University of California, Riverside

Environmental Sciences

Early History

The Beginning - 1907

Citrus Experiment Station, viewed from NW
  • Southern California Pathological Laboratory and Experiment Station is established in Whittier and Riverside. The headquarters for soil and irrigation studies is located in Riverside.


  • Reorganized to Citrus Experiment Station and Graduate School of Tropical Agriculture.


Citrus Experiment Station, viewed from SE
  • Agricultural Extension Service established.

The Kelley Years 1914-1937

  • Department of Agricultural Chemistry established in 1914.
  • Faculty
    W.P. Kelley, S.M. Brown, E.E. Thomas, A.P. Vanselow.
    H. D. Chapman, H. Jenny, V. Socolf.
  • Research Emphasis Citrus Experiment Station, viewed from west
    • Chemistry/biochemistry of nitrogen in semi-arid soils.
    • Chemical/physical effects of salinity/sodicity on soils.
    • Base/cation exchange in soils.
  • Major Accomplishments
    • The clay mineral concept (Kelley, Brown And Dore).
    • Mole fraction ion exchange equation (Vanselow).
Albert Vanselow

The Chapman Years 1937-1961

  • Faculty
    Homer Chapman, Albert Vanselow, Daniel Aldrich, Sterling Olson, James Martin, Frank Eaton, Ellis Wallihan, Robert Harding.
    John Kaudy, Frank Bingham, William Moje, Roy Branson, Parker Pratt, Albert Page, Nathaniel Coleman, John Letey, Lewis Stolzy, Sterling Richards.
  • Research emphasis of the department changed to mineral nutrition of plants, mainly citrus and avocados.
  • The department name changed to Soils and Plant Nutrition
  • Research Highlights 1940-1950
    • Technology of sand/solution culture was developed.
    • Use of leaf analysis for the diagnosis of deficiencies of plants.
    • Functional groups in soil organic matter and their contribution to cation exchange capacity.
    • Reclamation of saline/sodic soils.
    • Citrus replant problem.
  • The College of Letters and Science was established in 1954.
  • The College of Agriculture at UCLA was phased out in 1958, and John Letey, Sterling Richards, Lewis Stolzy, and Jacob Oertli were assigned to Riverside.
  • Research Highlights 1951-1961
    • Effects of air pollutants on plants.
    • Soil phosphorus/trace element nutrition of plants.
    • Methods for the diagnosis of soil acidity, lime and sulfur requirement.
    • Boron chemistry in soils, deficiencies and excesses in soils and irrigation waters.
    • Measurement of soil water content- neutron probe - soil suction devices (tensiometers).
    • Role of microorganisms in the formation of humic/fulvic acids.

The Coleman Years 1961-1965

  • Undergraduate and graduate program in Soil Science initiated
  • Research Highlights
    • Oxygen diffusion rate - its measurement and effect on plant growth.
    • Soil wettability/repellency - the effects of wetting agents and surfactants on infiltration and hydraulic conductivity.
    • Exchangeable and titratable acidity of clays and soils - the role played by and chemistry of aluminum.
    • Chemistry and mineralogy of trioctahedral micas.
    • Negative adsorption by clays and soil.

Early and recent aerial photographs of the Citrus Experiment Station and the UCR campus.

Citrus Experiment Station, viewed from west Citrus Experiment Station, viewed from north UCR, center of campus (belltower) viewed from north, 1980's

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Environmental Sciences
Geology 2460

Tel: (951) 827-5116
Fax: (951) 827-4652