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Mary Lusk to give Leo M. Walsh Distinguished Lecture in Soil Science – Apr. 10

The Department of Soil Science is pleased to announce the Leo M. Walsh Distinguished Lecture in Soil Science on Wednesday, April 10, at 3:30 p.m. in Soils Building room 357. A reception will follow from 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. 

Mary Lusk, assistant professor at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, will present a lecture entitled “Altered Soils and Zombie Ponds: Reflections on a Career in Urban Soil and Water Management.” 

Abstract: By 2050, more than two-thirds of earth’s population will live in urban areas. Much of how we move forward sustainably in our future urbanized world will depend on how we manage urban soil and water resources. Meeting this goal requires us to investigate the ways we alter the landscape in our cities and settlements. This presentation highlights our lab’s recent research endeavors to understand urban soil and water, with an emphasis on biogeochemical cycling of nutrients. We’ll show how human activities like moving, rearranging, sealing, polluting, and adding materials to urban soils alter their ecological functions. We’ll show how we use tools such as drones and chemical finger-printing to infer processes and outcomes of urban biogeochemical cycles. We’ll discuss how access to clean soil and water in cities is not equitably distributed even in a developed country such as the US, with a Tampa Bay case study of a “zombie pond,” that moves water but does nothing to impart life to the minority community it is part of. And we’ll talk about resilience to climate change and what can happen when soils in cities are affected by flooding and sea level rise and wastewater applications. 

Made available by the generosity of Leo M. Walsh and the Leo M. Walsh Distinguished Lecture in Soil Science Fund