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The Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) was launched in September 2011 and is open to all those interested in developing a coherent platform for promoting the translation of expert knowledge on soil biodiversity into environmental policy and sustainable land management for the protection and enhancement of ecosystem services. 

The Secretariat for the GSBI is housed at Colorado State University in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability. 


Dr. Diana H. WallScientific Chair

School of Global Environmental Sustainability - Colorado State University, USA
A soil ecologist and environmental scientist, Dr. Wall is actively engaged in global research to sustain soils and has spent more than 20 seasons in the Antarctic McMurdo Dry Valleys examining how global changes impact soil biodiversity, ecosystem processes and ecosystem services. She is Director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, is a University Distinguished Professor , Professor of Biology and a Senior Research Scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory. She was honored by The British Ecological Society as the 2011 Tansley Lecturer and Wall Valley, Antarctica was designated in recognition of her research contributions. Dr. Wall is a National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, has an Honorary Doctorate from Utrecht University, The Netherlands and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She served as member of the US Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel (2012), the US Commission of UNESCO and was co-lead author of the Millennium Development Goals Committee Chapter of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. She is a Board Member of the World Resources Institute and Island Press, and has served as President of the Ecological Society of America, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, Chair, Council of Scientific Society Presidents and other scientific societies. Her edited books include two on sustaining soil biodiversity and ecosystem services. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky, Lexington.


Dr. Elizabeth Bach, Executive Director

School of Global Environmental Sustainability - Colorado State University, USA

Elizabeth Bach is the Executive Director of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative based at the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University.  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.


Dr. Loren B. Byrne, PhD, Education Program Coordinator

Department of Biology, Marine Biology and Environmental Science – Roger Williams University, USA

Dr. Loren Byrne is a soil ecologist and environmental educator with a passion for helping others learn about the wonders of soil biodiversity. He currently teaches a wide range of ecology, environmental and sustainability studies courses (including soil ecology) as an associate professor at Roger Williams University, a primarily undergraduate institution in Bristol, RI. After first studying soil organisms for a research project at Hiram College in OH (from where he earned his B.A.), he completed his Ph.D. at Penn State University by investigating the effects of urban land covers on soil physicochemical properties, arthropods, earthworms and C and N cycling. He also studied collembola and mite taxonomy and identification with Dr. Kenneth Christianson (Grinnell College, IA) and at the Ohio State Summer Acarology Course, respectively. He has served as Secretary of the Soil Ecology Section of the Ecological Society of America and as a Member-at-Large on the board of the Soil Ecology Society for whose meetings he has organized four education workshops. For the GSBI, he organized the education session at the Dijon meeting in 2014. Dr. Byrne has focused some of his research efforts on innovative teaching methods and continually develops new classroom learning activities. He has edited a volume entitled “Learner-centered Teaching Activities for Environmental and Sustainability Studies” that will be published by Springer. He currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education and the Urban Ecology section of the online journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 


Past Contributors:


Dr. Tandra FraserExecutive Director

University of Reading, United Kingdom


Tandra Fraser was the Executive Director of Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative based at the School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) at Colorado State University 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. RamirezExecutive Director

Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Netherlands

Dr. Kelly S. Ramirez was the Executive Director of Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (a SoGES powered program) 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.


Torie HawnProject Coordinator for the GSBI

School of Global Environmental Sustainability - Colorado State University, USA 
Torie Hawn is a third-year Journalism and Technical Communications (JTC) Major and a Global Environmental Sustainability (GES) Minor at Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, Colorado.  In addition to her education and working with the GSBI, Hawn works as a public relations intern for the CSU EcoCAR3 Project and a communications manager for the Colorado State branch of the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC).  When she graduates, Hawn plans to use her GES minor in combination with her JTC major to spread awareness and provide solutions for the many environmental sustainability issues that the world faces.

Barbara Fricks, MS, Project Director

School of Global Environmental Sustainability - Colorado State University, USA

Barbara is a PhD candidate at Colorado State University (CSU), and worked as the Project Director for GSBI from 2012-2013.  She comes to CSU from Washington DC, where she spent a year working as the science policy intern for the Soil Science Society of America and a year as a environmental analyst with the government after earing her M.S. in Soil Science from Pennsylvania State University in 2007.  She started at CSU in fall 2009 and has been studying the ecological mechanisms affecting decomposition of switchgrass.  She is particularly interested in linking biodiversity of microbial communities to protein production in different ecosystems.