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Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services$
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Diana H. Wall, Richard D. Bardgett, Valerie Behan-Pelletier, Jeffrey E. Herrick, T. Hefin Jones, Karl Ritz, Johan Six, Donald R. Strong, and Wim H. van der Putten

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199575923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575923.001.0001

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Soil Biodiversity and Functions

Soil Biodiversity and Functions

Chapter:
(p.28) Chapter 1.2 Soil Biodiversity and Functions
Source:
Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services
Author(s):

Susanne Wurst

Gerlinde B. De Deyn

Kate Orwin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575923.003.0004

Biodiversity in soil is immense, and many soil organisms and their functions are still unknown. Given that the size of soil organisms is linked to how they experience and change the chemical and physical properties of soil, this chapter introduces soil biota according to their size classes, ranging from microbes to macrofauna. It gives an overview of their main characteristics and functions, and of the techniques used to study their taxonomy and functionality. The chapter discusses the relationship of soil community composition and diversity to function within the different size classes, and finds that soil biotic composition is more likely an important driver of soil-mediated functions than diversity. It argues that a more holistic approach, including soil biota of different size classes and trophic levels, is needed in diversity-function research to bridge the gap between highly controlled experiments and the complex communities operating in nature. The chapter highlights that ecosystem processes and functions, as well as the activity and survival of soil organisms, depend on interactions between soil biota of different size classes and trophic levels at multiple spatial scales.

Keywords:   ecosystem functions, biodiversity, soil, body size, microbes, microfauna, mesofauna, macrofauna, interactions

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