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Antarctic soil researcher awarded prestigious 2013 Tyler Environmental Prize

Los Angeles, CA (March 17, 2013) The Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement today named Diana H. Wall, PhD, of Colorado State University the recipient of the 2013 Tyler Prize for her research documenting and exploring the complex and fragile soil ecosystem. Her research extending from more than 20 years in Antarctica's deserts, to the plains of Kansas and New York City's Central Park has explored the dynamics of species like nematodes, small worm-like organisms, living in the soil and their impact on life above ground. Wall's work in the Antarctic continues to demonstrate the critical links between climate change and soil.

Wall's research has shown that changes in climate can fundamentally alter the ecology of soil life. This, in turn, changes the way that soil is able to transfer and store carbon from sources such as plant roots and decaying organic matter. When soil holds more organic carbon, less carbon dioxide, a driver of climate change is released into the atmosphere. This cycle of plant uptake and breakdown of carbon impacts the rate of climate change.

"I hope winning the Tyler Prize helps bring awareness that soil is more than dirt that feeds our crops, it also plays a major role in storing carbon globally," said Wall, a University Distinguished Professor, Professor of Biology, and Director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability. "We've learned that there is an astonishing amount of life hidden underground that is critical to sustaining our planet. It is an amazing honor to receive this prestigious award and have the research results generated by my lab, students and collaborators, recognized in this way."

Since its inception 40 years ago as one of the world's first international environmental awards, the Tyler Prize has been the premier award for environmental science, environmental health and energy.

"Just as we came to understand the importance of preserving our oceans and air, Diana Wall

Contact: Nick Seaver
Burness Communications

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