The conference theme, “Soil Organic Matter in a Stressed World” has the dual objectives of better understanding and quantifying the functions that SOM sustains in both natural and managed systems, and understanding the stressors that impact on both its stability, and its ability to continue to deliver these key ecosystem functions.

Ecological significance and function of SOM

SOM performs many ecosystem services in both natural and managed systems, yet mechanisms involved in its interaction with other biophysical processes such as nutrient cycling, water retention, structural stability remain difficult to fully elucidate. This session provides a forum in which research addressing these underlying questions, and the impacts they have on broader ecosystem processes can be presented.

Impacts of climate change and land use on SOM

Climate change may impact SOM directly through changed temperature and moisture regimes, and indirectly through changed vegetation assemblages or land management practices. This session aims to draw together new research on how SOM responds to these impacts, with a particular focus on potential tipping points where resistance to change may be overwhelmed.

Impacts of fire and ecosystem restoration through SOM recovery

Remediation and restoration practices can often focus on the role of SOM in the success of these activities. An increasingly common phenomenon of wildfire also impacts on SOM content and chemistry. This session presents an opportunity to share research that demonstrates the role that SOM plays in successful land remediation and restoration, and to understand the impacts of fire on SOM

C sequestration – opportunities, costs, trade-offs

Soils are increasingly being looked to as a potentially important tool in our efforts to offset emissions and reduce our impacts on the global climate. However, such a concept is hotly contested. Here, the latest research assessing the opportunities and impacts of such strategies will be discussed.

Going downunder: Deep SOM dynamics

Possibly seen as the last frontier, SOM in subsoils is far less studied than its surface counterparts. Here, we seek presentations that highlight recent advances in this area and which draw parallels with and highlight differences between processes in surface soils.

The living part of SOM – microbes, microfauna, mesofauna, macrofauna

Soils are the most complex ecosystem on the planet, and the biological component of them is hugely influential on SOM processes. Presentations are invited which describe the latest research in the field of soil biology and its interactions with SOM.

SOM, modelling, and data science

Simulation models describing SOM dynamics have been around for decades, and perform roles at levels ranging from the molecular and microbial scale through to global carbon accounts and climate predictions. Recent advances in computing capacity, data availability, and our understanding of biophyiscal processes have led to huge leaps forward in our capability to model across scales. Here, we provide opportunity for recent advances in modelling and data sciences associated with SOM research to be presented.

Organic resource management: the role of recycled “wastes”

As organic resource recovery and cycling increase across the globe, organic “wastes” such as biosolids, composts and digestates are increasingly being applied to soils. Here, we discuss the challenges and opportunities such resource streams pose, and how their interactions with soil differ from those of SOM.

The economic and social value of SOM and the UN SDGs

The fact that SOM delivers multiple ecosystem services is well known. However, there remains a dearth of quantitative information on the value of these services to land managers, agriculture, and broader society, necessary in order to implement the UN SDGs. This session aims to draw together information that elucidates the short- and long-term value of SOM, and the impacts of building or losing this resource on society’s ability to meet the requirements of the SDGs.

Stoichiometry – Does it matter?

Elemental stoichiometry has been a centrepiece of ecological theory for over 80 years, and forms a central part of many studies into SOM and the models that describe them. Here, we invite talks that explicitly explore relationships between nutrients and SOM processes.

Transport of SOM through landscapes

Desposition and loss of SOM through erosion and leaching processes can have significant impacts at the local, landscape, and global scale. Here, we seek presentations detailing the latest research into the movement of SOM at any or all of these scales.

Rapid and high resolution techniques

Over the past decades, the capabilities of instrumentation has increased rapidly both in resolution and throughput. Here we explore the opportunities and discoveries made possible as a result of rapid spectral techniques backed by modern chemometric approaches, and the new discoveries made possible through the application of high-resolution mass spectrometry, synchrotron, and other cutting edge techniques

Blue carbon

SOM doesn’t stop at the water’s edge. This session aims to showcase the latest research into the form, function, and impacts of management on SOM in aquatic and marine sediments


7th International Symposium
Soil Organic Matter

6 – 11 October 2019

Hilton Adelaide

Adelaide, South Australia


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