(Left: GSBI Founders Johan Six, Luca Montanarella, Diana Wall, Richard Bardgett, Wim van der Putten. Click here to view our leadership.)
Wish us a happy birthday, because this September marks the two-year anniversary of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI). In that time, we have established a small but solid base of supporters and contributors. We now have over 350 members representing 69 countries.
The GSBI is a bottom-up collaboration of international scientists dedicated to enhancing the use of soil biodiversity science and ecosystem services into sustainable policies and management of global terrestrial ecosystems. It’s structured through a scientific leadership and global participant network, with the secretariat hosted at Colorado State University.
The GSBI was initiated in 2011 with the main focus of establishing global participation by a representative scientific community (systematists to biogeochemists, and ecosystems from Antarctica to urban soils). To be truly representative of the scientific community the GSBI encourages all interested parties to support and contribute by simply signing up to become a participant.
Over the last two years the GSBI has made great strides in connecting with the scientific community and beyond.
Timeline of Events:
March 2012 - The first Open Meeting for the GSBI group was held in London.
June 2012 - Diana Wall, Scientific Chair, and Kelly Ramirez, Executive Director, attended the Rio+20 UN conference on global sustainability.
July 2012 - The GSBI, in collaboration with the CSU, CU Boulder, Yale, and the American Museum of Natural History, set out to explore the biodiversity of Central Park in New York City (group picture to the left).
November 2012 - The GSBI co-hosted a session called "Ecosystems services for soils: competitions and synergies" at the first Global Soil Week.
**This year, we are co-hosting a session: Get it, use it, improve it: Global soil information.
November 2012 - Diana Wall and Kelly Ramirez attended the annual EcoFinders meeting as outside contributors. Find out more about the project, in its final year, here.
December 2012 - January 2013 - Diana Wall and a team went to Antarctica to sample soils in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. An important role of the GSBI is to keep up with current research efforts.
February 2013 - The GSBI hosted an international workshop, held in Fort Collins, Colorado, to plan the GSB-Assessment. The first step towards this assessment will be a GSB-Atlas, which is modelled off of the European Atlases. The release date is set for December 2014 during the first conference of the GSBI.
June 2013 - The GSBI was lucky enought to attend the Soil Ecology Society meeting at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. This allowed for good networking and connections between scientists.
August 2013 - The GSBI held a session on integrating soil biodiversity at the Ecological Society of America (ESA) meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
August 2013 - The GSBI attended Intecol 2013 in London. GSBI leadsership, Diana Wall, Wim van der Putten, and Richard Bardgett all participated in organized symposia.
^ Left: Rio+20 focused on achieving a green economy and creating a framework for sustainable development. Right: (from left to right) Diana Wall, Kelly Ramirez, and Heitor Coutinho representing GSBI at the Rio+20 event.
^ Left: GSBI members at the first open meeting in London. Right: (clockwise from left) Zach Sylvain, Diana Wall, Ed Ayres, Breana Simmons, Kelly Ramirez, and Josh Schimel at SES (Soil Ecology Society) event.
^ Left: The GSBI co-facilitated a session on "Ecosystem Services of Soils: Competition and Synergies" at Global Soil Week in 2012 Right: Ecological Society of America (ESA) meeting - Noah Fierer presenting at the GSBI Symposium "Predicting soil microbial diversity and function in a rapidly changing world".
^ Left: Diana Wall and her Wall Soil Ecology Lab has been studying the soils of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica since 1989. Right: Diana Wall and company sample soils in the McMurdo Dry Valleys.
^ Left: David Wardle and Richard Bardgett at the EcoFINDERS meetings in November 2012 in Wageningen, Netherlands. Right: EcoFINDERS serves to increase the understanding of the role soil biodiversity plays in ecosystem functioning.
We have come a long way from just a year ago, when we had 65 members from 21 countries. We could not have made this progress without the help of our many contributors and members. Thank you, and we look forward to another year of progress!