Graduate Exit Seminar via Zoom - Tvisha Martin

Plan to join via Zoom Tvisha Martin's graduate exit seminar on April 7, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. Tvisha will present, "Quantifying Rhizosphere Dynamics: Implications for improved soil health in systems of varying tillage intensity and crop rotational diversity."


Fine root production and soil food webs are known to substantially influence nutrient cycling in row-crop agriculture. However, less is known regarding how these belowground dynamics shape key soil health indicators that serve as early indicators of soil carbon stabilization and nitrogen accumulation. Moreover, there is limited knowledge regarding how different management practices alter fine root dynamics and soil food web structure and function over the course of a growing season. In this thesis, fine root traits, soil health indicators, and nematode communities were measured in systems of varying tillage intensity and rotational diversity. Results indicate that systems with greater crop rotational diversity and less disturbance increased fine root nitrogen, which in turn, improved soil health. Additionally, nematode community analyses revealed that soil food web structure and function were improved in systems with less disturbance and longer rotations. These findings demonstrate that incorporating perennials into row-crop agriculture is key to more stable food webs and enhanced soil health. Overall, this thesis highlights the importance of linking rhizosphere dynamics to soil health indicators when working to better understand the overall sustainability of row-crop agriculture.

Advisor: Dr. Christine Sprunger