Monday, August 3, 2009: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Blrm A, Albuquerque Convention Center
William J. Landesman
William J. Landesman
Conventional agricultural systems reduce soil biodiversity, alter soil community structure and nutrient cycling, and lead to greater dependence on energy-intensive practices. These practices can lead to habitat destruction, greenhouse gas production, and damage to soil ecosystems. While soil ecologists continue to be on the forefront of research on biodiversity and ecosystem function, there are few interdisciplinary studies that incorporate ecological knowledge into sustainable land management practices. This symposium will bring together soil ecologists, microbial ecologists, and agroecologists working globally to demonstrate how research in soil ecology can contribute to the long-term sustainability of agricultural systems. The goal of this symposium is to generate synergy among soil ecologists, microbial ecologists, and agroecologists, and to inspire new and innovative lines of research. Scientists within each of these sub-disciplines often perform complimentary research that can enhance our understanding of soil and agricultural sustainability, however, they rarely interact during ESA meetings. Furthermore, research within each of these sub-disciplines is published in disparate journals, and could potentially benefit a much wider audience than is currently being reached. Ecological theory generated in these sub-disciplines also has the potential to enhance research in the other disciplines. For example, many of the benefits of sustainable agricultural systems – stable yields, minimized external inputs, and reduced fossil fuel usage – rely on soil ecological theory and are key to sustaining soils worldwide. Current challenges in sustainable agricultural research could help to drive new questions in the blossoming field of soil microbial ecology. In order to improve the linkages among soil ecologists, microbial ecologists, and agroecologists, we invited speakers whose research overlaps the sub-disciplines of soil ecology, microbial ecology, and agroecology. Several of the talks will focus on incorporating soil ecological or microbial ecological theory into agricultural practice to improve agricultural productivity and sustainability. The remaining talks will consider challenges in sustainable agricultural research and the need for coalescing new avenues of research in agriculture and soil ecology. A concluding discussion will address the synergy of research from other sub-disciplines to advance ecological theory in their own. In order to focus the talks and discussion, we will phrase this conversation within the context of developing an interdisciplinary NSF proposal. We will encourage participants to continue this dialogue beyond the time limits of the symposium and will organize a meeting place later in the day for those interested in pursuing collaboration.
ESA Soil Ecology Section, ESA Microbial Ecology Section, ESA Agroecology Section