September 15, 2011
University Distinguished Professor Diana Wall, director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, presented the prestigious Tansley Lecture as part of the British Ecological Society's 2011 Annual Meeting on Monday, Sept. 12, at the University of Sheffield.
Wall, a senior research scientist and biology professor at CSU, talked about “Integrating Soil Biodiversity into Terrestrial Ecosystem Science.”
Throughout the course of her career, she has been actively engaged in research to explore how soil biodiversity contributes to healthy, productive soils and thus to society, and the consequences of human activities on soil sustainability.
Named for Sir Arthur Tansley, a founder of the BES and the concept of ‘ecosystems’, the British Ecological Society Council selects a distinguished ecologist every two years to address the Society at its annual meeting. A prestigious award, those who are invited to speak may pick any ecological subject and may publish their paper in one of the Society's journals.
Soils are receiving global attention because they are being rapidly degraded at a time when we are dependent on soil for feeding ourselves and the world's enlarging population, and for climate mitigation. The immense hidden biodiversity of soils, including microbes and invertebrates, are essential for functioning of terrestrial ecosystems and for the provision of ecosystem services such as food and fiber production, carbon sequestration, and biocontrol of pests and pathogens.
There is growing awareness that soil biodiversity is necessary to sustain soils, but there has been limited recognition by the 'aboveground" ecological sciences and other fields supporting research on earth system science. Using examples of research on soil invertebrates from Antarctic polar deserts with low species richness and from global sites with high species richness, Wall argues that incorporating an understanding of the diversity of species in soil, and their functions, is a central component of terrestrial ecosystem science.
Wall chaired the SCOPE Committee on Soil and Sediment Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning and edited the volume, Sustaining Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Soils and Sediments (2004, Island Press). Her research from the tropics to the Antarctic Dry Valleys examines soil biodiversity and ecosystem processes and Wall Valley, Antarctica was named for her 20-plus years of research there. She served as a member of the US Commission of UNESCO and was a member of the Advisory Committee, Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility-CIAT Project on Conservation and Sustainable Management of Belowground Biodiversity - as well as serving on the Advisory Board for the UK Population Biology Network.
She has been President of the Ecological Society of America, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Intersociety Consortium for Plant Protection, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, the Society of Nematologists and Chair, Council of Scientific Society Presidents.
Contact: Emily Wilmsen
Phone: (970) 491-2336