I started my academic career focused on water quality simulation modeling in watersheds with diverse land use (agriculture, forest, and urban). Based on this research, I recognized that soil—the critical zone—controls many ecosystem processes. Hence, I became more curious to study the spatial variation and genesis of soils. This led me to develop extensive expertise in digital soil mapping and pedometrics.
My ecosystem and pedometrics research over the past 25+ years has focused on pivotal issues including soil and terrestrial carbon assessment, carbon sequestration, soil health, soil security, environmental quality assessment (nitrogen, phosphorus, and micro-nutrients), water quality simulation modeling, and assessment of ecosystem services. Geoscience, proximal (soil) sensing, and remote sensing have played a major role in many of my research projects. The strong emphasis on quantification and modeling approaches (AI: machine learning and deep learning), stochastic, mechanistic / deterministic (Earth simulation modeling), hybrid, and fuzzy methods, have afforded me to explore in more depth relations between soils, climate, biota (land use/land cover and organisms), topography, hydrology, geology, and anthropogenic factors. One may say, that these factors present the totality of an ecosystem.
I love broad picture thinking focused on understanding the impacts and evolution of ecosystems. Models provide the means to simulate ecosystem processes, predict soil-ecological properties and associated uncertainties. To bridge the gap between soil-ecosystem and social, cultural, psychological, and economic issues integrative modeling rooted in Integral Theory and Integral Ecology have become my passion. Integral Meta Models of soil security and soil health are more inclusive because they integrate multiple perspectives and model paradigms. Another emergent research path is the integrative pedo-econometrics approach that allows to move beyond predictive modeling of soil-environmental properties toward the optimization of soil-environmental efficiencies considering site-specific conditions and ecosystem functions (e.g., maximize carbon sequestration, enhance water holding capacity, and optimize biogeochemical functionality).
M.Sc. (Diploma) Environmental Science and Development of Rural Areas. Justus-Liebig University, Germany (1992)
Ph.D. Environmental Science. Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany (1996)
Integral Studies Graduate Certificate. Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, CA (2013)
Authentic Leadership Graduate Certificate. Naropa University, Boulder, CO (2015)
Ph.D. Integral and Transpersonal Psychology. California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA (2021).
Academic Work Experience
Professor, Pedometrics, Landscape Analysis, and GIS. Soil and Water Sciences Department, University of Florida (UF), USA (8/2010 - present)
Grunwald is affiliated faculty member with the UF ICGIS Concentration, Florida Climate Institute, Water Institute, AI Initiative-Informatics Institute, and Center for Spirituality and Health.
Director and Coordinator of Distance Education. Soil and Water Sciences Department, University of Florida, USA (11/2001 - 5/2011)
Associate Professor. Soil and Water Sciences Department, University of Florida, USA (8/2006 - 8/2010)
Affiliate Professor. Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, USA (8/2005 - present)
Affiliate Professor. School of Natural Resources, University of Florida, USA (3/2003 - present)
Assistant Professor. Soil and Water Sciences Department, University of Florida, USA (8/2001 - 8/2006)
Research Scientist and GIS Manager. Heidelberg College, Ohio, USA (3/2000 - 7/2001)
Post-Doctoral Associate. Department of Soil Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin, USA (8/1997 - 3/2000)
Post-Doctoral Associate. Department of Natural Resources, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany (1/1997 - 8/1997)
Significant Academic Highlights
Grunwald earned the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) Fellow Award (2017). Only up to 0.3 percent of all SSSA members may be elected fellow; very few woman have been elected SSSA Fellow.
She was granted the Teacher Fellow International Award of the North American Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences (NACTA) (2010).
Grunwald's Honors: University of Florida (UF) Term Professorship (2019-2020); UF Research Foundation Professorship (2017-2020 and 2010-2012).
She has been member and held leadership positions in the Pedometrics Commission, International Union of Soil Science (IUSS).
International research and capacity building engagement in Europe, Latin America, Australia, Asia, and Africa.
Grunwald's research publications are highly cited (>7900 citations); her H-index was 47 and i10-index 106 in 6/2021 based on Google Scholar.
She is the Chief Editor of Frontiers Soil Science Journal, Pedometrics section (9/2020 - present). Grunwald served as Associate Editor for several international journals incl. Geoderma and Soil Sci. Am. J.
Members of Grunwald's research team have given 477+ presentations at conferences out of which a large proportion was at international and national meetings.
She was instrumental to develop and provide leadership for the Soil and Water Sciences distance education graduate curricula (2001-2011) at the University of Florida; and she served as tech-innovator for online teaching (e.g., virtual labs and EcoLearnIT).
Grunwald has been Principal Investigator (PI) and Co-PI of several large-scale inter- and transdisciplinary research projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) - National Institute of Food & Agric. (NIFA).
Graduate students advised by Grunwald have an outstanding record of receiving awards and publishing research results; and many of them have created successful professional careers.
She provided leadership to create and lead the interdisciplinary University of Florida (UF) Mindfulness Program serving 16 colleges (students, staff, and faculty members). The program was awarded the UF Champions for Change Award (2016).
Reading, diverse genres
Enjoying the beauty of nature
Exploring spaciousness, timelessness, and mystery of life