Life in Earth: Why soil biodiversity matters for ecosystem functioning

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As part of the Professorial Inaugural Lecture Series, Professor David Johnson, N8 Chair in Microbial Ecology, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, will be presenting his lecture titled: "Life in Earth: Why soil biodiversity matters for ecosystem functioning".


Soils are repositories for a huge abundance and vast diversity of organisms, which drive processes that sustain all other life on Earth. The last two decades have seen considerable advances in our understanding of the crucial functions played by soil organisms. Soils provide fascinating examples of how evolution has overcome the need for organisms to acquire energy and nutrients; provide protection from natural enemies; form intimate symbioses with other organisms; and resist human-driven perturbations.

In this lecture, I will provide some examples of the critical roles soil organisms play in regulating life-sustaining ecosystem processes, and illustrate how soil organisms are the ideal model systems to test ecological theory. Finally, I will argue that we must better understand 'Life in Earth' if we are to manage ecosystems, both to mitigate predicted changes in global climate and feed a rapidly increasing human population.

"The inaugural lecture is a centuries-old tradition, a transition point in the career of an academic, recognizing leadership in their chosen field. I am proud to welcome such exceptional leaders to Manchester."
Professor Martin Schröder, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

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