Prof. Richard Bardgett
The University of Manchester
Richard is Professor Ecology at The University of Manchester. His research interests are focussed on understanding how soil biodiversity regulates the functioning of natural and agricultural ecosystems, with a focus on grasslands. More recently, his research on soils and their ecology has been directed at issues such as biodiversity restoration and climate mitigation.
Richard has a long-standing commitment to promoting awareness of the importance of soils and their biodiversity. He was President of the British Ecological Society (2017-2019) and co-founder of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI), and currently serves on the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Science Advisory Council. Richard has published many scientific papers on topics related to soil ecology and plant-soil interactions, and several books, including Earth Matters: How Soil Underlies Civilization (2016), Aboveground-Belowground Linkages (2010) and The Biology of Soil (2005).
Prof. Thomas Crowther
Prof. Thomas Crowther is a Welsh ecologist working at ETH Zurich. His research focuses on soil biodiversity at a global scale, and its links with plant productivity, carbon storage and climate. The goal of this research is to generate a wholisting, scientific understanding of ecological systems to facilitate the conservation and restoration of nature across the globe.
Crowther is the founder of Restor, a science-based open data platform that provides ecological insights, transparency and connectivity to hundreds of thousands of conservation and restoration efforts around the world. In 2021, Restor was named as one of the first finalists for the Royal Foundation’s 2021 Earthshot Prize, and Crowther has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for his work on global nature conservation. He serves as chair of the advisory board of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and chief scientific advisor to the UN’s Trillion Trees Campaign.
Assoc. Prof. Edith Hammer
Edith Hammer is Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer in Microbial Ecology at University of Lund, Sweden, with strong interests in the impact of microstructures and microhabitat conditions on microbial processes, and the mycorrhizal symbiosis. She leads the branch for climate and C-cycle science of the research environment BECC in Sweden. During recent years her group has developed microfluidic model systems called soil chips that allow for in-situ visualization of microbial communities, and their interactions with their microenvironment and each other.
Dr. Lydie-Stella Koutika
Research Centre on Productivity and Sustainability of Industrial Plantations (CRDPI) at Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo
Lydie-Stella Koutika is a soil scientist and acting Director for Research Centre on Productivity and Sustainability of Industrial Plantations (CRDPI) at Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo. She is a graduate of the Timiriazev Institute at Moscow, Russia received her PhD from Université Henri Poincaré, (merged to Université de Lorraine), Nancy, France. She has been fascinated with soil organic matter (carbon and nitrogen) and phosphorus cycling and their interaction with soil biota. She has been a “Research in Brussels” fellow (2003-2004), an International Rothamsted Research fellow, UK (2009-2010), an international TWAS-ENEA fellow (September 2018-May 2019), Italy and a member of ‘The Phosphorus Sustainability Research Coordination, Network (P RCN) University of Arizona.
She is a member of Scientific and Technical Committee (STC) of the ‘4 per 1000’ “Soils for food security and climate Initiative” since 2016 and member of Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) since 2019. She is a laureate of ‘African Union Kwame Nkrumah Regional Scientific Award for Women’ (2014), The World Academy of Science (TWAS) -Al-Kharafi Prize (2018) and Glinka World Soil Prize, FAO GSP (2021). She has published more than 50 peer-reviewed journal papers and some book chapters. She is also a novelist and is strongly dedicated to her catholic faith and to the development of Africa.
Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at LLNL, Adjunct Professor at UC Merced and a member of the UC Berkeley Innovative Genomics Institute
She leads multiple team projects for the US Department of Energy, including the Microbes Persist Soil Microbiome Scientific Focus Area, and the Roads to Removal assessment of carbon dioxide removal options in the USA. Pett-Ridge has received a DOE Early Career award, Secretary of Energy Achievement Award, Geochemical Society Endowed Biogeochemistry Medal, and the DOE Office of Science Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award.
Prof. Liang Yuting
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Liang Yuting, Ph.D, Professor, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences. She works in the field of soil biological C and N transformation and cultivated land conservation. She has focused on the development of the research platform and theory of cultivated land soil biological function and provided the soil biological basis for the cultivation and healthy development of farmland fertility. She is the director of Standardization Committee of Soil Science Society of China, and an editorial board member of Soil Biology & Biochemistry, Geoderma, Soil Ecology Letters, and Acta Pedologica Sinica.
Prof. Don Cowan
University of Pretoria
Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology, University of Pretoria. He is currently the Director of both the Genomics Research Institute and the Centre for Microbial Ecology and Genomics. Don’s research is in the fields of microbial ecology, microbial genomics and applied microbiology, where he and his team use modern ‘omics’ methods to understand the diversity and function of microorganisms in different environments. Much of his research focuses on the microbiology of extreme environments, including hot (Namib) and cold (Antarctic) desert soils, but he also supervises research projects investigating the microbiomics of other environmental systems. He works with many other research laboratories in South Africa and across the world.