, and Venta del Olivo field site, with plots and catchments of different sizes to assess hydrological and sediment dynamics and biogeochemical cycles under different land uses.
- Los Cuadros, Venta del Olivo, Sorbas, Sax and Aranjuez field sites (in collaboration with the University Rey Juan Carlos of Madrid) where detailed assessments are made of the ecology, ecophysiology and response of semiarid plant communities to climate change, including the use of stable isotope techniques as a research tool in water-limited ecosystems.
- Escuderos and Canteras (in collaboration with UPCT) stations are being monitorized to assess the effect of crop diversification under rainfed (Escuderos) and irrigated (Canteras) agricultural fields on soil erosion, soil quality, organic carbon dynamics, organic carbon balance and crop yield.
On a project basis, we collaborate intensively with international partners in other field sites globally, such as the Chókwè irrigation scheme in Mozambique, and field sites in Morocco, Tunisia and Ethiopia.
See the map below for the location of the field sites: