In our group, we aim to uncover and quantify the role of soil organisms in ecosystem functioning – starting from millimetres and up to the biosphere level. Soils hold the largest carbon pool on Earth and store at least 25% of the world’s biodiversity – cryptic, but beautiful. Most biological processes in soils are underpinned by trophic interactions among soil animals, microorganisms and plants. We specifically focus on these trophic interactions – soil food webs - and aim for a holistic understanding of soil biodiversity and functioning.
Our main objectives are to (1) describe how soil food webs are linked to ecosystem-level functions, and (2) to understand how main human-controlled factors affect soil food web organization. We use a range of instrumental methods, e.g. stable isotope approaches, and develop novel tools, such as image analysis. Our current projects focus on the role of soil animals in the carbon cycle of forests and on the macroecology of soil animal communities.
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig