Soil fauna and their provision of ecosystem services

Background

About springtails, earthworms, myriapods and more

Soil fauna is divided into three size classes: microfauna (e.g., protozoans and nematodes), mesofauna (e.g., collembolans and enchytraeids) and macrofauna (e.g., earthworms and myriapods). According to their specific behavior and adaptions, different soil fauna groups promote soil fertility by providing various ecosystem services: They 

  • improve soil structure by forming new aggregates
  • regulate gas and water balance by creating new pores
  • control nutrient cycles by decomposing organic residues
  • repress plant diseases by consuming microbial pest
  • promote soil health by accelerating pollutant degradation
  • disperse plants by transporting seeds.

We study all these services. We want to know how agriculture may benefit from natural mechanisms of self-regulation by soil fauna and how management measures may protect and promote their diversity.