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Astrid Taylor

Astrid Taylor
We are becoming more and more aware of the importance of our soils for life on earth. What actually happens in the soil is however invisible for most of us. Nevertheless, there is a multitude of organisms at work, interacting with each other in the soil food web and contributing to decomposition, nutrient cycling and a good soil structure. My research focuses on the ecology, function and interaction of soil organisms and their role for a sustainable agriculture. My special interest are oribatid mites and earthworms.


I studied Biology at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany and by pure chance ended up doing my master thesis on the impact of soil management on soil mites. That very much changed my view of the world because I became aware of the great importance, diversity and beauty of soil organisms (if you want to share that experience please follow the link below to A Chaos of Delight). 

In my doctoral studies at the Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, Germany, I worked on the composition and function of soil organism communities under climate change scenarios, and defended my PhD in 2006. I got in contact with SLU during my PhD that was part of two EU projects (see publications/book chapters), and received a post doc position at the Dept. of Ecology in 2007. Since then I have been working at the Dept. of Ecology as a researcher & associate professor (since 2018) and as an assistant head of department (since 2014). In 2021, I became head of department in a dual leadership with Sönke Eggers. 


Currently, I mainly work within the following projects: 

·        MINOTAUR (EJP SOIL - EU) Modelling and mapping soil biodiversity patterns and functions across Europe

·        SIREN (EJP Soil EU) Inventory of indicator systems for assessing soil quality and ecosystem services, as currently used by Member States associated in the EJP SOIL and beyond

·        SOILMAN (BIODIVERSA) Investigation of the interrelationship between farm based soil management practices and soil biodiversity in view of improving soil health and soil fertility. Quantification of soil ecosystem functions and multiple ecosystem services based on biodiversity parameters in different European regions looking at four basic management practices.


Main supervisor 

Kaisa Torppa, Dept. of Ecology, SLU, Uppsala, Sweden (Start 2017).                             Soil biological interactions and associated ecosystem services in different farming systems.


Elsa Arrazola Vasquez, Dept. of Water and Environment, SLU, Uppsala, Sweden (Start 2018).                                                                                                                      Ecosystem engineering by earthworms: soil bioturbation in relation to mechanical resistance and available energy resources.

Jasmina Sargac, Dept. of Water and Environment, SLU, Uppsala, Sweden (2018-2022). How does altered connectivity between streams and riparian ecosystems impact the biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and valued ecosystem services of buffer strips?

Ilka Schmoock, Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Germany (2017-2022).  Ecosystem services driven by soil biota in agricultural landscape – Effect of farm based soil management.

Chloë Raderschall, Dept. of Ecology, SLU, Uppsala, Sweden (2017-2021).            Diversified farming systems for pollination and biocontrol in field beans.

Laura Riggi, Dept. of Ecology, SLU, Uppsala, Sweden (2014-2017).                      Integrated pest management across spatial scales.

Patricia Vannucchi, The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland (2014-2018). Developing Molecular Approaches for Characterising Oribatid Mite Communities.

Selected publications

Publications in peer-reviewed journals


Maaroufi NI, Taylor AR, Ehnes RB, Andrén H, Kjellander P, Björkman C, Kätterer T, Klapwijk MJ (2022) Northward range expansion of rooting ungulates decreases detritivore and predatory mite abundances in boreal forests. R. Soc. Open Sci, 9, 211283.

Arrázola-Vásquez E, Larsbo M, Capowiez Y, Taylor A, Sandin M, Iseskog D, Keller T (2022) Earthworm burrowing modes and rates depend on earthworm species and soil mechanical resistance. Applied Soil Ecology, 178, 104568.

Torppa KA, Taylor AR (2022) Alternative combinations of tillage practices and crop rotations can foster earthworm density and bioturbation. Applied Soil Ecology, 175, 104460.

Kozlov MV, Zverev V, Gusarov VI, Korobushkin DI, Krivosheina NP, Mattila J, Mutanen M, Popova A, Prosvirov AS, Punttila P, Söderman G, Stańska M, Taylor A, Vahtera V, Zubrii NA, Zvereva EL (2022) Changes in Biomass and Diversity of Soil Macrofauna along a Climatic Gradient in European Boreal Forests. Insects, 13, 94.


Engel I, Linsler D, Schrader S, Taylor A, Ludwig B, Potthoff M (2021) Crop residue displacement by soil inversion: Annelid responses and their impact on carbon and nitrogen dynamics in a lab-based mesocosm study. Applied Soil Ecology, 167, 104151.

Viketoft M, Riggi LGA, Bommarco R, Hallin S, Taylor AR (2021) Type of organic fertilizer rather than organic amendment per se increases abundance of soil biota. PeerJ 9:e11204.

