The aim of our research group is to advance understanding of the diversity and interactions of soil organisms with their environment, and how this affects above- and below-ground ecological processes. In particular, we are interested in the effects of human activity, for example soil management and climate change impacts, on soil organisms and the delivery of ecosystem services important for agricultural and silvicultural production. Such ecosystem services include biological control, soil carbon storage and nutrient cycling. We take a broad approach to research, utilising metagenomics, glasshouse experiments, and field studies.
This animated film tells the reality of soil resources around the world, covering the issues of degradation, urbanization, land grabbing and overexploitation; the film offers options to make the way we manage our soils more sustainable.
Image created during a meeting with the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative
Current research projects where the Soil Ecology Group participates:
Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate (BECC)
BECC is a strategic research area hosted by the Faculty of Science at Lund University that strives for a better understanding of the impacts of climate change and land use decisions on terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity, addressing the consequences of ecosystem changes for human beings and socio-economic systems. The vision of BECC is to evolve interdisciplinary research approaches that contribute to the sustainable management of ecosystems and biodiversity in a rapidly changing world.
The Soil Ecology Group does the following research within BECC:
- Within the agricultural cluster,valuation of soil ecosystem services and insurance to risks are developed. This work is adds to that of the SoilService project.
- Within the cluster of climate, land use and biogeochemical cycles the soil ecology group are working on functional diversity of carbon cycling microbes in soil through metagenomics
Multifunctional Agriculture: Sustaining Agricultural Production and Ecosystem Services (SAPES)
SAPES is an interdisciplinary research project that aims to determine the consequences of agricultural land-use at multiple scales on biodiversity, and the ability of interacting above- and below-ground communities of organisms to produce ecosystem services. The research includes the development of scale-dependent production functions linking land-use to ecosystem service delivery, to better understand trade-offs and synergies among multiple ecosystem services and with biodiversity conservation. This data is being combined with economic and governance models to value ecosystem services and to predict how governmental policy options will affect land-use, biodiversity and ecosystem services under future scenarios.
The Soil Ecology Group does the following research within SAPES:
Soil ecosystem services
Soils provide a host of regulating ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration and nitrogen retention. The soil microbial community plays a fundamental role in ecosystem service delivery by making organic forms of nitrogen and phosphorous available for crop uptake, through decomposition and mineralisation processes.
The Soil Ecology Group investigates how different agricultural practices (e.g. conventional versus organic management) affects the delivery of soil ecosystem services, and the biomass and composition of the soil microbial community. Through this we will develop production functions of soil ecosystem services.
Functional Diversity of Carbon Cycling Microbes in Soil through Metagenomics
Future increased agricultural management for production of food and biofuels will intensify production that may impair the carbon sequestration in the soil and increase release of carbon to the atmosphere due to actions by the microorganisms responsible for carbon cycling in agricultural soils. Global climate projections depend today on models that estimate the carbon fluxes from soils under land use and climate change. Despite the known importance of soil microorganisms we lack knowledge of the mechanisms involved and the genetic identity of the key microbial actors of carbon cycling in soils. The aim of this project is to determine the functional diversity of microorganisms on gene level that is directly affecting carbon cycling in agricultural soils.
Increasing the understanding of the role of soil biodiversity in ecosystem functioning
A FP7 collaborative research project, started in 2011. More information at Ecofinders' website.
Linking farmland biodiversity to ecosystem services for effective eco-functional intensification. A FP7 project that started during 2012. Read more at the project's web page.
Centre for animal movement research (CAnMove)
CAnMove is a centre of excellence for trans-disciplinary research on the causes and consequences of animal movements, funded by a Linnaeus grant from the Swedish Research Council and Lund University. You will find more about CAnMove at their own website.