Advancing soil health assessments for enhanced agronomic performance and ecological function
Soil health has received heightened interest because of its association with long-term agricultural sustainability and ecological benefits including soil carbon (C) accumulation. Guiding principles on how to best manage for improved soil health include i) reduced soil disturbance ii) diversifying soil biota with plant diversity iii) living roots throughout the year and iv) year-round ground cover. Yet, important questions remain regarding the mechanisms that control plant-soil-microbe interactions that influence soil health and biogeochemical processes. This seminar will explore three key aspects of soil health: 1) Soil biological health responses to management both on-farm and on-station, 2) The integration of nematodes into the soil health framework, 3) Insights into how soil health and rhizosphere processes are key for climate mitigation and adaptation.
Dr. Christine Sprunger is an Assistant Professor of Soil Science and Rhizosphere Processes within the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University. Her research focuses on the intersection of agriculture and the environment, where she investigates how climate change impacts crop production, nutrient cycling, soil food webs, and rhizosphere dynamics. In addition, much of Sprunger’s work addresses how crop diversity, perenniality, and reduced tillage contribute to important ecosystem services such as soil carbon sequestration and nitrogen use. Dr. Sprunger also conducts interdisciplinary research with social scientists to understand farmer perceptions of soil health, adaptation, and climate.
In August, Dr. Sprunger and her lab will be heading to Michigan State University and the Kellogg Biological Station, where they will continue researching soil health in the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences. Dr. Sprunger is thrilled to start a new assistant professorship in soil health!