Raderschall CA, Vico G, Lundin O, Taylor AR, Bommarco R (2021) Water stress and insect herbivory interactively reduce crop yield while the insect pollination benefit is conserved. Global Change Biology 27, 71-83.

2021 >

Meurer K, Barron J, Chenu C, Coucheney E, Fielding M, Hallett P, Herrmann AM, Keller T, Koestel J, Larsbo M, Lewan E, Or D, Parsons P, Parvin N, Taylor A, Vereecken H, Jarvis N (2020) A framework for modelling soil structure dynamics induced by biological activity. Global Change Biology 26, 5382-5403.

Volchko Y, Berggren Kleja D, Back P-E, Tiberg C, Anja Enell A, Larsson M, Jones CM, Taylor A, Viketoft M, Åberg A, Dahlberg A-K, Weiss J, Wiberg J, Rosén L (2020) Assessing costs and benefits of improved soil quality management in remediation projects: A study of an urban site contaminated with PAH and metals. Science of the Total Environment, 707, 135582.

Plaas E, Meyer-Wolfarth F, Banse M, Bengtsson J, Bergmann H, Faber J, Potthoff M, Runge T, Schrader S, Taylor A (2019) Towards valuation of biodiversity in agricultural soils: A case for earthworms. Ecological Economics, 159, 291–300.

Taylor A, Lenoir L, Vegerfors-Persson B, Persson T (2019) Ant and Earthworm Bioturbation in cold-temperate Ecosystems. Ecosystems, 22, 981-994.

Jarvis NJ, Forkman J, Koestel J, Kätterer T, Larsbo M, Taylor A (2017) Long-term effects of grass-clover leys on the structure of a silt loam soil in a cold climate. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 247, 319-328.

Mitchell RJ, Urpeth HM, Britton AJ, Taylor AR (2017). Soil microarthropod-plant community relationships in alpine moss-sedge heath. Applied Soil Ecology, 111, 1-8.

Mitchell RJ, Urpeth HM, Britton AJ, Black H, Taylor AR (2016). Relative importance of local and large scale drivers of alpine soil microarthropod communities. Oecologica, 182, 913-924.

Taylor AR, Victorsson J (2016) Short-term effects of stump harvesting on millipedes and centipedes on coniferous tree stumps. Forest Ecology and Management 371, 67-74.

Kolb GS, Palmborg C, Taylor AR, Bååth E, Hambäck PA (2015) Effects of nesting cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) on soil chemistry, microbial communities and soil fauna. Ecosystems.

Gagic V, Bartomeus I, Jonsson T, Taylor AR, Winqvist C, Fischer C, Slade E, Steffan-Dewenter I, Emmerson M, Potts S, Tscharntke T, Weisser W, Bommarco R (2015) Functional identity and diversity of animals predict ecosystem functions better than species-based indices.  Proc. R. Soc. B, 282, 20142620.

Taylor AR, Ranius T (2014) Tree hollows harbour a specialised oribatid mite fauna. Journal of Insect Conservation 18, 39-55. Taylor AR, Taylor ASF (2014) Assessing bioturbation by earthworms: using fungal spores as a natural soil marker to estimate gut transit time. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 50, 179-183. 

Taylor AR, Pflug A, Schröter D, Wolters V (2010) Impact of microarthropod biomass on the composition of the soil fauna community and ecosystem processes. European Journal of Soil Biology, 46, 80-86. 

Jarvis NJ, Taylor A, Larsbo M, Etema, A, Rosén K (2010) Modelling the effects of bioturbation on the re-distribution of 137Cs in an undisturbed grassland soil. European Journal of Soil Science, 61, 24–34. 

Taylor AR, Wolters V (2005) Responses of oribatid mite communities to summer drought: The influence of litter type and quality. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 37, 2117-2130. 

Taylor AR, Schröter D, Pflug A, Wolters V (2004) Response of different decomposer communities to the manipulation of moisture availability: potential effects of changing precipitation patterns. Global Change Biology, 10, 1313-1324. 

Wilkinson SC, Anderson JM, Scardelis SP, Tisiafouli M, Taylor A, Wolters V (2002) PLFA profiles of microbial communities in decomposing conifer litters subjected to moisture stress. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 34, 189-200. 

Hülsmann A, Wolters V (1998) The effect of different agricultural practices on oribatid mites. Applied Soil Ecology, 9, 327-332. 


Popular science publications

Viketoft M, Taylor A (2018) Miljöövervakning av markdjur i åkermark. Biodiverse 1, 8-11.

Jonsell M, Berglund H, Caruso A, Rudolphi J, Svensson, Taylor A, Taylor AFS, Thor G, Victorsson J (2013) Stubbrytningens effekter på vedlevande mångfald. (Effects of stump harvesting on biodiversity in dead wood) FAKTA SKOG 7 


Project reports

Faber JH, Cousin I, Meurer KHE, Hendriks CMJ, Bispo A, M. Viketoft M, ten Damme L, Montagne D, Hanegraaf MC, Gillikin A, Kuikman P, Obiang-Ndong G, Bengtsson J, Taylor A (2022) Stocktaking for Agricultural Soil Quality and Ecosystem Services Indicators and their Reference Values. EJP SOIL Internal Project SIREN Deliverable 2. Report, 153 pp.

