Back to top

Dawit Solomon

Dawit Solomon

Adjunct Associate Professor

920 Bradfield Hall
(607) 255-1730

Dr. Solomon is Adjunct Associate Professor of soil science at Cornell. He is also the lead/director of CGIAR’s Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) in East Africa, based at The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) station in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Research Focus

I have over 20 years of professional experience on international capacity building, research, project development, implementation and supervision experience in sustainable agriculture, integrated environment and ecosystem rehabilitation and management, food and nutrition security, climate-change mitigation, adaptation and resilience working with diverse stakeholders and partners in Africa, Europe, Oceania, South and North America.
My areas of expertise are in soil fertility and land degradation, sustainable agriculture, biogeochemistry, instrumental chemical analysis including synchrotron-based micro- and nano-spectromicroscopy and imaging approaches for environmental science research.
I have been involved in both basic and applied research that investigates the fundamental impacts of human activities and global warming on the Earth’s biogeochemical cycling of major elements (C, N, P and S) and sustainability of the environment both at the regional and global level using wet-chemical, total element, stable isotope (13C, 34S, 35S), gas-liquid chromatographic, nuclear magnetic resonance (13C and 31P) spectroscopy techniques. My research is focused mainly on identifying and quantifying the processes and causes of soil degradation in natural and managed ecosystems. Soil organic matter (SOM) and critical nutrients associated with it are important attribute for sustainability in terrestrial ecosystems and that knowledge of the amount, structural characteristics, formation, stabilization and destabilization pathways of SOM are critical to understanding of global biogeochemical cycles of elements and the impact of climate change. The central goal of my current research is, therefore, to investigate the in situ spatial arrangement of minerals, polyvalent metal-ions, organic C functionalities and other architectural features of organo-mineral assemblages at the microscopic and sub-microscopic level, and element-specific information about local electron mode and compositional environments of adsorbing atoms and surficial interactions, micro- and nano-scale heterogeneity in spatial allocations and other molecular-level features of organo-mineral assemblages using novel experimental and non-destructive high resolution synchrotron-based spectromicroscopic imaging (Sr-FTIR-ATR, STXM and NEXAFS) techniques involving elements such as C, N, Ca, Fe, Al, Si, S and P. Such information will allow us to obtain process-oriented biogeochemical evidence the nano- and micro-scale molecular-level stabilization mechanisms and the in situ spatial association of organic C functionalities and their interaction with metal ions and soil minerals responsible for the preservation of the bulk of soil organic C in terrestrial ecosystems and will help to advance our ability to manage soils in a way to allow more C to be stored and adds to the options for mitigation of climate change. I am interested in studies that involve evaluating and identifying pollution sources and implementing pollution prevention practices, develop technologies for restoring degraded lands and for management and restoration of wetlands. My future carrier interest is to use my knowledge in these areas and contribute to issues related to agricultural sustainability through teaching, applied research and outreach in areas where there are environment and natural resources management related problems such pollution or land degradation. I have also a strong interest to be involved in development and outreach activities geared towards increasing agricultural productivity and food security in a sustainable manner based on either using locally available techniques or through the development and transfers of effective and environmentally sound technology.

Awards and Honors

  • Flora Rose House fellow (2012) Flora Rose House Cornell University
  • Research fellow (2012) Atkinson Center for Sustainable Future

Selected Publications

Journal Publications