Profiling a Soil Scientist: Dr. Marieta Marin-Bruzos

Welcome to the PRSSS’s interview series ‘Profiling a Soil Scientist’! Our goal with this series is to highlight the work of excellent researchers and professionals that are in the field of Soil Science and to get to know them a little better. With that in mind, Dr. Marieta Marin-Bruzos kindly took time out of her busy schedule to chat. She recently defended her Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of British Columbia and took on a new role! Congratulations Dr. Marin-Bruzos!
Name: Dr. Marieta Marin-Bruzos
Area of study: 
●    Soil microbiology
●    Plant growth promoting bacteria
●    Plant- soil – microorganism interactions
●    Soil biodiversity
●    Canadian Society of Soil Science
●    Canadian Society of Microbiologists
Do you have a favourite soil order? And why?
My favorite soil is the Chernozem order. They are fertile, can sustain agriculture, and have a high water content capacity, which is very important for plants, especially in semi-arid environments. They also have amazing microbiological biodiversity!
How did you get into soil science?
Long story: Everything started when I was an undergraduate student studying Microbiology. We had to choose between two elective courses: Soil Microbiology or Genetic Engineering. The soil course had a well-rated professor, while the other one had a reputation for being tough and unfriendly with students. Almost all of my peers chose Soil Microbiology, and this professor was so amazing that we ended up being a cohort of agricultural soil microbiologists. Yes, one person really can make a difference!
After that, I worked for years in a wide set of agricultural projects, but my focus was mainly on soil microbiology. When I decided to pursue my Ph.D., I found that the Microbiology Ph.D. program at UBC was mainly biomedical. So, my supervisor advised me to register in the Soil Science Ph.D, program in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems (LFS). In this program, I had the opportunity to take a variety of soil science courses and seminars, which expanded my vision of soil in a more holistic way.
Where are you from? How do you think that has shaped your research or perspective?
I am originally from Cuba, which is a relatively poor country currently undergoing an economic blockade from the US. Because of this, it is challenging to do science there mainly due to the lack of resources. For this reason, scientists (and people in general) need to cooperate more and therefore share resources and knowledge amongst each other. People have adapted to develop skills in troubleshooting, creative problem solving, and innovation to succeed. These skills are beneficial in helping to overcome difficult times in research and day to day life.
Do you have recent publications/ thesis that you think PRSSS members will enjoy?
My Ph.D. thesis can be found in the UBC library web site, it is about the biodiversity of Okanagan cherry orchard soils and is titled “Actinomycete diversity associated with cherry tree rhizospheres and their potential as microbial inoculants”. I also recently published a chapter in the book Secondary Metabolites of Plant Growth Promoting Rhizomicroorganisms and a chapter in the book Advances in PGPR Research.
How do you relax and spend your downtime?
I have two children, while they are already grown, I still spend an important part of my spare time with them. I also enjoy taking care of my plants and tropical freshwater fish in my free time.
If you had to describe a ‘superpower’ for soil, what would it be?
Soil is a super powerful resource, but if I have to choose one, I would say its recycling capacity. Soil is involved in the cycling of all the important elements of nature: water, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, waste, and organisms. Without that function, living on our planet would not be possible.
To keep in touch and learn more about Dr. Bruzos, follow her on Twitter, Research Gate, and LinkedIn.