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SOIL ORGANISMS

2022 Issues

Issue 94 (2) August

 

Birgit Lang & David J. Russell
Excretion of nitrogenous waste by soil fauna and assessment of the contribution to soil nitrogen pools

Alejandro Caballero, Anton Potapov Diana Rueda-Ramírez & Stefan Scheu
Five new records of soil scale insects (Hemiptera: Coccomorpha) for Indonesia

Mikhail B. Potapov, Anna I. Bokova, Charlene Janion-Scheepers, Natalia A. Kuznetsova, Miryam S. Merk, Ksenia S. Panina, Anton M. Potapov & Anna K. Saraeva
Organic farming and moderate tillage change the dominance and spatial structure of soil Collembola communities but have little effects on bulk abundance and species richness

Jérôme Mathieu, Ana C. Antunes, Sébastien Barot, Ana E. Bonato Asato, Marie L. C. Bartz, George G. Brown, Irene Calderon-Sanou, Thibaud Decaëns, Steven J. Fonte, Pierre Ganault, Benoit Gauzens, Konstantin B. Gongalsky, Carlos A. Guerra, Tomislav Hengl, Patrick Lavelle, Raphael Marichal, Henry Mehring, Clara P. Peña-Venegas, Daniel Castro, Anton Potapov, Elisa Thébault, Wilfried Thuiller, Martijn Witjes, Chi Zhang & Nico Eisenhauer

WORKSHOP REPORT
sOilFauna – a global synthesis effort on the drivers of soil macrofauna communities and functioning

All articles

Excretion of nitrogenous waste by soil fauna and assessment of the contribution to soil nitrogen pools

Birgit Lang & David J. Russell

 

Abstract

The provisioning of nitrogen for plant growth is a key function of soils. Soil fauna primarily affect nitrogen mineralization through their interactions with microorganisms, but the excretion of feces and nitrogenous waste products can also supply plants with a considerable amount of their nitrogen requirements. The influence of soil fauna on soil nitrogen is rarely considered in agricultural soils. High amounts of mineral fertilizers are often applied, which are likely to be leached or denitrified from the soil if the amount of plant-available nitrogen exceeds crop requirements. This has profound consequences for the environment. Thus, we require a better understanding of the role of soil fauna in nutrient cycling to improve fertilizer management and agricultural sustainability. To this end, we review the current state of knowledge on the excretion of nitrogenous waste by soil fauna, focusing on earthworms, enchytraeids, nematodes, springtails, mites, isopods and myriapods. This includes an overview on excretory organs and products, a summary of quantitative measurements of nitrogen excretion and the factors that influence nitrogen excretion. Furthermore, we assess the contribution of soil faunal nitrogen excretion to nitrogen pools in agricultural fields based on mean nitrogen excretion rates and common soil invertebrate biomasses. Our results show that earthworms and nematodes are most likely to contribute agronomically-relevant quantities of nitrogen via excretion. Despite the very preliminary nature of our calculations, our results stress the importance of a better understanding of the role of soil fauna in nitrogen cycling in order to reduce soil-nitrogen losses and improve agricultural sustainability.

Keywords
Nitrogen cycle, ammonia, urea, sustainability, agricultural management

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DOI 10.25674/so94iss2id182

Five new records of soil scale insects (Hemiptera: Coccomorpha) for Indonesia

Alejandro Caballero, Anton Potapov, Diana Rueda-Ramírez & Stefan Scheu

 

Abstract

Information about soil scale insect (Hemiptera: Coccomorpha) diversity, although fragmented, had been progressively improved for Asia, especially in the southern countries such as Indonesia. Recent works recorded 365 species in the country, 21 of which in below ground habit. In this paper, we contribute to the knowledge of Indonesian scale insect diversity by analyzing specimens collected from rainforest, rubber and oil palm plantations in the Province of Jambi and Sumatra, Indonesia. The results include the new records of Rhizoecus americanus, Rhizoecus omphalius, Ripersiella bacorum, Ripersiella cryphia and Ripersiella sabahica (Rhizoecidae) with description of new intraspecific variations. Pseudococcus saccharicola (Pseudococcidae), Geococcus coffeae, and Rhizoecus pignerator (Rhizoecidae) were also collected in this study. With these species, the known Indonesian scale insect fauna increases to 370 species.