Persson T, Dahlberg A, Hjältén J, Jonsell M, Lenoir L, Malmström A, Rudolphi J, Svensson M, Taylor A (2017) High species richness in spruce stumps. IN: Persson T, Palmér CH, Lithell C (eds.) Stubbskörd - hur påverkas klimat och miljö? Institutionen för ekologi, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet Uppsala. p 54-66.

Persson T, Dahlberg A, Hjältén J, Jonsell M, Lenoir L, Malmström A, Rudolphi J, Svensson M, Taylor A (2017) High species richness in spruce stumps. IN: Persson T, Egnel G, Lithell C (eds.) Stump Harvesting, Impact on Climate and Environment, IEA Bioenergy Task 43: 2017: 02, p 54-66.

Persson T, Dahlberg A, Hjältén J, Jonsell M, Lenoir L, Malmström A, Rudolphi J, Svensson M, Taylor A (2017) Hög artmångfald i granstubbar (High species diversity in spruce stumps) IN: Persson T, Palmér CH, Lithell C (red.). Stubbskörd - hur påverkas klimat och miljö? Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (SLU). ISBN 978-91-576-9454-6, pp 56-65.

Jonsson M, Friberg H, Andersson B, Andersson L, Viketoft M, Taylor A, Bommarco R, Glimskär A Glimskär A (2015) Invasiva arter och samordning kring växtskydd i miljöövervakning för åkermark (Invasive species and coordination of plant protection in environmental monitoring for arable land). Report for the Swedish Board of Agriculture.

Taylor A, Glimskär A, Viketoft M, Friberg H, Andersson B, Jonsson M, Bommarco R, Andersson L, Hedström Ringvall A (2014) Utformning av miljöövervakningsprogram för biologisk mångfald och skadegörare i och vid åkermark (Design of environmental monitoring programs for biodiversity and pests on arable land). Report for the Swedish Board of Agriculture.

Taylor AR, Taylor AFS (2011) Relationship between stump diameter and diversity of invertebrates and fungi. Project P30655-1 for the Swedish Energy Agency.

Persson T, Lenoir L, Malmström A, Taylor A (2011) Are decomposing stumps hot-spots for forest biodiversity. Project P30475-1 for the Swedish Energy Agency.

Jones C, Allard AS, Gilek M, Gunnarsson J, Lenoir L, Persson T, Taylor A, Yesilova H (2009) Tillämpning av metodik för miljöriskbedömning på utvalda förorenade områden, Naturvårdsverkets program "Hållbar Sanering". Hållbar Sanering, Naturvårdsverket, Report 5983, (Application of a method for the assessment of environmental risks on contaminated areas, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency).

Persson T, Lenoir L, Taylor A (2007) Delrapport från Fas 1 av Metodik för Miljöriskbedömning, ett projekt i Naturvårdsverkets program "Hållbar Sanering". Hållbar Sanering, Naturvårdsverket. (Sustainable Decontamination, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency).

Persson T, Lenoir L, Taylor A (2007) Bioturbation in different ecosystems at Forsmark and Oskarshamn. Svensk kärnbränslehantering AB (Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co), Stockholm, SKB Report, R-06-123.


Book chapters

Wolters V, Pflug A, Taylor AR, Schroeter D (2000) Diversity and role of the decomposer food web. In: Schulze, E-D (ed.) Carbon and nitrogen cycling in European forest ecosystems. Ecological studies 142. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 366-381.

Wolters V,  Anderson JM, Bengtsson J, Gourbière F, Kallimanis AS, N. Lindberg N, Persson T, Pflug A, Schröter D, Sgardelis SP, Stamou GP, Taylor AR, Tsiafouli MA, van Maanen A, Wilkinson A (2000)  GLOBIS - Global Change and Biodiversity in Soils. In: Sutton MA, Moreno JM, van der Putten WH, Struwe S (eds.) Terrestrial ecosystem research in Europe: success, challenges and policy, Edited by, 01/2000: pages 128 - 131; Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities., ISBN: 92-828-9570-X


If you feel like blowing your mind look at this cool webpage of the small and tiny made wonderfully visible: A chaos of delight -

Earthworms and other soil organisms at work:      


Related pages:


Head of department, Researcher at the Department of Ecology; NJ, Ekosystems Ecology Unit
Telephone: +4618672216
Postal address:
Inst för Ekologi, Box 7044
750 07 UPPSALA
Visiting address: Ulls Väg 16, Uppsala