Daniel Hirmas

Summer 2017
Geography and Atmospheric Science

Daniel Hirmas is an associate professor in the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science whose research focuses on the relationship between soil form and function. Soils evolve distinct forms, or “morphologies,” that take the form of visible features such as layers of various colors, textures, and compositions, an architecture composed of hierarchical structure, a complex network of pores that allow for the movement and retention of water, solutes, and gases, and an emergent cohesiveness that together create the abiotic conditions that sustain both individual organisms and entire terrestrial ecosystems. To make soil morphology visible for study, Hirmas and students have collected large intact sections of soil called soil monoliths. These monoliths and their connection to the landscape will be displayed as part of the Museum’s Terra Anima exhibition in fall 2017.