Keywords
Oriental region, Sternorrhyncha, Neococcoidea

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DOI 10.25674/so94iss2id183

Organic farming and moderate tillage change the dominance and spatial structure of soil Collembola communities but have little effects on bulk abundance and species richness

Mikhail B. Potapov, Anna I. Bokova, Charlene Janion-Scheepers, Natalia A. Kuznetsova, Miryam S. Merk, Ksenia S. Panina, Anton M. Potapov & Anna K. Saraeva

 

Abstract

Organic farming technologies are increasingly being used to reduce environmental pollution and grow environmentally friendly products. An integrated approach to assessing the effectiveness of these technologies requires studying the reaction of various components of agroecosystems, including soil fauna. Collembola (springtails) are among the most abundant soil arthropods that regulate nutrient cycling in crop fields. However, the effects of different management types on Collembola communities are context-dependent, and spatial organization of these communities remains unexplored. Here, we studied winter wheat fields in European Russia using a large spatial sampling including 486 samples which were arranged in a nested fractal pattern and grouped into 18 meter plots across six agricultural fields. We compared fields with organic farming (no mineral fertilizer and pesticide applications, moderate tillage) with conventional farming ones. To account for spatial configuration of the sampling design, we applied generalized linear mixed-effects models. The organic farming with moderate tillage changed the structure of Collembola communities by reducing the effect of species over-domination. However, the total abundance and species richness of Collembola was only little and often non-significantly higher under organic than in under the conventional management type. The applied multiscale approach revealed larger spatial aggregations in Collembola communities in organic than in conventional management. Overall, we showed that the effect of organic farming technologies changes taxonomic and spatial structures of Collembola communities, rather their bulk characteristics, such as density and abundance. Functional consequences of these changes are yet to be discovered.

Keywords
Spatial distribution, fractal design, abundance, species richness, dominance

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DOI 10.25674/so94iss2id172

WORKSHOP REPORT
sOilFauna – a global synthesis effort on the drivers of soil macrofauna communities and functioning

Jérôme Mathieu, Ana C. Antunes, Sébastien Barot, Ana E. Bonato Asato, Marie L. C. Bartz, George G. Brown, Irene Calderon-Sanou, Thibaud Decaëns, Steven J. Fonte, Pierre Ganault, Benoit Gauzens, Konstantin B. Gongalsky, Carlos A. Guerra, Tomislav Hengl, Patrick Lavelle, Raphael Marichal, Henry Mehring, Clara P. Peña-Venegas, Daniel Castro, Anton Potapov, Elisa Thébault, Wilfried Thuiller, Martijn Witjes, Chi Zhang & Nico Eisenhauer

 

Abstract

Understanding global biodiversity change, its drivers, and the ecosystem consequences requires a better appreciation of both the factors that shape soil macrofauna communities and the ecosystem effects of these organisms. The project “sOilFauna” was funded by the synthesis center sDiv (Germany) to address this major gap by forming a community of soil ecologists, identifying the most pressing research questions and hypotheses, as well as conducting a series of workshops to foster the global synthesis and hypothesis testing of soil macrofauna. The overarching goal is to analyze the most comprehensive soil macrofauna database – the MACROFAUNA database – which collates abundance data of 17 soil invertebrate groups assessed with a standardized method at 7180 sites around the world, and seeks to foster the collection of future data. In a recent kick-off workshop in May 2022, the first research priorities and collaboration guidelines were determined. Here, we summarize the main outcomes of this workshop and highlight the benefits of creating an open global community of soil ecologists providing standardized soil macrofauna data for future research, evaluation of ecosystem health, and nature protection.

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DOI 10.25674/so94iss2id282

Issue 94 (1) April

 

Karel Tajovský, Václav Pižl, Peter Čuchta, Julia Shrubovych & Wanda Maria Weiner

OBITUARY
Prof. Josef Rusek (1938–2022)

Carla Klusmann, Simone Cesarz, Marcel Ciobanu, Olga Ferlian, Malte Jochum, Martin Schädler, Stefan Scheu, Marie Sünnemann, Diana H. Wall & Nico Eisenhauer

PERSPECTIVE PAPER
Climate-change effects on the sex ratio of free-living soil nematodes – perspective and prospect

Anika Neu, Andreas Allspach, Kristin Baber, Peter Decker & Willi E.R. Xylander
BODENTIERhoch4: A new citizen science tool for the determination and monitoring of soil organisms

Adam Clark, Nico Eisenhauer & David Tilman
Experimental warming weakens positive plant diversity effects on pitfall trap sampled ant diversity

