The next NAS Seminar featured Prof. Bruce Snyder or Georgia College and State University, presenting Soil Ecology in a Changing World, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 at 3 p.m. via Collaborate Ultra.
Soil serves as the foundation for terrestrial life. But beyond its physical support role, it also serves to support tremendous biodiversity and plays a key role in ecosystem functioning. Soils also support critical ecosystem services. Despite soil’s importance, soil ecosystems are understudied and much soil biodiversity remains to be discovered and described. Our limited understanding of soil biodiversity in part hampers our understanding of soil functioning, but soil on its own is a difficult medium in which to conduct ecological studies. Our lack of understanding of soil ecology is especially problematic in the rapidly changing world that we find ourselves living in, where we are faced with multiple, simultaneous challenges. Climate change, anthropogenic pollution, and invasive species are a few of these challenges. Each aspect of global change has unique – and potentially interacting – impacts that can affect soil ecology across multiple scales of the biological hierarchy. It is hard to overstate how crucial soils are to our life on this planet, and how critical it is that we develop an understanding of how global change and soil ecology affect each other.