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ISMC News Jan 30 2024

Announcements + Featured Paper + Featured Soil Modeller


4th ISMC Conference
The registration for the 4th ISMC Conference “Advances in Modeling Soil Systems, Earth System Science, and Beyond” from May 7-10, 2024 at Tianjin, China is now open. 
Important dates
Submission Deadline for Abstracts: February 16, 2024 (Friday)
Notification of Oral and Poster Presentation Assignments: February 29, 2024 (Thursday)
The Online Registration Deadline: April 30, 2024 (Monday)
Conference information, abstract submission and registration can be found here

24th CMWR Conference

The registration for the 25th Computational Methods in Water Resources (CMWR) Conference from 30th September to 3rd October 2024 at Tucson Arizona will open 12, 2024. More information can be found here

Nomination for ISMC Publication Award 2024 still open
Nominations for the ISMC publication award 2024 is still open and information can be found here. Nomination can be done via the online form.
Featured Paper
Do you want your paper featured?
Please share your recent paper if you want to be featured in the ISMC newsletter. With your contributions, we will select one paper to be featured in every newsletter. Submission can be done here.
Microbial carbon use efficiency promotes global soil carbon storage
Soils store more carbon than other terrestrial ecosystems. How soil organic carbon (SOC) forms and persists remains uncertain, which makes it challenging to understand how it will respond to climatic change. It has been suggested that soil microorganisms play an important role in SOC formation, preservation and loss. Although microorganisms affect the accumulation and loss of soil organic matter through many pathways, microbial carbon use efficiency (CUE) is an integrative metric that can capture the balance of these processes. Although CUE has the potential to act as a predictor of variation in SOC storage, the role of CUE in SOC persistence remains unresolved. Here we examine the relationship between CUE and the preservation of SOC, and interactions with climate, vegetation and edaphic properties, using a combination of global-scale datasets, a microbial-process explicit model, data assimilation, deep learning and meta-analysis. We find that CUE is at least four times as important as other evaluated factors, such as carbon input, decomposition or vertical transport, in determining SOC storage and its spatial variation across the globe. In addition, CUE shows a positive correlation with SOC content. Our findings point to microbial CUE as a major determinant of global SOC storage. Understanding the microbial processes underlying CUE and their environmental dependence may help the prediction of SOC feedback to a changing climate.
For further reading:
Featured Soil Modeller
Paolo Nasta
Modeling water flow and solute transport in the groundwater-soil-plant-atmosphere continuum
 Paolo Nasta is Associate Professor of soil hydrology at the University of Napoli (Department of Agricultural Sciences) in Italy. He studied Forestry and Environmental Sciences at the University of Torino and got his PhD in soil physics at the University of Napoli. Prior to his current appointment he was post-doc fellow at UC-Davis (California) and at the University of Lincoln Nebraska in US. He is interested in modeling water flow and solute transport by relying on data collected in the field.
Please tell us briefly about yourself and your research interest
 I work in a research team in the “open-air laboratory” located in the Upper Alento River Catchment in southern Italy ( Our research approach is based on integrating different measurement techniques and monitoring activities (wireless sensor networks, Cosmic Ray Neutron Sensors, remote sensing, geophysical measurements, isotope campaigns, spectral analysis) to characterize the groundwater-soil-plant-atmosphere continuum across different spatial scales. My expertise is in applying process-oriented hydrological models across different spatial scales (Hydrus-1D/2D, HydroGeoSphere, or SWAT).

How did you first become interested in soil modelling and learn about ISMC?
During my PhD I learnt to use Hydrus-1D to simulate soil water dynamics, preferential flow and solute transport (isotope, nitrate, pesticides) in multilayered soil profiles. I had the chance to enhance my skills during my short visit at the University of Riverside and Davis (California) within a collaboration with the group of Jirka Šimůnek and Jan Hopmans. I was invited to attend a ISMC meeting at EGU 2018 where I got the chance to discuss about soil modelling with lots of experts.  Since then, I have kept in touch and collaborated with some researchers in different science panels through ISMC.

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
 My current work focuses on the development of dynamic vulnerability and resilience indicators to evaluate the ecosystem’s response to adverse environmental conditions induced by human disturbances. For instance, plant reliance on past rainfall is important in season-dry climates and even in humid climates punctuated by drought. Knowledge of the temporal origin of water used by plants helps understand the impact of drought on plant resilience. In a recent paper published in Hydrological Processes we shared two Matlab scripts to help scientists implement isotope transport simulations in Hydrus-1D to estimate root water uptake transit time distributions.

Please tell us how can ISMC help you advance in your career?
 ISMC involves a large community of soil modelers and offers a great chance to connect with early career scientists who carry out practical research. The involvement in ISMC gives the chance to extend my research network and activate new collaborations and for this reason I am going to attend the 4th ISMC Conference in Tianjin (China) May 7-10, 2024

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?
Integrating fieldwork, laboratory measurements and soil modelling is the key to gain deep understanding of hydrological processes across different spatial scales. ISMC helps organize summer schools with hands-on training from highly-qualified instructors. ISMC supports open science practices and open-source software.
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