Research at the Soil Biology Group is classified in four main research lines that are interconnected. The four main areas of research are:
Fertile soils, deals with the functioning and management of soil biota in agricultural systems. We study the role of soil life in the cycles of nutrient elements (N, P, micronutrients) to enhance soil ecosystem services and warrant a more efficient agriculture that is more sustainable with the environment.
Soils in a changing climate, relates to what may be the most pertinent environmental threat facing humanity: climate change as a result of man-made greenhouse gas. We study both the effects of climate change on soil life and the controls that soil life exerts on greenhouse gas emissions from the soil.
Functional Soil Biodiversity, comprises research that aims to understand how the richness and community composition of soil biota is coupled to ecosystem functioning in (agro)ecosystems. We study these dynamic interactions in the context of plant-soil feedbacks, trait-based ecology of soil fauna and soil microbes.
Soil Biology and Land Management, deals with the impacts of agricultural management on soil biota and soil quality. We propose that through the correct soil management practices, we can optimise multi-functionality of our soils, including soil functions such as primary productivity, carbon management, nutrient cycling, water regulation and habitat for biodiversity. Soil biota has a lead role to play in promoting these functions through the mineralisation of nutrients or decomposition of organic matter in soils.
Students can learn more about the education and research related to this discipline by visiting the website of the Soil Biology.