Diana H. Wall

Last name: 
GBC Committee Role: 
Executive Committee

A soil ecologist and environmental scientist, Diana Wall is actively engaged in research exploring how life in soil (microbial and invertebrate diversity) contributes to healthy, fertile and productive soils and thus to society, and the consequences of human activities on soil globally. Her research on soil biota, particularly soil nematodes, extends from agroecosystems to arid ecosystems. Diana has spent more than 25 seasons in the Antarctic Dry Valleys examining how global changes impact soil biodiversity, ecosystem processes and ecosystem services. She currently serves as Science Chair for the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative. She has also served as President of the Ecological Society of America, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and the Society of Nematologists. She is a recipient of many awards recognizing her research including the 2015 Ulysses Medal from the University College Dublin, the 2013 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the SCAR President’s Medal for Excellence in Antarctic Research and the Soil Science Society of America Presidential Award. Wall Valley, Antarctica was named in 2004 to recognize her research contributions.  She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Ecological Society and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Utrecht University, The Netherlands. She received a B.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky, Lexington.

CSU University Distinguished Professor
970 491-2504
Research Projects: 
Project Title: 
McMurdo Dry Valleys Long-Term Ecological Research Program
Project Location: 
Project Location Coordinates: 
-77.4841, 160.873
Project Location Details: 
McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica
Study Species: 
Soil Invertebrates
Project Citations: 

Lyons, W B, K Deuerling, K A Welch, S A Welch, G Michalski, W W Walters, U Nielsen, D H Wall, I Hogg, and B J Adams. “The Soil Geochemistry in the Beardmore Glacier Region, Antarctica: Implications for Terrestrial Ecosystem History.” Nature Scientific Reports, May 7, 2016, 1–8. dos:10.1038/srep26189.

Knox, M.A., D.H. Wall, R.A. Virginia, M.L. Vandegehuchte, I. San Gil and B. J. Adams. 2015. Impact of diurnal freeze-thaw cycles on the soil nematode Scottnema lindsayae in Taylor Valley, Antarctica. Polar Biology.DOI 10.1007/s00300-015-1809-6

Nielsen, U.N. and D.H. Wall. 2013. The future of soil invertebrate communities in Polar Regions: different climate change responses in the Arctic and Antarctic, Ecology Letters. doi: 10.1111/ele.12058

Nielsen, U.N., D.H. Wall, B.J. Adams, R.A. Virginia, B.A. Ball, M.N. Gooseff and D.M. McKnight. 2012. The ecology of pulse events: insights from an extreme climatic event in a polar desert ecosystem. Ecosphere. 3(2) 17

Ayres, E., J.N. Nkem, D.H. Wall, B.J. Adams, J.E. Barrett, E.J. Broos, A.N. Parsons, L.E. Powers, B.L. Simmons and R.A. Virginia. 2008. Effects of human trampling on populations of soil fauna in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Conservation Biology 22:1544-1551

Barrett, J.E., R.A. Virginia, D.H. Wall, and B.J. Adams. 2008. Decline of a dominant invertebrate species contributes to altered carbon cycling in low diversity soil ecosystem. Global Change Biology 14:1734-1744

Barrett, J.E., R.A. Virginia, D.H. Wall, P.T. Doran, A.G. Fountain, K.A. Welch and W.B. Lyons. 2008. Persistent effects of a discrete warming event on a polar desert ecosystem. Global Change Biology 14:2249-2261. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01641.x

Wall, D.H. 2007. Global Change tipping points: Above- and below-ground biotic interactions in a low diversity ecosystem. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Biological Sciences, 362:2291-2306. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2006.1950

Adams, B.J., D.H. Wall, U. Gozel and I.D. Hogg. 2006. The southernmost worm, Scottnema lindsayae (Nematoda): diversity, dispersal and ecological stability. Polar Biology. doi: 10.1007/s00300- 006-0241-3

Project Description: 
In the Antarctic Dry Valleys, climate warming may result in an increase of warm summers that may lead to transient pulse events of high summer melt-flows. The Wall lab’s research examines contemporary patterns in ecological connectivity across the valleys such as the distribution, abundance and demographics of soil invertebrate species in response to changing environmental conditions. The McMurdo Dry Valleys Long-Term Ecological Research Program is an inter- and multidisciplinary study. MCM joined the National Science Foundation’s LTER Network in 1993 and is funded through the Office of Polar Programs, and studies both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
Project Title: 
Water Availability Controls on Above-Belowground Productivity Partitioning: Herbivory versus Plant Response
Project Location: 
United States
Project Location Coordinates: 
39.10709, -96.60915
Project Location Details: 
Tall Grass Prairie, Konza, Kansas; desert grassland of Jornada, New Mexico; and Shortgrass Steppe, Colorado
Study Species: 
Project Description: 
Net primary productivity is the sum of aboveground net primary production (ANPP; e.g., leaves) and the less frequently studied belowground net primary productivity (BNPP; e.g., roots). Understanding of BNPP is a key process in terrestrial ecosystem functioning because in most water-limited ecosystems, BNPP accounts for a larger flow of carbon than ANPP. Ecological interactions are also likely to play a role in BNPP since plant roots are consumed by animals such as herbivorous nematodes, which are in turn preyed upon by predatory nematodes. The objective of this study is to explain the differential effects of changes in water availability on BNPP and the ecological mechanisms behind those patterns.