Lana Koepke Johnson | Agronomy and Horticulture
Aaron Lee M. Daigh joined the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture and Biological Systems Engineering Aug. 15 as associate professor of Vadose Zone Science. His position is 60% research and 40% teaching and will provide research, teaching and service to departmental committees.
Daigh will direct research on vadose zone hydrology – the zone between the soil surface and the groundwater table, water quality, and the fate and transport of nutrients and chemicals of agricultural landscapes overlying major aquifers. The overall aim is to provide knowledge for protecting water quality of major aquifers and remediating vadose zones that already pose a risk to those aquifers. Daigh’s diverse interests include topics involving water, agriculture, the environment and porous media physics.
Daigh will be teaching AGEN/BSEN 957 Modeling Vadose Zone Hydrology, with additional courses related to water quality and vadose zone hydrology in the future.
Daigh earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental, soil and water science and Master of Science in crop, soil and environmental sciences from the University of Arkansas. In 2013 he completed a doctoral degree in soil science and environmental science from Iowa State University.
Prior to Nebraska, Daigh was an associate professor of soil physics and hydrology in the School of Natural Resource Sciences at North Dakota State University where he directed research on remediation of contaminated sites, reclamation of disturbed landscapes, soil salinity, agricultural practices for conserving soil and water quality, and the spatial-temporal characteristics of soil water across working landscapes.
“The resources and people at UNL are fantastic and excite me a lot. The environment here appears to be a place where folks can boldly take on difficult and intimidating challenges that society will face through the rest of the century. I look forward to working with students and colleagues on tackling these challenges,” Daigh said.
Daigh’s spouse, Jill Motschenbacher, also joined Nebraska as an associate professor of practice for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Passionate about sustainable agriculture, international development and soil science, she will be developing and teaching core graduate classes and providing student mentorship for the Master of Applied Sciences conservation agriculture specialization. Motschenbacher held faculty and administration positions, taught soil science courses and served as the associate director for the Office of Teaching and Learning at North Dakota State University.
“We are both excited to be joining UNL as a family, with our daughter, Ruby,” Daigh said.