Professor of the Graduate School, Betty & Isaac Barshad Professor, Emeritus, Chancellor's Professor, Emeritus
Professor of the Graduate School, Betty & Isaac Barshad Professor, Emeritus, Chancellor's Professor, Emeritus
Professor Sposito has been elected a Fellow of six international scientific societies and has been a Fulbright Lecturer (Theoretical Physics) as well as a Guggenheim Fellow (Applied Mathematics). He received the Soil Science Research Award from the Soil Science Society of America, and in 2008 was designated a “Legend in Environmental Chemistry” by the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific organization. He is the recipient of three hydrologic science honors bestowed by the American Geophysical Union, the world's largest earth science organization, including its Robert E. Horton Medal, for "outstanding contributions to the geophysical aspects of hydrology;" the Hydrologic Sciences Award of its Hydrology Section, for "outstanding contributions to the science of hydrology;" and the Walter B. Langbein Lectureship, "awarded for contributions to the basic science of hydrology." A Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Excellence laureate, he is also the only person to receive campus-wide Distinguished Teaching Awards from both state university systems in California.
He was a charter member of the National Research Council Committee on Women in Science and Engineering and of the Executive Committee of The Center for the Study and Teaching of American Cultures, which provided the initial intellectual leadership for the UC Berkeley undergraduate multicultural breadth requirement. For three years he was Chair of the Berkeley Academic Senate Committee on the Status of Women and Ethnic Minorities, during which time the Berkeley administration endorsed the inclusion of efforts toward increasing diversity as one of the four key criteria for faculty advancement.
With Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet, Robert Hass, he taught an innovative undergraduate course which surveys current global environmental issues; introduces students to the basic intellectual tools of environmental science; investigates ways the human relationship to nature has been imagined in literary and philosophical traditions; and examines how the tools of literary analysis, scientific method, and imaginative thinking can clarify what is at stake in environmental issues and ecological citizenship. This course, supported by grants from the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities at Berkeley, introduced Berkeley students to scientific articles, nature writing, poetry, and philosophical essays addressing the Idea of Nature, relationships between humans and ecosystems, and approaches to resolving global environmental issues.
- Ph.D. Soil Science University of California at Berkeley, 1965
- M.S. Soil Physics University of Arizona 1963
- B.S. Agriculture University of Arizona, 1961
soil chemistry, aqueous geochemistry; hydrology of "green water," physics of flow through porous media
Soils are open, multicomponent, biogeochemical systems containing solids, liquids, and gases. That they are open systems means soils exchange both matter and energy with the surrounding atmosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere. These flows of matter and energy to or from soils are highly variable in time and space, but they are the essential fluxes that cause the development of soil profiles and govern the patterns of soil health.
Crop production must increase at least twice as fast as human population growth during the coming 40 years to meet global food demand. Proven strategies for achieving this goal have not yet emerged, but a few constraints to guide the search for them are known. For example, the adverse ecological impacts of both land conversion to agricultural use and freshwater withdrawals for irrigation will strongly limit the viability of these two traditional approaches to increasing crop production, whereas abundant opportunity exists for optimizing soil water ("green water") availability to and consumption by crops to increase their yields.
Increasing global freshwater scarcity and the demand for food from an expanding world population point to an urgent need to develop treated wastewater generated by farms and municipalities as an alternative water resource for irrigated agriculture. This approach, however, cannot be successful without an accurate assessment of its potential for causing a serious reduction in soil permeability, as numerous case studies have shown. In addition to sodium, treated wastewaters can have elevated concentrations of potassium, magnesium, and organic carbon, which also may impact soil structure negatively. However, no irrigation water quality guidelines for these constituents yet exist in order to assess this possibility.
- Soil health, green water, and food security
- Wastewater reuse and irrigation water quality
Professor Sposito teaches an undergraduate course, Green Water, Brown Ground, and Global Food Security.
640 total publications. ISI h-index: 77. Professor Sposito is the author of two physics textbooks and seven books on soil chemistry. He is the editor of four books on hydrology or environmental geochemistry. His books have been translated into German, Chinese, and Russian. Selected publications (past five years):
Kwon, K. D., K. Refson, and G. Sposito. 2013. Understanding the trends in transition metal sorption by vacancy sites in birnessite. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 101:222.
