AAAS 2009

Date

15/Feb/2009
 

Place

Brussels
Belgium

Organizer

Aidan Gilligan, European Commission, Joint Research Center, Brussels, Belgium

Link

Life Beneath Our Feet: Research Challenges in Soil Biodiversity , AAAS 2009, Chicago (JRC SOIL)

The JRC hosted a symposium on soil biodiversity today, 15 February, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago. The session presented an overview of current understanding in the field and attempt to explain the various pressures "life in our soils" is currently under, with an analysis of recent developments that have enhanced our understanding of this crucial, yet unknown ecosystem. The challenges faced by the research community in its support for the sustainable use of this critical, non-renewable natural resource will also be addressed.

Session Type: 90-Minute Symposium
Number: 090-076 
Title: Life Beneath Our Feet: Research Challenges in Soil Biodiversity 
Session Start/End Time: Sunday, Feb 15, 2009, 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM, Room: HRC Grand A 
Synopsis: Soil is a major habitat for plants and animals. Millions of organisms can be present in just one teaspoon of soil. Fungi, bacteria, nematodes, arthropods, earthworms, and mammals form a complex food web that is still only partially known and understood. Healthy soil provides us with the wide range of ecosystem goods and services that play a crucial role in sustaining life on the planet. However, many aspects of soil biology remain a mystery. Climate change, the increasing use of agro-chemicals, and the rapid decline in organic matter content are threatening the diversity of organisms in soil. Indeed, even the true extent of soil biodiversity, and its origins and functional consequences, are only just beginning to be understood. Protecting the soil habitat against the impact of human activities that could threaten the diversity of species should have the same importance as the protection of natural habitats above ground. However, legislators and policy-makers require relevant information from the research community to act effectively. This symposium will present an overview of our current understanding of the key pressures on life in the soil, describe recent developments that have enhanced our understanding of this crucial yet unknown ecosystem, and establish future challenges for the research community to support the sustainable use of a critical, nonrenewable natural resource. 
Organized by: Aidan Gilligan, European Commission, Joint Research Center, Brussels, Belgium

 

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