It is a well-known fact that soil is the main component of a terrestrial ecosystem, the balanced functioning of which largely depends on the soil microbiome. Today, in the urban environment, there is an unprecedented anthropogenic impact on the soil, its microbiome and the ecosystem as a whole, which can lead to disruption of their functioning. Researchers from all countries are trying to develop knowledge about the peculiarities of the functioning of the soil microbiome in urban conditions, in particular by studying its various microbial indicators. However, there is no answer to the question of which microbial indicators can most informatively reflect the functioning of urban soils and be useful in planning and improving urban areas.
Studying urban soils and green infrastructure: the fifth 3MUGIS-2021 summer school took place online
From July 26 to August 2, 2021, the 5th International Summer School 3MUGIS (Monitoring, Modeling and Managing Urban Soils and Green Infrastructure) was held within the Department of Landscape Design and Sustainable Ecosystems Smart Urban Nature Laboratory of the RUDN University. The school was organized with the support of the Russian Science Foundation and under the umbrella of the International Union of Soil Scientists, RUDN University and the Institute of Urban Soils of New York in collaboration with universities, scientific organizations and research groups from around the world. The partners of the school were Brooklyn College (USA), Kola Science Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Southern Federal University and many others. Importantly, all the organizers and partners of 3MUGIS are united by the desire to exchange knowledge, ideas and experience at the international level.
The team of scientists of SUN Lab (RUDN University) in collaboration with scholars from Moscow State University and Southern Federal University got their article “Projecting the urbanization effect on soil organic carbon stocks in polar and steppe areas of European Russia by remote sensing” published in Geoderma, the global journal of Soil Science. The research was supported by a grant from the Russian Science Foundation (RSF).
With the help of satellite images and archival data, our scholars have established the mechanisms of the impact of urbanization on the state of soils in the forest-tundra and steppe zones. Previously, it was commonly believed that covering the soil with asphalt, concrete and other impermeable materials leads to an overall decrease in carbon stocks in soils of urban areas. But it was revealed that in Murmansk and Rostov-on-Don, the total carbon stocks in a meter layer of the earth have significantly increased due to the development of urban green infrastructure.
In May 2021, SUN lab team’s scientific merit fund was replenished with an article “Gypsum soil amendment in metal-polluted soils — an added environmental hazard” which was published in the Chemosphere journal (SJR Q1). The authors team was represented by the Head of Agrarian Technological Institute (RUDN University) E.A. Dovletyarova, associate researchers Brykova R.A. and Losev A.I., postgraduate student Dubrovina T.A. in collaboration with Neaman A.A., professor of Institute of Agrarian Engineering at Southern University of Chili.
In February 2021, a collaboration of Chilean and russian scientists represented by Elvira Dovletyarova, the Head of Agrarian Technological Institute (RUDN University) and Alexandr Neaman, professor of Institute of Agrarian Engineering at Southern University of Chili got their joint scientific article published in the highly rated Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition (SJR Q1). The research was supported by the RUDN University Strategic Academic Leadership Program and the FONDECYT international project.
The biological component of microparticles in big cities: SUN Lab is developing research on improving air quality in urban conditions
Airborne fine dust particles (FD) are recognized as one of the most harmful pollutants to human health. The size of fine dust determines their ability to penetrate the human body, and particles less than 10 microns in size are recognized as the most dangerous. At the same time, the causes of FD toxicity are still insufficiently studied. For example, the relationship between mortality from COVID-19 and the concentration of FD in the air was shown. However, it is still not clear whether fine dust is a direct vector carrier of the virus or only exacerbates the susceptibility of the human body to the virus.
By Dr. Diana Dushkova and Prof. Maria Ignatieva
On December 17, an online webinar of the LAWN 2020 project partners was organized by Dr. Diana Dushkova, Helmholtz Center for environmental research – UFZ Leipzig, Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology; Geography Department of Humboldt University Berlin, Germany and Prof. Dr. Maria Ignatieva, School of Design, University of Western Australia.
Yakov Kuzyakov, a well-known soil scientist, a leading scientist at the Agricultural and Technological Institute in RUDN University (Russia) and a professor at King Saud University (Saudi Arabia), was awarded the title of highly cited researcher in the field of agricultural sciences (by Clarivate™).
The Highly Cited Researchers list includes scientists with the highest number of articles in the top 1% cited Web of Science citation in a particular field in the past year. In the field of Agricultural Sciences, 111 researchers have been awarded this title. And Yakov Kuzyakov turned out to be the only one scientist from a Russian university.
Experts of the Smart Urban Nature laboratory Vyacheslav Vasenev and Maria Korneikova made presentations in two different sessions of the 5th Annual Urban Soil Symposium “Soils: The Living Fabric of Health, 2020”. The event was organized by the Institute of Urban Soils of New York, RUDN University and TreePeople. Traditionally, the symposium is held in New York (USA) on the basis of the Institute of Urban Soils, but this year, amid the pandemic, the event took the format of a virtual meeting using a number of interactive video conferencing platforms.
SUN Lab in cooperation with Landscape Engineering Guild assessed ecosystem services for a new residential complex in Moscow
Smart Urban Nature lab together with the Landscape Engineering Guild, has implemented a project to assess ecosystem services for one of Moscow’s residential complexes.
Moscow architectural bureau UTRO, whose specialists developed the concept of improvement for the residential complex “Metropolia”, strove for a reasonable balance between the purpose of the object, the needs of people and the environment. Thus, the main goal in developing the concept was to bring nature to the city center to create a comfortable living environment. With the proximity of major roads, the impact of the urban heat island, and the increasing number of extreme weather events associated with climate change, the regulatory functions of green infrastructure seem to be the most significant.