Tuesday, August 9, 2016: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
315, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
Rebecca R. Hernandez, University of California, Davis
Amanda Swanson, University of California, Riverside; and
Michael F. Allen, University of California
Madison K Hoffacker, UC Riverside
Aridlands span diverse ecosystems on all continents, comprising over 40% of Earth’s terrestrial surface (Figure 1), 44% of all cultivation, one-third of the human population, and where impacts from climate change are expected to be relatively severe (e.g., West Africa, Southern United States). Unfortunately, aridlands, especially soils, remain vastly understudied relative to their area (Figure 2a). Indeed, there are many dryland areas in which rudimentary soil data simply do not exist while much of aridland soil data have yet to be analyzed in the aggregate. However, a recent resurgence (i.e., relative to tropical areas) in aridland soil studies emerged in 2000 (Figure 2b), a trend that continues today, likely reflecting the renaissance of advanced soil technologies (e.g., ‘omics for biodiversity and functionality, sensors, and observatories), computational leaps, and a unique spectrum of 21st century challenges including, elucidating basic principles in natural ecosystems, understanding impacts of and adaptation to climate change and other anthropogenic influences (e.g., novel ecosystems resulting from urbanization and solar energy development), and dryland soil restoration techniques.
We propose to bring together soil ecologists and scientists, whose research demonstrates the vanguard of aridland soil ecology today to present results, challenges, and opportunities learned at the local, regional, and global-scale. We propose to begin the symposium with an overview (“synthesis”) of the current understanding of aridland soil ecology and the opportunities and limitations to our regional and global aridland soil data. Next, we will highlight studies that represent the upper boundaries of aridland soil ecology in their methodological innovation and technology (“discovery”), geographic or temporal scope, and in their potential for impact on policy or human development. Next, we will showcase studies that focus on novel ecosystems, their impacts, as well as intriguing discoveries in restoration (“novety”). Lastly, we seek to hold a post-symposia lunch meeting to organize individuals interested in aggregating global aridland soil knowledge and data, which we would like to lead to a high-impact, collaborative, synthetic study and open-access database.