Dr. Diana H. Wall, Scientific Chair

School of Global Environmental Sustainability - Colorado State University, USA

Dr. Diana Wall, University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University, was appointed as the Founding Director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability in 2008. A professor in the Department of Biology and Senior Scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Diana is responsible for helping faculty and students contribute to progress towards a sustainable future.

Her research explores how life in soil (microbial and invertebrate diversity) contributes to healthy, fertile and productive soils and thus to society, and the consequences of human activities on soil globally. Her research on soil biota, particularly soil nematodes, extends from agroecosystems to Antarctica. Diana has spent more than 25 seasons in the Antarctic Dry Valleys examining how global changes impact soil biodiversity, ecosystem processes and ecosystem services.

Diana served as President of the Ecological Society of America, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and the Society of Nematologists. In 2018 she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Diana received the 2017 Eminent Ecologist Award from the Ecological Society of America, the 2016 Honorary Member award from the British Ecological Society, the 2015 Ulysses Medal from University College Dublin, 2013 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the 2012 SCAR President’s Medal for Excellence in Antarctic Research and the 2013 Soil Science Society of America Presidential AwardWall Valley, Antarctica was named in 2004 to recognize her research. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Ecological Society of America and the Society of Nematologists and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Utrecht University, The Netherlands. She received a B.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky, Lexington.

Dr. Carl Wepking, Executive Director

School of Global Environmental Sustainability - Colorado State University, USA

Carl is the Executive Director of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative based out of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability and a post-doctoral fellow in Biology at Colorado State University. He is an ecologist focused soil, soil biota and ecosystems. Specifically, he is interested in how soil biota and soil functions are impacted by human activities. He received his B.S. in Environmental Science from St. Norbert College, his M.S. in Environmental Science from Washington State University, and his Ph.D. in Biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where he was also named an Interfaces of Global Change Fellow within the Global Change Center.


Scientific Advisory Committee

Dr. Fred Ayuke

University of Nairobi, Kenya


Dr. Richard Bardgett

University of Manchester, United Kingdom


Dr. Ciro Gardi

European Food Safety Authority, Italy

Dr. Nobuhiro Kaneko

Yokohama National University, Japan


Dr. Fatima Maria de Souza Moreira

Federal University of Lavras, Minas Gerais, Brazil


Dr. Luca Montanarella

European Commission - Joint Research Centre, Italy

Dr. Johan Six

Group of Sustainable Agroecosystems - ETH Zurich, Switzerland


Dr. Wim van der Putten

Netherlands Institute of Ecology, and Wageningen Center for Soil Ecology, The Netherlands



Dr. Elizabeth Bach

The Nature Conservancy, Nachusa Grasslands, Illinois, United States

Elizabeth Bach was the Executive Director of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative from 2016-2018. She is a soil microbial ecologist interested in exploring how fungal and bacterial communities influence ecosystem functions, specifically carbon and nitrogen cycling. She also investigates interactions between soil microbes and soil structure. Her research focuses on restored grassland systems in central North America. She received her Ph.D. from Iowa State University and M.Sc. from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

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Dr. Tandra Fraser

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Tandra Fraser was the Executive Director of Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative from 2014-2016.  She is a soil molecular biologist interested in the response of soil microbes to anthropogenic-induced changes. Her research has focused on linking soil bacterial communities to metabolic functions for biochemical cycling of phosphorus in agricultural and grassland soils of the Northern Great Plains. Tandra has worked with researchers, community groups and farmers across Canada. After completing a M.Sc. in soil science at the University of Saskatchewan, she spent a year working with farmers in Honduras on a project to improve nutrient management on remote hillside farms. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Guelph in 2015.


Dr. Kelly S. Ramirez

Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Netherlands

Kelly S. Ramirez was the Executive Director of Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative from 2011-2014. A soil microbial ecologist, she combines research interests in global nutrient cycles with molecular and other tools to explore how soil microbes respond to global changes. Her work on anthropogenic nitrogen deposition analyzes impacts on soil microbial communities and ecosystem processes through experimental work and theoretical modeling. Dr. Ramirez was awarded a National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Graduate Research Fellowship, a SLOAN Fellowship and the NSF Alliances for Graduate Education and Professoriate grant. She is a 2012-2013 Global Sustainability Leadership Fellow at Colorado State University. Dr. Ramirez has a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a B.A. in Biology from Washington State University.


Dr. Tom Crowther

Tom Crowther is an assistant professor of global ecosystem ecology at ETH Zurich and the chief scientific advisor to the UN's Trillion Tree Campaign. His lab combines fundamental ecology with real world applications to study and provide management recommendations for soil communities and forest ecosystems. He was a postdoctoral scholar at Yale School or Forest & Environmental Studies and received his PhD from Cardiff University.