Most terrestrial ecosystem processes that support life on Earth (e.g. soil fertility, global nutrient cycles, atmospheric gas and water regulation, pollution control, etc.) are driven by soil biota. The maintenance of soil health in the global change era requires understanding the complex links between biodiversity and functions which are crucial to the planet’s survival. Welcome to the Scoop.it page devoted to the dissemination of the output of the EU FP7 Research Project EcoFINDERS (Ecological Function and Biodiversity Indicators in European Soils) - a large collaborative project aiming at deciphering the relationships between soil biodiversity, functioning and ecosystem services, in order to provide tools to design and implement strategies for a sustainable use of soils.
Soils provide numerous essential ecosystem services such as: primary production (including agricultural and forestry products); regulation of biogeochemical cycles (with consequences for the climate); water filtration; resistance to diseases and pests;...
Mariangela Girlanda's insight:
An introduction to the project on the European Soil Portal maintained by the Joint Research Centre Institute for Environment and Sustainability
The rhizosphere is intriguingly complex and dynamic, and understanding its ecology and evolution is key to enhancing plant productivity and ecosystem functioning. Recent developments in rhizosphere research are discussed in relation to assessing the contribution of the micro- and macroflora to sustainable agriculture, nature conservation, the development of bio-energy crops and the mitigation of climate change.
Laurent Philippot, Jos M. Raaijmakers, Philippe Lemanceau and Wim H. van der Putten (2013)
Soil is increasingly under environmental pressures that alter its capacity to fulfil essential ecosystem services. To maintain these crucial soil functions, it is important to know how soil microorganisms respond to disturbance or environmental change. The authors summarize the recent progress in understanding the resistance and resilience (stability) of soil microbial communities and discuss the underlying mechanisms of soil biological stability together with the factors affecting it.
The soil microbial community was experimentally manipulated using a dilution approach to analyze the functional consequences of diversity loss. A trait-centered approach was embraced using the denitrifiers as model guild due to their role in nitrogen cycling, a major ecosystem service. This study shows that microbial diversity loss can alter terrestrial ecosystem processes, which suggests that the importance of functional redundancy in soil microbial communities has been overstated.
Philippot L, Spor A, Hénault C, Bru D, Bizouard F, Jones CM, Sarr A, Maron P-A (2013) The ISME Journal 7 (8): 1609-1619
Soil DNA extraction is a critical step in describing microbial biodiversity. Although the standardized soil DNA extraction method (ISO-11063) is suited for molecular tools such as quantitative PCR and community fingerprinting techniques, it has only been optimized for examining soil bacteria. The efficacy of three different procedures was tested by estimating microbial biomass and by determining the abundances and community structure of bacteria, archaea and fungi. Fungal community patterns were found to be strongly dependent on different extraction methods. For integrative studies which aim to examine bacteria, archaea and fungi simultaneously, a modified ISO procedure (ISOm) resulted in higher DNA recovery and better represented microbial communities.
Pierre Plassart, Sébastien Terrat, Bruce Thomson, Robert Griffiths, Samuel Dequiedt, Mélanie Lelievre, Tiffanie Regnier, Virginie Nowak, Mark Bailey, Philippe Lemanceau, Antonio Bispo, Abad Chabbi, Pierre-Alain Maron, Christophe Mougel, Lionel Ranjard (2012) PLOS One 7: e44279
Anecic (deep-burrowing) earthworms are important for soil biogeochemical functioning, but the fine-scale spatial range at which they incorporate C and N around their burrows (the drilosphere sensu stricto) needs to be investigated under realistic conditions. A field experiment was conducted to delimit spatially the extent to which soil around natural Lumbricus terrestris burrows is influenced biochemically, by using plant litter dual-labelled with 13C and 15N stable isotope tracers. Results suggest that biochemical drilosphere effects of anecic earthworms, at least in the uppermost portion of the burrow, extend farther than the 2 mm layer assumed traditionally.
Walter S. Andriuzzi, Thomas Bolger, Olaf Schmidt (2013) Soil Biology & Biochemistry 64: 136-138
Although many biological indicators have been applied in monitoring schemes across Europe for assessing soil quality, no consensus exists on the extent to which these indicators might perform best and how monitoring schemes can be further optimized in terms of scientific and policy relevance. The authors discuss how to use the concept of ecosystem services in soil monitoring, review former and ongoing monitoring schemes, and present an analysis of metadata on biological indicators in some EU member states. Finally, they discuss their experiences in establishing a logical sieve approach to devise a monitoring scheme for a standardized and harmonized application at European scale.
Jack H Faber, Rachel E Creamer, Christian Mulder, Jörg Römbke, Michiel Rutgers, J. Paulo Sousa, Dorothy Stone, and Bryan S Griffiths (2013) Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 9 (2): 276–284
By using a hierarchical response framework, the authors demonstrate that climate change alters plant–soil interactions across several scales, ranging from rapid responses that operate at a local scale to longer-term impacts with possible consequences for the global carbon cycle.
Richard D. Bardgett, Pete Manning, Elly Morriën and Franciska T. De Vries (2013) Journal of Ecology 101: 334–343
The authors employ meta-analysis to provide a quantitative assessment of the effects of changes in land use and land management across a range of successional/extensification transitions on community metrics for two functionally important soil taxa, earthworms and fungi. Meta-analysis highlighted a consistent trend of increased earthworm and fungal community abundances and complexity following transitions to lower intensity and later successional land uses. Alterations in soil communities tended to facilitate subsequent changes in soil structure and hydrology.
David J Spurgeon, Aidan M Keith, Olaf Schmidt, Dennis R Lammertsma and Jack H Faber (2013) BMC Ecology 13: 46
PLOS ONE: an inclusive, peer-reviewed, open-access resource from the PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE. Reports of well-performed scientific studies from all disciplines freely available to the whole world.
Mariangela Girlanda's insight:
To gain a more comprehensive understanding of the ecology and functional potentials of soil microbial communities, a suite of analyses (including comparative metagenomics, functional assays and MG-RAST analyses) was applied on independent soil samples from a spruce plantation. The authors found evidence that the soil stratification and particularly the soil resource availability impact the functional diversity and to a lesser extent the taxonomic diversity of the bacterial communities.
Stéphane Uroz, Panos Ioannidis, Juliette Lengelle , Aurélie Cébron, Emmanuelle Morin, Marc Buée, Francis Martin (2013) PLoS ONE 8(2): e55929
Pollutants affect the structure and functioning of food webs in soil. The performance and validity of a soil invertebrate multi-species system was tested, to underpin future adoption for ecotoxicity testing, by measuring the effects of an insecticide, α-cypermethrin, on soil invertebrate populations and microbial community composition. Changes observed in the community structure and function illustrate the strength of a multi-species test system as an ecotoxicological tool compared to single species tests.
Valentina Sechi , Alessandra D’Annibale, Kristine Maraldo, Anders Johansen, Rossana Bossi , John Jensen, Paul Henning Krogh (2014) Environmental Pollution 184: 586-596
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