Mar 142013

Author: Kelsey Peterson


After visiting Antarctica 42 times, Ph.D. Diana Wall, Colorado State University director for the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, has had a valley in Antarctica named after her. She earned this, along with many other honors, including national recognition from the White House, through studying the soil. Flying out to Antarctica once a year, Wall and her team take samples of soil that they wash and examine under a microscope. What they see are tiny little animals known as roundworms or nematodes. Through observing the nematodes they are able to see what has happened to the population, linking impacts to landscape and global scales. “I think we have to think about it in a bigger issue,” Wall said. “Our cars oil on [the soil] . . . we pave it over for cities and sidewalks and we don’t think that we need food. Soils are important for our food for the future. That top soil is rich and it allows forests to grow, but when we slash and burn forests in the Amazon and we get desertification . . . we’re not taking care of our soils and maintaining them.”

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