Sustainably producing enough food for the world's growing population is one of this century’s defining challenges. Innovative solutions are needed to increase productivity without further degrading agricultural lands or adversely affecting local and global ecosystems.
One promising avenue lies in understanding and managing the soil microbiome, which collectively provides critical ecosystem services that underpin both productivity and sustainability. Management practices that alter the soil environment also alter the soil microbiome. The sensitivity of these microbiomes to their environment provides scope for tactical management, but before this can occur we need to advance our fundamental understanding of what organisms are present and active in different systems.
This talk will provide specific examples of how integrated molecular microbiological approaches, including sequencing and quantitative PCR, are being used to shed insight into microbial functioning in Ontario agricultural soils. This integrated approach will help address the challenge of linking agricultural practice change to both productivity gains and beneficial ecosystem outcomes.