Please note that this session was withdrawn and is no longer available in the respective programme.


Paving the way towards a global assessment of soil biodiversity (co-organized with the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI)) (co-sponsored by GSBI) 
Convener: André Franco  | Co-conveners: Stefan Geisen , Lily Pereg 
Soils harbor some of the most diverse biological communities on earth. Soil organisms perform a wide range of functions, from decomposition of organic matter to nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, and ecosystem engineering, protecting soils against erosion. Soil organisms also include many plant, animal and human pathogens and pests and, on the other hand, disease-suppressive organisms, plant growth promoters and probiotics. In recent years, significant progress has been made in our understanding of how individual components of soil biodiversity are spatially distributed on Earth. For example: bacterial distribution, (Delgado-Baquerizo et al., 2018, Science 239:320-325), fungal distribution (Tedersoo et al., 2014, Science 346:1256688) as well as distribution of ants (Gibb et al. 2015, The Global Ants Database and earthworms (sWORM-iDiv - have been studied recently. However, this knowledge is compartmentalized by taxonomic groups and hence a multi-taxon systems view of global soil biodiversity distribution, which is key to foster a better integration of soil biodiversity into global environmental policies, is missing.
This session aims to present recent progress made in global and regional assessments of individual taxa, and to consider how a global assessment of soil biodiversity (all taxa) distribution would benefit society in areas such as crop protection, nutrition, animal and human health, pharmaceutical, climate regulation, soils and biodiversity conservation. The Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) is developing a coherent platform for promoting the translation of expert knowledge on soil biodiversity into environmental policy and sustainable land management for the protection and enhancement of ecosystem services. The session is aimed at scientists who will provide examples of how the global distribution of some taxa has been assessed, and those who will present perspectives of how a global map of soil biodiversity will benefit society in multiple sectors. A follow-up Splinter meeting will be scheduled to bring together presenters, interested attendees, and collaborators contributing to the GSBI, for a post-session discussion on major issues such as homogenization of molecular and morphological identification methods, individual- versus multi-taxon assessments, data storage and analyses, in hopes for recommendations that pave the way towards a global assessment of soil biodiversity that guides global policies.

This session is co-organized with the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI).