Integrating Soil Biodiversity Into Discussions of Global Sustainability: The Time Is Now

Tuesday, August 6, 2013: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
M100EF, Minneapolis Convention Center
Kelly Sierra Ramirez, Colorado State University
Diana H. Wall, Colorado State University
Kelly Sierra Ramirez, Colorado State University
The Earth’s soils are living, dynamic interfaces that are habitats for millions of microbial and animal species. Soil biota are critical to human well-being because their activities underpin soil resources and the delivery of major ecosystem services, from nutrient cycling to food production. Despite the numerous ecosystem services provided by the life in soil our ability to disseminate this knowledge beyond the scientific community remains inadequate. The goal of this symposium is to facilitate a discussion on the rapidly accumulating knowledge of soil biodiversity, from sequences to processes, and highlight ways to integrate research developments into sustainable policy and management practices of all global soils. The symposium will accomplish this goal through talks by experts in soil ecology, ecosystem services and global change. Meeting the challenges of soil degradation, loss of biodiversity, climate change and food security, while having to sustain the productivity of our natural and managed lands requires not only knowing the role of interacting soil organisms and the services they provide, but also implementing that knowledge. Recent research and technological advances have vastly increased scientific knowledge on soil organisms, and further highlight the importance of soil biota in maintaining healthy soils. Still, a number of scientific challenges remain in linking soil communities to ecosystem services. This symposium will be directly relevant to soil ecologists, microbial ecologists, agroecologists, biogeochemists and other terrestrial ecologists as we discuss the future of soil biodiversity research. Finally, the management of soil biodiversity for ecosystem services is relevant to the sustainability of global lands and has caught the attention of policy makers (i.e. prevention of erosion- UNCCD, soil carbon sequestration IPCC, loss of aboveground biodiversity- CBD, and enhanced soil fertility, FAO). Therefore, the significance of soil biodiversity is of concern beyond the study of soil ecology and ecosystem services and we plan to use this symposium as a means to facilitate synergistic relationships with other fields of study. The outcomes of the symposium are two fold: First, to facilitate the synthesis of emerging science, (e.g. our ability to sequence and characterize the entire soil community – bacteria, archaea and eukayotes) and identify scenarios where this knowledge can be implemented for enhancing ecosystem services. Second, to petition scientists for contribution to the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI), an international scientific effort designed to integrate expert knowledge on soil biodiversity into environmental policy and sustainable land management for the protection and enhancement of ecosystem services.
Soil Ecology Section, Microbial Ecology Section, Agroecology Section
8:30 AM
 Soil microorganisms improve plant fitness in the face of global change
Jay T. Lennon, Indiana University; Casey terHorst, Michigan State University; Jennifer A. Lau, Michigan State University
9:00 AM
 Interactive effects and feedbacks between soil biodiversity and global change
Zoë Lindo, University of Western Ontario; Andrew Gonzalez, McGill University
9:30 AM
9:40 AM
 Harnessing soil communities for N retention
Franciska T. de Vries, University of Manchester; Pete Manning, University of Bern; Richard D. Bardgett, University of Manchester
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