Aristilde, L., and G. Sposito. 2013. Complexes of the antimicrobial Ciprofloxacin with soil, peat, and aquatic humic substances. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 32:1467.
Amundson, R. and G. Sposito. 2013. Bridging the divide: Soil resources and the geosciences on a cultivated planet. In Bickford, M.E. (ed.), The Impact of the Geological Sciences on Society.Geological Society of America Special Paper 501:69-80.
Lo, W.-C., and Sposito, G. 2013. Acoustic waves in unsaturated soils. Water Resour. Res. 49:5674.
Sposito, G. 2013. Green water and global food security. Vadose Zone J. 12:doi:10.2136/vzj2013.02.0041.
Sposito, G. 2014. Sustaining "the genius of soils." In G. Jock churchman and E.R. Landa (eds.) The Soil Underfoot, pp. 395-408. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.
Lo, W.-C., G. Sposito, and H. Chu. 2014. Poroelastic theory of consolidation in unsaturated soils. Vadose Zone J. 13: doi:10.2136/vzj2013.07.0117 (12 pp.).
Bone, S. E., J. R. Bargar, and G. Sposito. 2014. Mackinawite (FeS) reduces mercury(II) under sulfidic conditions. Environ. Sci. Technol. 48:10681.
Smith, C. J., J. D. Oster, and G. Sposito. 2015. Potassium and magnesium in irrigation water quality assessment. Agric. Water Manage. 157:59.
Kwon, K. D., K. Refson, and G. Sposito. 2015. Transition metal incorporation into mackinawite (tetragonal FeS). Am. Mineral. 100:1509.
Peña, J., J. R. Bargar, and G. Sposito. 2015. Copper sorption by the edge surfaces of synthetic birnessite nanoparticles. Chem. Geol. 396:196.
Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (numerous co-authors). 2015. Status of the World’s Soil Resources. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome. 648 p.
Simanova, A., K. D. Kwon, S. E. Bone, J. R. Bargar, K. Refson, G. Sposito, and J. Peña. 2015. Probing the sorption reactivity of the edge surfaces in birnessite nanoparticles using nickel(II). Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 164:191.
Newton, A. G., and G. Sposito. 2015. Molecular Dynamics Simulation of pyrophyllite edge surface structure, surface energies, and solvent accessibility. Clays Clay Miner. 63:278.
Kwon, K. D. and G. Sposito. 2015. Mechanistic understanding of metal sorption by phyllomanganates through density functional theory. In Feng X., W. Li, M. Zhu and D. Sparks (eds.), Advances in the Environmental Biogeochemistry of Manganese Oxides, Chap. 3. American Chemical Society, New York.
Oster, J. D., G. Sposito, and C. J. Smith. 2016. Potassium and magnesium in irrigation water quality assessment. Calif. Agric. 70:71.
Assouline, S., K. Narkis, R. Gherabli, and G. Sposito. 2016. Combined effect of sodicity and organic matter on soil properties under long-term irrigation with treated wastewater. Vadose Zone J. 15: DOI:10.2136/vzj2015.12.0158 (10 pp.).
Lo, W-C, G. Sposito, J-W Lee, and H. Chu. 2016. One-dimensional consolidation in unsaturated soils under cyclic loading. Advan. Water Resour. 91:122.
Sposito, G. 2016. Physical Properties and Processes: Scaling. In Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. Elsevier, New York.
Sposito, G. 2016. Gouy-Chapman Theory. In Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series, Encyclopedia of Geochemistry. Springer, New York.
Sposito, G. 2016. The Chemistry of Soils. 3rd Ed. Oxford University Press, New York. 255 p.
Tournassat, C., I. C. Bourg, M. Holmboe, G. Sposito, and C. Steefel. 2016. Molecular dynamics simulations of anion exclusion in clay interlayer nanopores. Clays Clay Miner. 64:374.
Sposito, G., J. D. Oster, C. J. Smith, and S. Assouline. 2016. Assessing soil permeability impacts from irrigation with marginal-quality waters. CAB Reviews 11: No. 15 (7pp.) DOI:10.1079/PAVSNNR201611015
Mitchell, J., et al. 2016. Conservation agriculture: Systems thinking for sustainable farming. California Agriculture 70:53.
