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Tropical Research & Education Center

Tropical Research & Education Center

Dr. Yuncong Li

Professor — Soil and Water Quality

Dr. Yuncong Li is the Professor of Soil and Water Quality in the Department of Soil, Water, and Ecosystem Sciences at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center. He is also an Affiliated Professor at the University of Florida’s Center for Tropical Agriculture, Hydrologic Sciences Academic Cluster, School of Natural Resources & Environment, and Water Institute. He has authored or co-authored over 329 research papers, 115 extension articles and 6 book chapters. He co-edited two books, Water Quality Concepts, Sampling, and Analyses and Handbook of Soil Sciences. He serves as an associate editor for two journals, Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology and Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. Additionally, Dr. Li has chaired or co-chaired 34 PhD and MS students, served as a committee member for 47 other graduate students, and supervised 16 postdoctoral fellows and many international visiting scientists and students from more than 25 countries.

  • Research

    Dr. Li’s research program focuses on developing management practices to improve nutrient use efficiency, characterizing nutrient cycling in soils, and balancing agricultural and natural ecosystems. The unique soils, climatic extremes, and diverse crops and native plants have posed great challenges to his soil and water research program in South Florida. 

    Current Research Areas

    • Salt Water Intrusion
    • Controlled-release fertilizers
    • Amino acid foliar/liquid fertilizers
    • Bio-fertilizers
    •  Humic Acids
    • Salt index of fertilizers
    • Testing methods for slow-release fertilizers
    • Soil testing calibration for calcareous soils
    • BMP for tropical fruits
    • Cover crops and soil amendments
    • Water quality index
    • Everglades restoration
  • Extension

    Dr. Li’s Extension program includes training of nutrient management practices and water quality for extension agents, researchers and others; organizing and participating workshops, demonstrations and field days; publishing extension articles and newsletters; and providing technical assistance to county extension agents on isuuses realted to calcerious soils.

  • Teaching

    Dr. Li involves in advising and mentoring undergraduate interns, graduate students, and postdoctoral research associates. He taught graduate courses of “Communication in Academia” and “Advance Soil and Water Chemistry”. 

  • International Activities

    In collaboration with international colleagues, Dr. Li has conducted field research in Asia and South America and these activities have resulted in many scholarly publications and changes in practices. In collaborations with over 200 international scholars from 27 countries, he co-edited the Handbook of Soil Sciences. The book is a comprehensive and cohesive reference on the discipline of soil science and serves as a valuable resource for soil scientists, agronomists, engineers, ecologists, and biologists. His second book entitled “Water quality concept, sampling and analyses” has been distributed worldwide and used by scientists and environmental professionals for protecting water resources. He has hosted many international scientists and students for long term studies and short visits and made significant international contributions to promote research, teaching and extension of soil and water sciences. He has been invited to give keynote talks and lectures in many countries and taught short courses on integrated nutrient management and soil and water quality in Brazil, China, Columbia, Haiti, and Mexico.

Dr. Yuncong Li


18905 SW 280 Street
Homestead, FL 33031-3314
(786) 217-9251

  • Education
    • Ph.D. Environmental Science, University of Maryland, 1993 
    • M.S. Agronomy/Soil Chemistry, 1990 
    • B.S.  Soil Science, Shandong Agricultural University, 1982
  • Publications
  • Honors
    • Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2021
    • Faculty award for the most publications, UF/IFAS TREC
    • Term Professorship Award, University of Florida, 2017
    • Research Foundation Professorship, University of Florida, 2017
    • Kingenta Agricultural Science Award, American Society of Agronomy, 2016
    • Distinguished Alumni Nomination Award, Shandong Agricultural University, 2012 & 2015
    • Distinguished Career Award, Association of Chinese Soil & Plant Scientists in North America (ACSPSNA), 2014
    • Art Hornsby Distinguished Extension Professional and Enhancement Award, Extension Association of Florida, 2012
    • International Educator of the Year, Senior Faculty Award, UF/IFAS, 2011
    • Fellow of American Society of Agronomy (ASA), 2010
    • Fellow of Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), 2010
    • UF/IFAS Research Innovation Award, 2010
    • Senior Faculty Award, the Gamma Sigma Delta, the honor society of agriculture, 2009
    • Wachovia Extension Professional and Enhancement Award, Extension Association of Florida, 2008
    • Research Foundation Professorship, University of Florida, 2007.
    • Junior Faculty Research Award, the Sigma Xi, the international honor society of science and engineering, 2004
    • Jim App Award for Outstanding Design Team, UF/IFAS, 2002
    • Outstanding Paper Award, Florida State Horticultural Society, 2001
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