An agronomist and a biologist are Kansas State University's newest university distinguished professors, a lifetime title that represents the highest honor K-State can bestow on its faculty.

Both agronomist Charles W. Rice and ecologist Walter K. Dodds are recognized nationally and internationally for their contributions to their fields.

"These two faculty members are known worldwide for their expertise and achievements in their respective fields," said M. Duane Nellis, K-State provost and senior vice president. "Both have made significant contributions to their individual disciplines and have enhanced K-State's reputation as one of the nation's top 100 research universities."

Rice has gained international fame for his work in carbon sequestration; Dodds is known for his research on river and stream ecosystems.

Rice, professor of soil microbiology, has conducted long-term research on soil organic dynamics, nitrogen transformations and microbial ecology. Recently, his research has focused on soil and global climate change including C and N emissions in agricultural and grassland ecosystems and soil carbon sequestration and its potential benefits to the ecosystem.

Rice's research has been supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and others. He is director of the Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases. He has advised more than 30 graduate students and has more than 100 publications.

Rice earned his bachelor of science degree from Northern Illinois University and his doctorate degree from the University of Kentucky. He joined the K-State faculty in 1988, was promoted to associate professor in 1993 and to professor in 1998.

In addition to his involvement in research and teaching in soil microbiology at K-State, Rice has also served in numerous capacities with the Soil Science Society of America.

He currently serves on the National Academies U.S. National Soil Science Committee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Air Quality Task Force. Internationally, he served on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to author a report on Climate Change and was among scientists recognized when that work won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

He chairs the Commission on Soils, Food Security, and Public Health of the International Union of Soil Sciences. He is a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, the American Society of Agronomy, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dodds, professor of biology, has studied the effects of nutrient contamination in streams and lakes and how prairie stream drying and flooding influence the species that live there. In 2008, he was a coauthor of a study of nitrogen runoff in small streams that was published in Nature. An earlier related publication appeared in Science in 2001.

He coordinates aquatic and hydrological research at the Konza Prairie Biological Station, and is co-principal investigator on the Long Term Ecological Research Grant, funded by the National Science Foundation. Its goal is to describe how fire, grazing and climatic variables are essential factors in a functioning prairie ecosystem. He also has had grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior and others.

Dodds has published more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles; two books, "Freshwater Ecology: Concepts and Environmental Applications" and "Humanity's Footprint: Momentum, Impact and Our Global Environment"; with another book in press, "Laws, Theories and Patterns in Ecology."

He received the Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award in 2008 from K-State's Graduate School. He is a member of the editorial board for the journal "Freshwater Biology" and associate editor for several other journals.

Dodds joined K-State in 1990 and was promoted to full professor in 2002. His research areas include aquatic ecology, water quality and conservation. He received a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Denver in 1980 and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Oregon in 1986.

University distinguished professors are appointed following a university-wide competition held by the provost.

Recommended for you