There are animals under our feet. Billions of them. A miraculous, biodiverse jungle in the soil. Professor Diana Wall, soil ecologist at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, is working to uncover the secrets of a wildly diverse animal kingdom in our soils. She has studied a group of soil animals, nematodes, in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica where she has been able to isolate the effects of drought on these soil organisms. She has shown that when soil ecosystems are devastated by erosion, pollution, pesticides, drought, and other climate change effects, the resulting soil degradation releases billions of tons of stored carbon, threatens global food production, and reduces water and air quality, Healthy soil is responsible for filtering our water and our air in ways few non-scientists appreciate. Professor Wall founded the new Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas, with more than 100 other scientists, to map the underground factories of terrestrial life across the globe.
Read the full article in Scientific American.