Asim Biswas

Head shot of Asim.
Associate Professor
Email: 
biswas@uoguelph.ca
Phone number: 
+1 519 824 4120 Ext. 54249
Office: 
Alexander Hall, Room 135
Lab: 
Alexander Hall, Rooms 136 & 138

Asim was born and brought up in a small subsistence farm family from a remote village (Poragachha, Asannagar, Nadia) in West Bengal, India. Working and participating in farm activities and the ‘magic in soil that turns a small seed into a big plant or a huge tree’ always fascinated him about soil. Same way ‘why a field soil can grow plants better and another is not’ made him curious. All the curiosities pushed him to start his first degree, BSc (hons) in Agricultural Sciences with soil science and soil testing as major and minor subject of study. He received BSc in Agriculture (2004) from the Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswasvidyalaya, the state agricultural university and continued his study to secure a MSc in Soil Science (2006) from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India. Asim continued his study and research on soil and soil spatial variability at the University of Saskatchewan, SK, Canada, and secured PhD in Soil Physics in 2011. His intention to travel the world took him to Australia for his first job as an environmental research scientist/post-doctoral fellow at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). In 2013, he joined the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University as an Assistant Professor in May 2013 and moved to University of Guelph on 1st June 2016. Now, he is a leading scientist in data driven sustainable soil management and works to increase the productivity and resilience of land-based agri-food production systems in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Meet Prof. Asim Biswas

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Check out Asim's 60 second snapshot video here.

Academic History

  • Ph.D. in Soil Physics, Department of Soil Science, University of Saskatchewan (www.usask.ca), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2011)
  • M.Sc. (Ag.) in Soil Science, Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, University of Agricultural Sciences (www.uasbangalore.edu.in), Bangalore, Karnataka, India (2006)
  • B.Sc. (Ag.) Hons., Department of Agricultural Chemistry and Soil Science, Bidhan Chandra Krisi Viswavidyalaya (www.bckv.edu.in), Mohanpur, West Bengal, India (2004)

Affiliations and Partnerships

Affiliations

  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • Visiting Professor, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, China
  • Jinshan Distinguished Scholar Professor (Short Term), School of Environment and Safety Engineering, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, China

Associate Editors

  • Canadian Journal of Soil Science
  • Soil Science Society of America Journal
  • Vadose Zone Journal
  • Scientific Reports
  • Sensors

Guelph Editors

  • Geoderma
  • Remote Sensing
  • Agricultural Systems
  • Sensors

Partnerships

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
  • Canada Fund for Innovation (CFI)
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
  • Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MOECP)
  • Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU)
  • Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA)
  • Canadian Horticultural Council

Awards and Honours

  • 2020 University Research Excellence Award of University of Guelph
  • 2018 Young Scholar Award of S6 Division of Soil Science Society of America
  • 2018 Early Career Award of Soil Science Society of America
  • 2018 Early Researcher Award of Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science.
  • 2018 Water Young Investigator Award (second place) from ‘Water’ journal (MDPI Group).
  • The Soil Physics & Hydrology Early Career Award of Soil Science Society of America in 2016.
  • Donald L. Turcotte Award of American Geophysical Union (AGU) for Outstanding Dissertation work in Nonlinear Geophysics in 2012.
  • Kirkham Travel Award of 2012.
  • Best Ph.D. Thesis Award of University of Saskatchewan in 2012.
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award in 2011 of Division S06 of Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) for best thesis research work.
  • Australian Academy of Science Travel Award of 2012.
  • Bentley Award of Canadian Society of Soil Science (CSSS) in 2010.
  • Best Overall Student Paper Award of Canadian Geophysical Union (CGU) in 2011.
  • Best Poster Award at the Annual Meetings of SSSA in 2010.
  • Best Poster Award of Div. S01 at the Annual Meetings of SSSA in 2011.
  • Third Best Poster Award at the Annual Meetings of SSSA in 2012.
  • CSSS Travel Award of 2009-2010.
  • SSSA Travel Award of 2011.
  • College of Graduate Studies & Research (CGSR) Student Travel Award National Confer. 2009-10; 2010-11.
  • CGSR Student Travel Award for International Conference of 2009-2010, 2010-2011.
  • CGU Student Travel Award of 2011.
  • Gold Medal as the department top student during M.Sc. (Ag.) program at University of Agricultural Sciences, India in 2006.

