Biology Professor Edits First Book in Series on Biodiversity

John Dighton, a professor of biology at Rutgers University-Camden and director of the Rutgers Pinelands Field Station, has co-edited the book Interactions in Soil: Promoting Plant Growth (Springer, 2014), the first volume in a new series on biodiversity, community, and ecosystems. Dighton’s co-editor, Jennifer Krumin, earned her doctoral degree from Rutgers-New Brunswick in 2007.

The book includes a collection of articles that explore how biodiversity is translated into ecological functions supporting plant growth by providing both essential minerals for plant growth and other growth promoting factors, like pathogen suppression. The factors are discussed in natural, agricultural, and urban soil systems to provide a framework for a holistic understanding of soil as a dynamic living entity.

“Soil is essential for plant growth,” Dighton says. “There is a lot of information coming out about the importance of biodiversity, so the main focus of this book is how much diversity can you sustain, or how much do you need, to keep plants growing happily, and what happens when you lose it.”

Book themes also include the impact of urbanization on soil conditions.

An expert in forest soil ecology, Dighton has researched nutrient requirements of plantation forests.

For information about the Pinelands Field Station visit marine.rutgers.edu/pinelands.

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