About the 2012 Mines Medal Recipient
Diana Harrison Wall, Ph.D. —
has been named the 2012 recipient of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology's prestigious Mines Medal. A soil ecologist and environmental scientist, Wall is University Distinguished Professor and Director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University. She is co-investigator for the National Science Foundation McMurdo Dry Valley Long Term Ecological Research site and a principal investigator for a Winslow Foundation grant in sub-Saharan Africa. She has been a member of the Colorado State faculty since 1993.
Wall is one of the world's leading experts in microbial and invertebrate diversity and the links between biodiversity and ecosystem survival. Her research covers highly diverse sites ranging from the Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research site in Colorado to Tanzania in sub-Saharan Africa and the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica. She has led 25 expeditions to the Dry Valley region to conduct research focusing on how climate change affects ecosystem processes regulated by the dominant terrestrial animals, small microscopic invertebrates, or nematodes. For her research contributions, Wall Valley, Antarctica, was designated in 2005.
Among her honors, Wall has received the 2012 Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research President's Medal for Excellence in Antarctic Research, the Soil Ecology Society Professional Achievement Award, and was selected by the British Ecological Society in 2011 as the prestigious Tansley Lecturer. She is a member of several committees, including the U.S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel; the McMurdo Area Users' Committee; the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Working Group on Biodiversity Preservation and Ecosystem Sustainability; the NRC Committee on Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean; U.S. National Commission of UNESCO; and is a founding member of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative.
Wall holds an honorary doctorate from Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and is a fellow of the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Society of Nematology. She was elected president of the Ecological Society of America, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Intersociety Consortium for Plant Protection, the Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, and the Society of Nematologists. She also chaired the Council of Scientific Society Presidents.
She has published numerous refereed papers and edited four books, including Microbial Ecology in Sustainable Agroecosystems (2012), Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services (2012), and Sustaining Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Soils and Sediments (2004). Her work has appeared in Applied Soil Ecology; Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research; Biology and Fertility of Soils; BioScience; Ecology; Ecological Monographs; Ecosystems; Global Change Biology; Journal of Nematology; Oecologia; Nematropica; Pedobiologia; Polar Biology; Soil Biology and Biochemistry; and Science. Her research has been featured in The New York Times, National Geographic magazine, and PBS TV shows such as Horizons and Discovery.