Laboratory of Soil Ecology and Microbiology |
University of Rhode Island

Who are we?

People in the lab include professor Jose Amador, research and extension soil scientist George Loomis, graduate students Alissa CoxChelsea Duball, Brittany Lancellotti, Bianca Ross and Sara Wigginton, research assistant Kevin Hoyt, and undergraduate student Lauren Salisbury. The Lab started in 1994 as a collaboration between Jose and Josef Görres, now associate professor in the Dept. of Plant and Soil Science at the University of Vermont. We are housed in the Coastal Institute building on the Kingston campus of the University of Rhode Island.

What do we do?

Our research spans various aspects of the ecology and microbiology of soil, water, and
wastewater. We are interested in understanding the interplay among microorganisms, flora and fauna, and the physical environment, and how this affects the biogeochemical processes they carry out, as well as their fate. This knowledge can be used to address a variety of contemporary environmental problems, fromoptimizing soil-based wastewater treatment, to identifying the sources of bacterial contamination in surface waters, to improving soil quality and sustainable food production.

We are also interested in science education, including novel pedagogical approaches to teaching soil science, teacher training, and experiential education. The courses we teach include Introduction to Soil Science, Soil-Water Chemistry, Soil Microbiology, Senior Colloquium, and Microbial Ecology of Soils and Sediments.


  • 18 March 2017 - Hasta luego, Brittany!
  • 4 Feburary 2017 - Congrats, Welcomes and Goodbyes
  • 4 November 2016 - More Lab Goodness
  • 30 July 2016 - Better Late Than Never...
  • 25 May 2016 - The Graduates (With Pictures)
  • 11 May 2016 - Faith & Rachel Present Honors Projects
  • 1 May 2016 - PhD Assistantships Available
  • 1 April 2016 - EPSCoR Grad Fellowship
  • 15 March 2016 - Felicidades to Jen and Ashley!

Tweets from @URISoilMicro

Upcoming Talks

Environmental Impacts of Oyster Aquaculture on the Coastal Lagoons of Southern Rhode Island - thesis defense seminar by Chelsea Duball, 117A Coastal Institute-Kingston, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI (21 March 2017)

Gone With the Wind: Rethinking How Water-Filled Pore Space Affects Gaseous Nitrogen Production in Soil-Based Wastewater Treatment - invited talk by Jose Amador at the Water Environment Federation Workshop, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (12 June 2017)

Recent Publications

Amador, J.A., G. Loomis, B. Lancellotti, K. Hoyt, E. Avizinis, and S. Wigginton. 2017. Reducing Nitrogen Inputs to Narragansett Bay: Optimizing the Performance of Existing Onsite Wastewater Treatment Technologies. Final Report to the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, Lowell, MA. Available online at:

Anderson, F.L., J.A. Cooper, and J.A. Amador. 2017. Water-filled pore space and soil-based wastewater treatment of nitrogen: An alternative view. Journal of Environmental Quality (In review)

Lancellotti, B.V., G. Loomis, K. Hoyt, E. Avizinis, and J.A. Amador. 2017. Performance evaluation of    advanced nitrogen-removal onsite wastewater treatment systems. Water, Air and Soil Pollution (In review).

Long, R.J., R.N. Brown, and J.A. Amador. 2017. Growing food with garbage: Effects of six waste amendments on soil and vegetable crops. 

HortScience (Accepted)

Cooper, J.A., G.W. Loomis, and J. A. Amador. 2016. Hell and high water: Diminished septic system performance in coastal regions due to climate change. PLoS ONE 
11: e0162104. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0162104

Lancellotti, B.V. 2016. Performance evaluation of advanced nitrogen removal onsite wastewater treatment systems. M.S. Thesis, University of Rhode Island, 95 pages.

Lancellotti, B. V., R. J. Bercaw, G. W. Loomis, K. P. Hoyt, E. J. Avizinis, and J. A. Amador. 2016. Accuracy of Rapid Tests Used for Analysis of Advanced Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Effluent. Water, Air and Soil Pollution 227:310-322.

Morales, I., J. Cooper, J. A. Amador, and T. Boving. 2016. Modeling nitrogen losses in conventional and advanced soil-based onsite wastewater treatment systems under current and changing climate conditions. PLoS ONE 11: e0158292. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0158292

Cooper, J.A., I. Morales, and J.A. Amador. 2016. Mechanistic determination of nitrogen removal from soil-based onsite wastewater treatment systems using 15N. Ecological Engineering 94: 22-29.

Amador, J. A., and L. Miles. 2016. Live from Boone Lake: Interdisciplinary Problem-Based Learning meets public science writing. Journal of College Science Teaching 45: 36-42.

Cooper, J.A. 2016.
Onsite wastewater treatment systems in a changing climate: Technology robustness and mechanisms. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Rhode Island, 152 pages.

Waggoner, A. 2016. Response of agricultural soil greenhouse gas fluxes to amendment with residual waste materials. M.S. Thesis, University of Rhode Island, 90 pages.

Possinger, A. R., and J. A. Amador. 2016. A preliminary evaluation of seaweed application effects on soil quality and yield of sweet corn (Zea mays L.). Communications in Soil Science and Plant Nutrition 47: 121-135.