CALL FOR COLLOBORATION
Anton M. Potapov, Xin Sun, Andrew D. Barnes, Maria J. Briones, George G. Brown, Erin K. Cameron, Chih-Han Chang, Jerome Cortet, Nico Eisenhauer, Andre L.C. Franco, Saori Fujii, Stefan Geisen, Carlos Guerra, Konstantin Gongalsky, Jari Haimi, I. Tanya Handa, Charlene Janion-Sheepers, Kamil Karaban, Zoe Lindo, Jerome Matthieu, Maria Laura Moreno, Maka Murvanidze, Uffe Nielsen, Stefan Scheu, Olaf Schmidt, Clement Schneider, Julia Seeber, Maria Tsiafouli, Jiri Tuma, Alexei Tiunov, Andrey S. Zaytsev, Frank Ashwood, Mac Callaham & Diana Wall
Global monitoring of soil animal communities using a common methodology

All articles

OBITUARY
Prof. Josef Rusek (1938 – 2022)

Karel Tajovský, Václav Pižl, Peter Čuchta, Julia Shrubovych & Wanda Maria Weiner

 

Abstract

Professor Josef Rusek, soil zoologist, ecologist, apterygotologist and university lecturer, died on January 13, 2022, aged 83 years. He has indelibly inscribed himself in the memory of many Czech and international zoologists and entomologists, particularly those specialised in soil zoology, but also more broadly oriented soil biologists and ecologists. His studies of soil invertebrates, especially Collembola, Diplura and Protura, and also the results of his research in soil biology and ecology, soil microstructure and the processes of formation and classification of humus forms, are known not only in our country but also abroad.

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DOI 10.25674/so94iss1id179

PERSPECTIVE PAPER
Climate-change effects on the sex ratio of free-living soil nematodes – perspective and prospect

Carla Klusmann, Simone Cesarz, Marcel Ciobanu, Olga Ferlian, Malte Jochum, Martin Schädler, Stefan Scheu, Marie Sünnemann, Diana H. Wall & Nico Eisenhauer

 

Abstract

Human-induced global environmental change is predicted to alter the stability and functioning of ecosystems worldwide. Most research in recent decades has focused on studying climate-change effects on aboveground systems, causing a poor understanding of belowground responses. However, gaining knowledge on environmental-change effects on soil biota is of crucial importance, as soil-ecosystem services are indispensable for human well-being and contribute fundamentally to the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. Nematode communities play a central role in various soil ecosystem processes and are therefore commonly used as biological indicators to assess soil conditions and soil health. While causing overall shifts in community composition patterns, which are most often examined, climate change might also alter nematode population dynamics and the sex ratio (number of males per female). Previous studies on plant-parasitic nematode species suggest that changes to unfavorable environmental conditions trigger reduced development of females and favor sexual rather than parthenogenetic reproduction. Therefore, we are presenting the working hypothesis that predicted climate change causing reduced resource availability and enhanced environmental stress will lead to an increased proportion of males in soil nematode communities. Our systematic literature review revealed that climate- and environmental change effects on the sex ratio of free-living soil nematode populations are inconsistent, but heavily understudied. Data on sex ratios have been treated mostly as additional information, presented without any underlying theory and hypotheses, as well as limited discussion. In this perspective paper, we thus propose that future studies should include clear hypotheses and test if the sex ratio of free-living nematodes increases with climate change due to more stressful environmental conditions and low resource availability. Furthermore, we conclude that experimental studies investigating the specific roles of male and female nematodes are needed to better predict the implications of a changing climate on soil ecosystem functioning.

Keywords
climate change, human impact, nematode sex ratio, soil biodiversity

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DOI 10.25674/so94iss1id174

BODENTIERhoch4: A new citizen science tool for the determination and monitoring of soil organisms

Anika Neu, Andreas Allspach, Kristin Baber, Peter Decker & Willi E. R. Xylander

 

Abstract

Although citizen science (CS) has proven to be a powerful tool to detect man-made biodiversity loss, existing CS monitoring programs are highly biased towards ‘charismatic’ species groups, while others are largely neglected and monitoring data are lacking. This is especially true for the diverse groups of soil dwelling animals. To close this data gap in Germany we started the first CS monitoring program for soil animals with special focus on the identification of terrestrial isopods (Oniscidea), centipedes (Chilopoda) and millipedes (Diplopoda): BODENTIERhoch4. The main functionalities of the combined web and mobile application are outlined. Moreover, we carried out training workshops with interested citizens to transfer basic knowledge of how to use the mobile application, to identify soil organisms and to upload acquired data to a repository. In an accompanying study, we investigated the interrelationship of workshop attendance and long-term commitment as citizen scientists in monitoring programs. Users of BODENTIERhoch4 that a) had attended and b) had not attended a workshop were asked to answer questions related to the efficiency and impact of the workshops. We found that workshop attendance significantly increased the participants estimated knowledge gain, interest in soil animals and, corresponding to that, willingness to further engage in the project. Our results may inspire future CS programs to offer training opportunities for prospective citizen scientists and thereby promote data quality as well as long-term engagement.

