Institute of

Biodiversity

Microbial diversity at different scales: From soil particles to the landscape

Soil particle size fractions, from left to right: sand, coarse silt, fine silt, clay
Soil particle size fractions, from left to right: sand, coarse silt, fine silt, clay (© Thünen-Institut/BD)

In order to understand the importance of microbial diversity and their changeability soils have to be investigated at different scales. The micro-scale analyzes the immediate habitat of an organism which is characterized e.g. by availability of nutrients or oxygen or neighborhood to other organisms. A larger scale has to be considered if environmental gradients on agricultural fields are analyzed. A special challenge is the analysis of landscape factors on microbial diversity. For each scale a specific methodology, ranging from the design of a sampling strategy to statistical analyses of data, needs to be developed and applied.

Information on one of our research projects on the importance of a micro-scale (“the biogeochemical interface”) in context of Schwerpunktprogramm SPP1315 of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) can be found at Biogeochemical Interfaces in Soil.