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ISMC News 15 March 2022

Summer School 2022 + Featured paper + Featured Soil Modeller
Modeling Water Fluxes in the Soil Plant System
The 1st Summer School on advanced soil physics “Modeling Water Transport in the Soil-Plant System'' will be held at UCLouvain, Belgium, from 22nd to 26th August 2022. This one-week intensive summer school aims at offering participants an overview of physical and biological principles, theory and modelling approaches of the soil-plant hydraulics. A combination of theory and practical sessions will provide participants with the bases to understand and simulate soil-plant water transport. The main topics of the summer school are: 
Understanding and determining root and soil hydraulic properties.
Modeling root water uptake: processes, principles and applications.
Overview of current hydraulic and simplified modelling approaches (R-SWMS, MECHA, CPLANTBOX, MARSHAL, ...) for root water uptake and transpiration flux.
Please check the link here for more information.
Featured Paper 
Soil microbiota as game-changers in restoration of degraded lands
Land degradation reduces soil functioning and, consequently, the services that soil provides. Soil hydrological functions are critical to combat soil degradation and promote soil restoration. Soil microorganisms affect soil hydrology, but the role of soil microbiota in forming and sustaining soil is not well explored. Case studies indicate the potential of soil microorganisms as game-changers in restoring soil functions. We review the state of the art of microorganism use in land restoration technology, the groups of microorganisms with the greatest potential for soil restoration, knowledge of the effect of microorganisms on soil physical properties, and proposed strategies for the long-term restoration of degraded lands. We also emphasize the need to advance the emerging research field of biophysical landscape interactions to support soil-plant ecosystem restoration practices. 
Fig. Land degradation types and examples of beneficial microorganisms acting as remediation agents.
The full paper can be downloaded from this link: 
Featured Soil Modeller 
Model application for agricultural problems
Lutz Weihermüller studied geography at the University Bremen and was student assistant in the soil physical lab at the State Department for Soil Sciences Lower Saxony. In 2001 he received his diploma and stayed for 4 months at the University Duisburg-Essen, Germany in the working group of urban climatology before he moved to the Agrosphere Institute (IBG-3) at the Research Centre Jülich for his PhD. He obtained his PhD in agricultural sciences in 2005 at the University of Bonn, Germany. From 2005 to 2011 he worked as a Postdoc at the Agrosphere Institute and lectured soil physics at the Ruhr-University Bochum, where he received his habilitation in 2017 in soil sciences. Since 2011 he is head of the soil physical laboratories at IBG-3. His main research focus on model applications for water and solute transport, soil carbon turnover, and crop growth. He is also active in field and lab experiments and in geophysical measurements to estimate soil hydraulic parameters.
- Please tell us briefly about yourself and your research interest.
I’m interested in many fields where I can bring in my expertise in soil physics and modelling ranging from pesticide fate to sustainable crop production. I also work on different scales from lab batch experiments, to pedon, field plots, and even farm scale as each scale has its own experimental and modelling challenges. After some years of shipping around in soil sciences and working on ground based remote sensing, carbon turnover, hydrogeophysics, and pesticide fate, I came back to classical soil physics in the last years and now work on soil hydraulic properties and pedotansfer functions.
-  How did you first become interested in soil modelling and learn about ISMC?
I first came in contact with soil modelling during my PhD, where I faced the problem that my field experimental work was impacted by a severe drought, and therefore, data were expected not to be in in due time. Additionally, I quickly learned that modelling can provide me with the possibility to systematically analyze problems and processes, which are hard to analyze and disentangle in field experiments. I came across ISMC even before ISMC was officially launched during a brainstorm meeting at EGU and since then I followed up the ISMC activities.
-Can you share with us your current research focus? And, please tell us briefly how your research could contribute to ISMC Science Panel’s activities
I currently focus (if time allows) on the estimation of soil hydraulic parameters from measured retention and conductivity data and pedotransfer functions. As pedotransfer functions are a hot topic not only in the soil physics community but also in the land-surface modelling (LSM) community I took over the lead of the ISMC pedotransfer function working group launched in early 2020 (see link). The aim of this working group is to bring together scientists from different soil modelling disciplines (soil physics, hydrologists and LSM’s), discuss needs and approaches and identify common roadmaps for future research.  
-Please tell us how can ISMC help you advance in your career?
ISMC and especially the PTF working group provides me with a platform to share my scientific interest and latest research. Especially, the biannual PTF working group meetings helped me to find colleagues working in the same field and being open for co-operation and inspire me for future work. Out of ISMC we already published a hand full of papers and started new joint initiatives.
- What resources or skills would you recommend that early career members of ISMC should acquire? And how can ISMC help and support early career members in this regard?
I would recommend early career members to actively participate in the ISMC panels or working groups as it will connect you to scientists working in different disciplines and at different career levels. ISMC is a perfect place to network, which is fundamental to lean, and therefore, for scientific success. In the PTF working group we also encourage early career members to actively participate in the discussions, present their work and we also invite them in paper drafting. 
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