Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research New Innovator Award

The Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR) supports the MSU Soil Biology Lab through a New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award to Dr. Tiemann. The FFAR intends to support and promote the future generation of exceptionally talented and creative new faculty who are conducting critical research and establishing research programs that will lead to expanded availability of food and facilitate the global practice of sustainable agriculture as the world’s population grows to more than 9 billion people by the year 2050. With this award, FFAR seeks to promote career advancement of highly creative and promising new scientists who intend to make a long-term career commitment to research in food and agriculture and bring innovative, ground-breaking research initiatives and thinking to bear on problems facing food and agriculture.

Research Summary:

Crop rotations have been used to increase crop productivity for centuries, but we still know very little about how rotational diversity impacts soil microorganisms and the belowground processes they mediate. Mechanistic insights into belowground responses to crop diversity are needed to understand how global reductions in plant diversity are influencing important soil functions. Increases in crop diversity can alter the quantity, quality and diversity of plant organic matter inputs to soil, which has been linked with enhanced soil biodiversity, soil nutrient status, microbial biomass and soil organic matter. Complicating the goal of understanding how rotational diversity impacts belowground processes is the scarcity of studies that assess microbial activities between fall harvest and spring planting when a confluence of residue inputs and high soil moisture and nutrient availability lead to an extremely dynamic and active time in soils. My research focus on the interactions between crop diversity, soil microorganisms and soil organic matter, and how they may be managed to enhance soil services, will help us find ways to sustainably increase crop yields. Building soil biodiversity and soil organic matter are critical for transforming soil health, which is the keystone for building sustainable agricultural systems that are resilient to climate change perturbations and provide the suite of services crucial for human food security.

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