Welcome to the Soil Biology and Ecology Lab
This web site provides a central hub of information about the MSU Soil Biology lab. In the lab we generally focus on soil microbial ecology and biogeochemistry in agricultural systems across the Great Lakes region and in eastern Africa. Our research explores the dynamic interactions between microbial communities and soil organic matter (SOM) in agricultural soils. Soil organic matter, the foundation of soil fertility, stores the largest fraction of terrestrial organic carbon (C), acts as a nutrient reservoir, and influences soil structure, water holding capacity, pH, and ion exchange capacity. Microbial communities mediate the formation and degradation of SOM, and thus control flows of carbon (C) and nutrients through soils, plants and agroecosystems. We employ novel combinations of biogeochemical assays, stable isotope tracers and molecular methods to elucidate environmental and management controls on residue decomposition, SOM formation and break-down, nitrogen cycling and microbial physiology.
We use principles of agroecology in our research with the objective of helping farmers all over the world develop innovative approaches to agriculture that simultaneously increase productivity, resilience and sustainability.¬†If we are to double worldwide food production in the coming decades, we must find new approaches to optimizing crop productivity. The key to building sustainable, yet more productive agriculture lies in understanding soil biodiversity and the intricate connections between soil microbes and plant growth. Building soil biodiversity and SOM are critical for transforming soil health, which is the keystone for building sustainable agricultural systems that are resilient in the face of climate change and provide the suite of services crucial for human food security.
Video feature highlighting Dr. Tiemann’s work in Uganda.
Send suggestions and comments regarding this webpage to Dr. Lisa Tiemann