Subaqueous soils: Pedogenesis, mapping, and applications

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Although occasional references have been made to subaqueous soils during the last one and half centuries, only during the past two decades has a full recognition been granted to soils permanently covered by water. Early subaqueous soil research focused on overcoming the limitations of observing, describing, sampling, and mapping soils under water. Technological advances enabled the acquisition of high-quality bathymetry, and the development of subaqueous digital elevation models (DEMs) has led to the recognition and naming of subaqueous landforms. Observation of soil-landscape associations and confirmation that the soil-landscape paradigm could be applied in subaqueous environments opened the door for the inventory and mapping of permanently submersed soils. The observation and realization that subaqueous soil horizons were the result of pedogenic processes led to a new definition of soils by the US Department of Agriculture that accommodated subaqueous soils. Following the recognition and mapping of subaqueous soils, a number of new soil survey applications began to be developed mostly for estuarine systems. These soil interpretations addressed needs such as restoration of submerged aquatic vegetation, potential hazards from dredging, issues related to the mooring of vessels, and siting productive areas for shellfish aquaculture. More recent work has begun to address concerns emerging in freshwater subaqueous soils. The interconnectedness between water quality and soils in subaqueous environments as well as the growing pressures on estuarine and freshwater bodies suggest continued needs for solutions to issues associated with subaqueous soils.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Hydropedology: Synergistic Integration of Soil Science and Hydrology