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The Importance of Soil and How Life on Earth Depends on it

03/12/2021 @ 14:00 - 15:00

Soil forms the basis of all land-based ecosystems on Earth. Prior to the generation of soil, the land was littered with sterile rocks without any life. This highly complex medium is formed of minerals, dead and decomposing organic matter, air, water and life (microorganisms, animals and plants). We depend on soil for our agricultural crops as well as it being a huge biodiversity reservoir – teaspoon of soil contains billions of microorganisms, and the world’s second largest carbon store second to our oceans. Although crucial to land-based life, we are currently losing, by erosion over 100 Km2 per year, which is equivalent to the size of South Korea. Additionally, 40% of the world’s agricultural fields are at risk. We have been overburdening our soil for thousands of years but with the latest research and good environmental practices we can protect this vital resource required for our society.

In this talk, you will learn why soil is important, what its forms of, how it formed, the issue of soil erosion, and how we can protect our soil for future generations.

All are welcome no matter your age, background or knowledge of science!

Registration Link: https://eu.eventscloud.com/ereg/index.php?eventid=200234164&

Additional Information link: https://www.sebiology.org/events/event/the-importance-of-soil-and-how-life-on-earth-depends-on-it

Speaker Name: Dr Andrew Galloway (Research Coordinator at the University of Oxford)

Speaker Bio: Dr Andrew Galloway, Research Coordinator for the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging at the University of Oxford, specialises in the plant-soil interface. During his PhD and postdocs positions at various institutes, his research has uncovered how plant roots can strengthen soil contact through releasing complex sugars (polysaccharides). This may not seem interesting at first but if roots can secure their contact with soil, they can keep extracting water during periods of droughts. Through the release of these polysaccharides, plants can entice fungi and can compete with other plants for space. On a larger scale, these molecules are responsible for helping to promote soil structure (as well as roots/fungi), thus preventing soil erosion.

He regularly posts interesting articles, facts and husbandry guidance on growing houseplants on his blog and Instagram account, so make sure to check those out!


14:00 - 15:00
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