Soil ecology

Last changed: 09 August 2023
Small red animal eating fungi

Soil organisms play an important role in nearly all terrestrial ecosystems and they are essential for sustainable agriculture and forestry. We study the diversity of soil organisms, their importance for ecosystem processes, their interactions with plants and how they are affected by different management practices. This knowledge can help us to protect soil biodiversity from the effects of climate and land-use changes.

Soil structure, decomposition and nutrient cycling

Role of soil microbes and soil fauna for soil structure, decomposition and nutrient cycling. This research has implications for assessing the importance of soil biodiversity for ecosystem functioning and delivery of soil-related ecosystem services. 

Mohammad Bahram, Tord Ranheim Sveen, Kaisa Torppa, Astrid Taylor, Maria Viketoft

Interactions between plants and soil organisms

Plants provide food resources for soil organisms both when they are living and when they are dead. Soil organisms can in turn affect the growth of the plants, and one example is the interaction of plants and mycorrhizal fungi, which are essential for plant productivity. On the other hand, other soil organisms may damage roots and decrease yields. In the long run, a better understanding of plant-soil organism interactions can aid in development of methods for better management and to mitigate the negative impact of environmental changes. 

Mohammad Bahram, Monique Smith,Tarquin Netherway, Tord Ranheim Sveen, Kaisa Torppa, Maria Viketoft

Management, soil biodiversity and ecosystems functions

Effects of management practices (both in agriculture and forestry) and land-use change on soil biodiversity and ecosystem functions. 

This is important to predict how environmental change may affect biodiversity and ecosystem functions, and could have implications for improving management and conservation planning to sustain or improve soil functions. 

Maria Viketoft, Mohammad Bahram, Monique Smith, Tarquin Netherway, Tord Ranheim Sveen, Kaisa Torppa, Neus Rodriguez-Gasol

Biogeography of soil organisms

Using DNA metabarcoding and metagenomics approaches, we document the diversity distribution of soil organisms at the national and global scales.  This knowledge is important to determine hotspots of diversity and influencing factors in order to protect biodiversity. 

Mohammad Bahram, Tarquin Netherway, Tord Ranheim Sveen, Kaisa Torppa

Contact us

Staff at the Soil Ecology Unit