College of Agriculture

Garrett Liles

Assistant Professor

Personal Information

Garrett Liles is a Chico native who earned his bachelor’s degree at Chico State with an interdisciplinary special major in soil ecology. His experiences at Chico State were the springboard for a master’s in soil and watershed sciences from University of Washington, Seattle (studying headwater streams and the effects of forest management on stream and soil properties), and a PhD from UC Davis studying soil organic matter and the effects of disturbance and management on the terrestrial Carbon Cycle. During his PhD studies Garrett also worked for the NRCS mapping the soils of Lassen Park, on a region biomass to energy issues, and quantifying the effects of riparian restoration at the Cosumnes River Preserve. Most recently he worked for the Delta Stewardship Council focusing on science synthesis and communication addressing diverse water and management issues critical to California.

Dr. Liles joined the faculty of the College of Agriculture in 2015 as an assistant professor of soil and plant science, replacing his original soils mentor Prof. Mitchell Johns, who recently retired. Liles’ broad research and professional interests include quantifying organic matter in soils, understanding the effects of land use and management on soils and ecosystem services, the use of isotopes to assess plant water use efficiency, and probing the complex nature of organo-metallic bonds and their role in soil C storage. 

Liles and his wife Christine met at Chico State and have a daughter, Olivia, in honor of her olive-ranching grandparents, and a son, Clayton, named for his love of soil. Overall, Dr. Liles is excited about sharing his love of the natural world and soils and being a resources for the North State community.


  • PSSC 250 - Introduction to Soil Science

  • PSSC 356 - Soil Quality and Health
  • PSSC 390 - Food Forever

  • PSSC 451 - Soil Genesis & Classification 

  • PSSC 453 - Soil Fertility & Plant Nutrition