Earth and Soil Sciences Department
BS in Earth Sciences
Thomas J. Rice
Soils reflect the health of a landscape, and in many cases carry the burden of anthropogenic activity, continually changing in characteristics such as pH, soil texture, soil structure, carbon:nitrogen ratios (C:N), and chemical composition. In a study sampling six different soils on the California Polytechnic State University campus in San Luis Obispo, these five soil characteristics were tested for and the results were determined. Soil samples consist of the top 5-10 cm of soil profiles, with sample sites varying according to degree of human contact; the locations the samples were taken from are as follows: (1) Walters Creek Ranch pasture, which is situated on Highway 1 across from Cuesta College; (2) the wooded area next to the Cal Poly “P”; (3) the footpath/bike path going to and from Cal Poly campus and the Poly Canyon Village student housing development; (4) the pre-dug soil pits on the hillside, adjacent to the “P” (periodically used for soil science and soil morphology courses); (5) the bike path behind the parking structure on Grand Avenue next to the Performing Arts Center; (6) the footpath in the parking lot behind the red brick dormitories.