Keywords
biodiversity monitoring, Diplopoda, Chilopoda, project engagement, soil animal conservation

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DOI 10.25674/so94iss1id181

Experimental warming weakens positive plant diversity effects on ant diversity

Adam Clark, Nico Eisenhauer & David Tilmann

 

Abstract

Ants are important components of many terrestrial ecosystems because of their high abundance, their central position in food webs, and because they can strongly influence ecosystem properties such as soil aeration, nutrient cycling, and plant community composition. Moreover, ants are also known to respond strongly to changes in environmental and biological conditions. In particular, two major anthropogenic environmental impacts – climate change and the loss of primary producers – may have interactive effects on ant communities. To examine this potential interaction, we quantified pitfall trap sampled ant diversity and activity across a fully factorial experiment manipulating temperature and grassland plant species richness at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve in Minnesota, USA. Consistent with previous arthropod studies, we found a significant increase in sampled ant diversity in plots with higher sown plant species richness, such that plots with the largest number of plant species also had the highest sampled ant diversity. However, the strength of this relationship declined significantly in experimentally warmed subplots, especially when considered for higher aggregated spatial scales of samples. Taken together, these results suggest that the positive effects of plant diversity on sampled ant diversity may be partially undermined under warmer conditions.

Keywords
ant, climate change, community ecology, diversity loss, experimental warming

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DOI 10.25674/so94iss1id177

CALL FOR COLLABORATION
Global monitoring of soil animal communities using a common methodology

Anton M. Potapov, Xin Sun, Andrew D. Barnes, Maria J. I. Briones, George G. Brown, Erin K. Cameron, Chih-Han Chang, Jérôme Cortet, Nico Eisenhauer, André L.C. Franco, Saori Fujii, Stefan Geisen, Konstantin B. Gongalsky, Carlos Guerra, Jari Haimi, I.Tanya Handa, Charlene Janion-Scheepers, Kamil Karaban, Zoë Lindo, Jérôme Mathieu, María Laura Moreno, Maka Murvanidze, Uffe N Nielsen, Stefan Scheu, Olaf Schmidt, Clement Schneider, Julia Seeber, Maria A. Tsiafouli, Jiri Tuma, Alexei V. Tiunov, Andrey S. Zaitsev, Frank Ashwood, Mac Callaham & Diana H. Wall

 

Abstract

Here we introduce the Soil BON Foodweb Team, a cross-continental collaborative network that aims to monitor soil animal communities and food webs using consistent methodology at a global scale. Soil animals support vital soil processes via soil structure modification, consumption of dead organic matter, and interactions with microbial and plant communities. Soil animal effects on ecosystem functions have been demonstrated by correlative analyses as well as in laboratory and field experiments, but these studies typically focus on selected animal groups or species at one or few sites with limited variation in environmental conditions. The lack of comprehensive harmonised large-scale soil animal community data including microfauna, mesofauna, and macrofauna, in conjunction with related soil functions, microbial communities, and vegetation, limits our understanding of biological interactions in soil systems and how these interactions affect ecosystem functioning. To provide such data, the Soil BON Foodweb Team invites researchers worldwide to use a common methodology to address six long-term goals: (1) to collect globally representative harmonised data on soil micro-, meso-, and macrofauna communities, (2) to describe key environmental drivers of soil animal communities and food webs, (3) to assess the efficiency of conservation approaches for the protection of soil animal communities, (4) to describe soil food webs and their association with soil functioning globally, (5) to establish a global research network for soil biodiversity monitoring and collaborative projects in related topics, (6) to reinforce local collaboration networks and expertise and support capacity building for soil animal research around the world. In this paper, we describe the vision of the global research network and the common sampling protocol to assess soil animal communities and advocate for the use of standard methodologies across observational and experimental soil animal studies. We will use this protocol to conduct soil animal assessments and reconstruct soil food webs at sites associated with the global soil biodiversity monitoring network, Soil BON, allowing us to assess linkages among soil biodiversity, vegetation, soil physico-chemical properties, climate, and ecosystem functions. In the present paper, we call for researchers especially from countries and ecoregions that remain underrepresented in the majority of soil biodiversity assessments to join us. Together we will be able to provide science-based evidence to support soil biodiversity conservation and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems.

Keywords
biogeography, ecosystem functioning, macroecology, soil fauna, soil biodiversity

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DOI 10.25674/so94iss1id178