Lammers, L. N., I. C. Bourg, M. Okumura, K. Kolluri, G. Sposito, and M. Machida. 2017. Molecular dynamics simulations of cesium adsorption on illite nanoparticles. J. Colloid Interface Sci. 490:608.
Myers, R. J., G. Geng, J. Li, E. d. Rodriguez, J. Ha, P. Kidkhunthod, G. Sposito, L. N. Lammers, A. P. Kircheim, and P. J. M. Monteiro. 2017. Role of adsorption phenomena in cubic tricalcium aluminate dissolution. Langmuir 33:45.
Sposito, G. 2017. Green Water. In H. Shugart (ed.), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science. Oxford University Press, Oxford,U.K. DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199389414.013.368
Sposito, G. 2017. Understanding the Budyko equation. Water 9: 236; doi:10.3390/w9040236
Kwon, K. D. and G. Sposito. 2017. Dirac’s dream: Understanding metal sorption by geomedia using density functional theory. Chem. Geol. 464:4.
Sposito, G. 2017. Incorporating the vadose zone into the Budyko framework. Water 9: 698; doi:10.3390/w9090698.
Mitchell, J. P., A. Shrestha, H. Ferris, F. Larney, and G. Sposito. 2018. Irrigation requirements to maintain soil health and water use efficiency. In D. Reicosky (ed.), Managing Soil Health for Sustainable Agriculture, Vol. 2, Chap. 24. Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, Cambridge, UK.
Sposito, G. 2018. Green water and food security. In B. Bromwich, T. Allan, T. Colman, and M. Keulertz (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Food, Water and Society. Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190669799.013.43
Qadir, M., Schubert, S., Oster, J.D., Sposito, G., Minhas, P. S., Cheraghi, S. A. M., Murtaza, G., Mirzabaev, A., and Saqib, M. 2018. High-magnesium waters and soils: Emerging environmental and food security constraints. Sci. Total Environ. 642:1108.
Sposito, G., 2019. Green water and food security. In Allan, T., Bromwich, B., Colman, T., Keulertz, M. (Eds.), 2019. The Oxford Handbook of Food, Water and Society, Chapter 3. Oxford University Press, New York.
- Senior Fulbright Lecturer (Theoretical Solid-State Physics) - University of Córdoba
- Hydrology Section Research Award - American Geophysical Union
- Soil Science Research Award - Soil Science Society of America
- Fellow - American Geophysical Union, American Society of Agronomy, European Association of Geochemistry, Geochemical Society, International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and Soil Science Society of America
- NATO-Heinemann Senior Fellow (Chemistry) - National Institute of Agronomic Research, Versailles, France
- Guggenheim Fellow (Applied Mathematics) - University of Oxford
- Designated a "Legend of Environmental Chemistry" - American Chemical Society
- Woltz Distinguished Lecturer - North Carolina State University
- Member - Sigma Pi Sigma Honor Society (Physics), Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society (Agriculture)
- Distinguished Teaching Award - Sonoma State University
- Distinguished Teaching Award - University of California at Riverside
- Distinguished Teaching Award - College of Natural Resources, University of California at Berkeley
- "Physical Chemistry of Soils and Aquifers," Special Issue of Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
- "Hydrology of Soils and Aquifers," Special Issue of Advances in Water Resources
- Horton Medal - American Geophysical Union
- Visiting Lectureship, Underwood Fund - Agricultural and Food Research Council of Great Britain
- Walter J. Weber, Jr. Distinguished Lecture in Environmental Sciences and Engineering - University of Michigan
- "Landmark" Paper Award - Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors
- Foreign Member - Academy of Agriculture of France
- Miller Research Professor - University of California at Berkeley
- Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentoring of GSIs - University of California at Berkeley
- Teaching Excellence Laureate - Phi Beta Kappa
- Hans Jenny Memorial Lecture in Soil Science - University of California at Berkeley
- Walter B. Langbein Lecture - Hydrology Section, American Geophysical Union
- "Eloge de la Methode: A Tribute to Garrison Sposito on the Occasion of His Retirement," Frontiers in Environmental Science, November 2016, Volume 4, Article 73
- Award of Excellence, Western Extension Directors Association, for contributions to the Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation Center
- ESPM C12 - Introduction to Environmental Studies
- Nat Res C101 - Edible Education 101
- ESPM 150 - Green Water, Brown Ground, and Global Food Security
Hilgard 117B by prior appointment
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-3114