Research Impact

Asim is an emerging leader in proximal soil sensing and precision agriculture and recently recognized with at least 6 early career researcher/scientist awards from various national and international societies for his contribution to the area of information driven sustainable soil management. The long-term goal Asim’s research program on sustainable soil management is on providing answers to increase the productivity and resilience of land-based agri-food production systems towards developing a more sustainable agri-food system to meet the challenges of a changing climate but also to do so in an environmentally sustainable manner. His research program focuses on four major areas: a) developing sensors, mathematical algorithms and systems to characterize soil quickly and cheaply; b) calibrating and validating those sensors and optimizing sampling designs to validate sensors in highly spatially and temporally variable soil environments; c) characterizing soil in space and time based on sensor-collected data using digital mapping techniques; and d) understanding soil processes for better and sustainable management through the development of decision support systems. The core of his research is the design and development of sensors for fast, inexpensive, and accurate characterization of soil properties. He develops mathematical algorithms and systems for calibrating these sensors as well as optimizing sampling designs for validating these sensors in highly spatially and temporally variable soil environments; he uses these sensor- collected data and other datasets to characterize soil spatial variability; and he quantifies the underlying soil processes for developing better and sustainable management plans through modeling and decision support systems.

Current Research Projects (selected)

  • Integrated digital soil sensing and mapping for sustainable soil management (NSERC Discovery)
  • Multi-scale controls of soil water dynamics and connectivity (NSERC Discovery
  • Integrated soil sensing and digital soil mapping for precision agriculture services in Ontario (Ministry of Colleges and Universities)
  • Enhancing Ontario’s Grain Production Through Smart Farming Techniques (Food From Thought)
  • Enhancement of Canadian Potato Industry through Smart farming (Canadian Horticultural Council)
  • Land conversion impacts on soil and water dynamics in the Highway 11 corridor (OMAFRA)
  • An integrated socio-economic and biophysical framework for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions under agricultural water management systems in Eastern Canada (AAFC)
  • A decision support tool for evaluating BMPs that reduce Greenhouse Gas (N2O) emission and improve water quality under Changing Climate (OMAFRA)
  • Predictive digital soil mapping for Ontario soil map renewal (OMAFRA)
  • Digital Soil Mapping of Lake Erie Basin, Ontario (OMAFRA)
  • Ontario Soil Information System (OSIS): Digital Soil Mapping of Ontario Soils at 100-m resolution (SoilGrid100) (OMAFRA)
  • Spatially distributed soil health evolution under changing climate conditions in Québec and Ontario (Ontario-Quebec)
  • Development of Interactive Table-Top Tools and Digital-Products to Illustrate the Principles of Water Movement and Soil Function in Natural/Tile Drained Lands (OMAFRA)
  • Integrated soil sensing and mapping for optimized management of land Resources (CFI)
  • Effect of land conversion on soil carbon and nutrient dynamics in the Great Clay Belt of Northern Ontario: A digital soil mapping approach (OMAFRA)

Graduate Student Information

To Asim, training HQPs is the most important and fulfilling aspect of being an academic, aside from research itself. His philosophy is simple and is operationalized by five pillars; a) interdisciplinary teaching to provide a board knowledge base, b) state-of-the-art training that complements HQPs qualifications and skills, c) professional skills development (e.g. social perceptiveness, critical thinking, project management, knowledge mobilization, teamwork) that ensure HQPs readiness for the real world, and d) mentorship and collaboration with peers, leading researchers and industry professionals to enhance exposure in the real world. However, these pillars are built on e) gender equity, equality, diversification, and inclusion as the guiding principles as he looks for novel ways to attract a diverse pool of HQPs. This is fundamental to all aspects of his research and training including recruitment, committee (advisory & examination) formation, training environment development and support for HQP growth and development.

HQPs are Asim’s research program. There are always positions available. Please contact with a detailed CV and a motivation letter. Information driven sustainable soil management requires expertise of various fields including soil science, agronomy, hydrology, agricultural engineering, computer and data science, information technology, sensors, and many others. So, please do not hesitate to contact Asim for opportunities.

Featured publications

  • Zhang, Y., Ji, W., Saurette, D., Huq Easher, T., Li, H., Shi, Z., Adamchuk, V., and Biswas, A. (2020) Three-dimensional digital soil mapping of multiple soil properties at a field-scale using 3D regression kriging. Geoderma 366, 114253 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2020.114253
  • Vidana Gamage, D., Biswas, A., and Strachan, I. (2019) Exploring spatial variability and relationships of soil thermal and some physical properties at fields scale. Soil and Tillage Research 193: 50-58 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2019.05.012
  • Fu, Y., Taneja, P., Lin, S., Adamchuk, V., Ji, W., Daggupati, P., and Biswas, A. (2019) Predicting soil organic matter from cellular phone images under varying soil moisture. Geoderma 361, 114020 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2019.114020
  • Qi, L., Adamchuk, V., Huang, H., Leclerc, M., Jiang, Y., and Biswas, A. (2019) Proximal sensing of soil textural content using a microscope-based sensor and bag of visual words model. Geoderma 351: 144-152 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2019.05.020   
  • Ji, W., Adamchuk, V., Chen, S., Mat Su, A., Ismail, A., Gan, Q., Shi, Z., and Biswas, A. (2019) Simultaneous Measurement of Multiple Soil Properties through Proximal Sensor Fusion: A Case Study Geoderma 341: 111-128 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2019.01.006

Google scholar for detailed list: https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=53OLzYQAAAAJ&hl=en

Area of Research

Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
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