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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Aditi Sengupta's Doctoral Scholarly Seminar

Dec 4, 2014, 2:00pm - 3:00pm

PhD Candidate, Aditi Sengupta, will present her Doctoral Scholarly Seminar on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 2:00 p.m. in 123 Williams Hall with a video link to 333C Kottman Hall. Her presentation will be Soil Microbial Diversity: Past, Present and Future.

Soil serves as a complex ecosystem in our biosphere. They maintain biogeochemical nutrient cycles and ensure proper functioning of our dynamic ecosystem. The ability of soil to provide ecosystem services is dependent on microbial diversity, with 80-90% of the processes in soil being mediated by microbes. Complex functionalities and ecological services that soils provide, including soil structure maintenance, organic matter decomposition, nitrogen fixation, breakdown of toxic compounds, and inorganic compound transformations, are mediated by soil microbes.

Studies have reported about 10000 different bacterial species per gram of soil to a predicted 107 microbial species with the advent of current DNA sequencing technologies. Of-course these numbers are debatable and continuously being modified.  The sheer functionalities associated with soil microbes present a challenge as well as an opportunity to study soil microbial diversity. Determining microbial diversity in soils has indeed been a journey over the years. My presentation will focus on this journey with brief overviews on the past trends, current methodologies and future directions. In this seminar, I aim to introduce microbial diversity studies as an additional tool to study the ecosystem services provided by soil.