Happy Birthday GSBI!

Celebrating its two-year anniversary, the GSBI reviews the last two years, and all of the progress that has been made.  Improving from 65 members in 21 countries a year ago, to over 350 members in 69 countries, the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative is on it's way to becoming truely global.

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Professor Håkan Wallander presenting at the Summer of Soil

Prof. Wallander at a field site in Ecudaor

The Summer of Soil will hold the Living Soil Forum, a five-day program focusing on a better future for our soils.  Representing the GSBI, Professor Hakan Wallander will be presenting about soil's importance in biodiversity, food security, climate stabilitity and healthy living systems.

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Why should we care about soil biodiversity?

Last week a key group of soil biodiversity scientists arrived in Fort Collins with a bang despite a massive snowstorm. Delayed flights and cold temperatures couldn’t keep this group down; they were on a mission to develop a Global Soil Biodiversity Assessment/Atlas on the state of global soil biodiversity.

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Assessing the state of soils

There are millions and millions of organisms in the soil under your feet that play a critical role in maintaining a multitude of global services. Often overlooked, these organisms control critical processes ranging from nutrient availability for plant growth to carbon sequestration for greenhouse gas mitigation. With recent advances in molecular techniques, global surveys and communication between researchers, scientists can now link this unseen diversity with key ecosystem services.

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Scratching the surface of soil microbial diversity

I recently wrote a post for my blogging group Early Career Ecologists. Briefly, I discuss a recent paper out by Dr. Noah Fierer and colleagues in PNAS, where they used metagenomic techniques to explore soil microbial communities of 16 soils from across five biome types. I chose to write about this publication because it exemplifies the amazing progress made in sequencing techniques and microbial ecology in such a short period of time.

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What is the GSBI? A brief synopsis of the GSBI’s past, present and future

The GSBI was formed with the goal of uniting scientists across disciplines (soil ecology, soil science, biogeochemistry, agroecology, policy) to convey soil biodiversity research to policy and land managers for global sustainability of ecosystem services. The GSBI looks to link science and policy through the application of rapidly expanding knowledge of soil biodiversity.

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An unexplored urban jungle

Tomorrow morning a group of soil ecologists will meet on the steps of the American Museum of Natural History to begin a day-long effort to sample the soils of Central Park, New York City. Within soil lives an astounding amount of biological diversity, scaling from microbes to insects and worms that is mostly invisible to the naked eye. One question researchers are interested in is how this biodiversity compares to soils in natural systems- Yellowstone National Park, for example.

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Successful trip for the GSBI at Rio+20

This last week Diana Wall, Science Chair and Kelly Ramirez, Executive Director of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) Secretariat attended the UN Conference on Global Sustainability, RIO+20. The GSBI was fortunate to have Drs. George Brown and Heitor Coutino of Embrapa in Brazil organize a very successful side event- “Towards a Truly Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative”. (More details to follow on our website.)

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