Colorado State Hosts International Conference on Effects of Climate Change on Soil Biodiversity June 4-6

Colorado State University is hosting an international conference this summer to address how critical soil biodiversity patterns are altered under climate change. "Conservation and Sustainable Use of Soil Biodiversity: Predicting Soil Biodiversity Patterns under Climate Change" will be held June 4-6 on CSU’s campus.

During this conference, scientists and decision makers will discuss patterns of below-ground diversity – which are the foundation for functioning ecosystems – and predict how these patterns may change in the future due to climate change.

The Earth’s soils are dynamic, living interfaces that are habitats for millions of species hidden from our view. More species, from microbes to invertebrates, live in soil than above ground. To sustain the productivity of land, scientists learning how these below-surface species benefit humans and integrating this knowledge into management and policy decisions.

"There is a great sense of urgency to gather forces from many disciplines to address this issue because land is degrading worldwide," said Diana Wall, Department of Biology professor at Colorado State and conference organizer.

Conference attendees will address two basic ecological questions: How regions of highest and lowest biodiversity are distributed and how scientists can predict the alteration of soil biodiversity patterns due to global climate change.

"Soil organisms are considered to be critical to the provision of ecosystem services such as soil fertility, erosion prevention and carbon storage. Therefore, answers to these questions have relevance for many aspects of sustaining our planet," Wall said. "Soil biodiversity is much more than earthworms and compost."

The conference is sponsored by Colorado State’s Office of International Programs, Department of Biology and the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory.