Life in the Subsurface
Soil--the earth’s terrestrial skin is teeming with life. It is the largest repository of biodiversity in the biosphere (soil microbial life) and the foundation for the largest stocks of biomass on the planet (forests). The range of ecological services and the biophysical functioning of this terrestrial skin play vital roles in sustaining life on Earth. At longer time scales, the interactions between biological agents and geomorphological processes are far more significant than is commonly acknowledged; vegetation plays a significant role in weathering and the formation of the critical zone, illustrating that soil formation and its evolution are inseparable from biological activity (from earthworms to plant roots and microbial life). This feedback between soil processes and biological activity also underpins sustainable food production, a critical consideration for Earth’s 7 billion residents. This session invites contributions that improve quantitative understanding of mechanisms and processes at the interface between biology and the subsurface (lithology, pedology, hydrology). We seek new insights gained by new models and observations, and we seek to integrate this information across scales. We welcome presentations on biological agents inhabiting the subsurface (from trees to ants to microbes) including experimental and theoretical derivations of past effects of biological interactions with Earth surfaces.
Dani Or, Teamrat Ghezzehei and Michael Young