Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences Student Wins First Place in International Meeting

Bryan Fuentes giving technical training on spatial modeling to a group of environmental professionals in Nicaragua.
Minerva Dorantes

Bryan Fuentes giving technical training on spatial modeling to a group of environmental professionals in Nicaragua.

Bryan Fuentes, a recent Master of Science graduate of the Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences Department, won first place in the graduate-level oral competition for the Soil Science Society of America's (SSSA) Pedology Division. The meeting, which was held in San Antonio, Texas in November of last year, was organized by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the SSSA. The meeting had and international scope, with students and professionals from over fifty-three countries. The theme of the meeting was "Embracing the Digital Environment", and it was focused on sensor technology, crop models, soil data analytics, and high-performance computing.

Bryan's presentation, "A Soil Spatial Information System to Aid Decision-Making in the Central America Dry Corridor," fit well with the theme of the meeting, as his research topic is the predictive modeling of soil properties using state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms. The main outputs from Bryan's research are spatial databases and digital maps of soil properties, which represent valuable resources in the optimization of soil, crop, and water management across farms. In order to produce precise soil spatial information, Bryan uses robust statistical models within distributed computing systems, which allow him to predict the variability of soil properties across large extensions of land.

In addition to his research activities, Bryan collaborates with multiple governmental and nonprofit organizations across four countries in Central America, namely Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Currently, 33 environmental professionals from these organizations receive technical training from Bryan, so they can adopt novel technologies and scientific knowledge for the construction of soil spatial information systems. These systems can aid in the sustainable management of their agroecosystems. Bryan's work in Central America represents an important effort to bridge the gap between research and practice.

Contacts

Minerva Justine Dorantes, project/program manager
Crop, Soil and Environmental Science
479-575-2354, mjdorant@uark.edu

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