Soil Microorganisms Dominate the Soil Ecosystem

March 3, 2010 at 8:30 am 4 comments

UK scientists have analysed their soil to get an accurate assessment of soil biology, and changes in soil biology over time.  Their conclusions show that the top 3 inches of soil there are 12.8 quadrillion (12,800 million million) soil microorganisms and that number has  increased by nearly 50% in a decade. Scientists report that the most likely reason for the increase in numbers is warmer, wetter weather conditions which translates directly into warmer, wetter soil micro environments. The theory is that these warm and wet soil environments encourage faster microbial reproduction. Read the article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/feb/28/soil-biodiversity-invertebrates-countryside-survey

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4 Comments

  • 1. John  |  March 3, 2010 at 10:46 am

    First thing I think of is that an increase in soil biology would lead to an increase in turnover of soil organic matter. This would result in higher rates of nutrient cycling and furthermore lead to an increase in CO2 release from the soil. It is possible that the soil could support higher rates of plant growth that would in turn return more carbon to the soil offsetting the increase of SOM loss, but more than likely this would not happen under managed conditions and the increase of plant matter would not be sufficient. I think this is a little known or discussed factor in climate warming, the soil has a huge reserve of carbon and the rate of its release will increase as temperature does. This reinforces the notion that plant residues must be returned to the soil in agricultural systems and also increases the need for cover cropping and green manuring.

  • 3. eSpring Demonstration Video | I Choose Water  |  March 3, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    […] Soil Microorganisms Dominate the Soil Ecosystem « Agriculture in Van Wert County, Ohio […]


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