Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Kati Migliaccio’s interests center on water conservation and the use of models to explore water management options.
“My work focuses on water conservation, including quality and quantity,” Migliaccio said. “We identify realistic and sustainable solutions to a variety of pressing fresh water issues.”
Migliaccio’s research has approached South Florida’s water challenges from several angles. While some problems stem from irrigation practices that do not reflect current knowledge, other parts relate to timing and frequency of fertilizers, necessitating the development of better application practices.
“Water issues in Florida have both an urban aspect as well as an agricultural aspect,” Migliaccio said. “Similarly, water-related choices are often made on the individual level but can have larger level impacts.”
Her work is mindful of these different perspectives, recognizing this research will help balance the needs of water users in South Florida.
“My original interest in pursuing a career in agricultural and biological engineering was due to my interest in contributing to a more sustainable world,” Migliaccio said. “I hoped engineering could be used to ensure that our natural resources, such as water, would be managed for sustainability using the best knowledge we have.”
Prior to her time in Gainesville, Migliaccio spent several years at the Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC), focusing on one of the most complex and intensely managed water landscapes in the world. This ranged from the Everglades and Biscayne Bays to the Biscayne Aquifer.
Migliaccio’s research program is responsible for developing models to simulate real-time water balances, capable of linking to weather stations and providing dynamic information on irrigation needs. Migliaccio is also integrating gridded, nationwide data sets to improve data resolution and consequent irrigation accuracy.
Overall, she has published 61 refereed journal articles in leading irrigation journals. Because the nature of her research is multi-disciplinary, her publications have also included areas related to horticulture, soil science and economics.
Migliaccio’s research has received a variety of accolades, such as the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) awards for Outstanding Young Engineer Award, Young Researcher Award and Young Extension Worker Award.
At the beginning of 2017, she was also inducted into the Arkansas Academy of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. She was recognized at the national level by the 2017 ASABE G.B. Gunlogson Countryside Engineering Award.