Projects featured here focus on broad global aspects of soil biodiversity with special interest in citizen science and outreach.
African Soil Microbiology Project
The African Soil Microbiology Project was launched in October 2016 at the University of Pretoria. It brings together sceintists from seven sub-Saharan African countries to undertake a broad-scale survey of soil microbiology across the entire African continent, using the latest next-generation DNA sequencing and computational technologies. The project is funded by USAID. For more information, contact project director Prof. Don Cowan.
On 23-25 July 2012, the GSBI, in collaboration with the Wall Lab of Colorado State University, the Fierer Lab of the University of Colorado, Boulder, the Bradford Lab of Yale and the American Museum of Natural History explored the soil biodiversity of Central Park, New York, NY. The group collected over 600 soil samples to map the soil biodiversity of the park. Ongoing processing of samples will be made public soon after completion.
EcoFINDERS, financed by the European Union FP7, with 23 European partners and running from 2011 to 2014, is:
- characterizing the biodiversity of European soils and the normal operating range (NOR) according to soil types, threats, climatic zones and land uses.
determining relationships between soil biodiversity, functioning and ecosystem services.
quantifying the economic values of soil ecosystem services.
evaluating the impacts of human activities on soil biodiversity, functioning and services.
designing policy-relevant and cost-effective indicators for monitoring soil biodiversity, functioning and ecosystem services.
providing environmental managers and administrators with validated soil biodiversity indicators and tools for ecosystem service assessments.
Contact: Scientific Coordinator Dr. Phillippe Lemanceau (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Developed by a team of researchers from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands Institute of Ecology and the University of Iceland, the Tea Bag Index (TBI) project examines decomposition rates around the world. The project is low cost and utilizes citizen science to expand its implementation. Learn more, including how to participate, here: http://www.teatime4science.org/
The University of Helsinki has recently initated a study as part of GLUSEEN, or the Global Urban Soil Ecological Education Network. The study will look into the effects that urban environmental changes have on decomposition and soil community structure.
Left: Teabag deployment in Baltimore. Right: Preparing teabags for decomposition study.
At the fifth International Oligochaeta Taxonomy Meeting (IOTM) in 2011, Robert J. Blakemore presented a call for the Census of Soil Invertebrates (COSI). The consensus will provide a central registry for soil fauna. Preliminary attempts to provide a soil fauna matrix were presented in 2007 and a compellation resource on earthworms is freely available online.
Life Under Your Feet provides soil ecology information, eduation materials and live reseach data. They are currently collecting data from a network of wireless sensors measuring the environmental conditions in the soil.
Currently in beta mode avaiable from Diversitas, Map of Life allows users to examine global biodiversity across all scales in all ecoystems.
Grupo Faro has started a new initiative to study the soil biodiversity of the Wamani Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador. The group will teach the Wamani people how to sample soil invertebrates and monitor the population variations. This collaboration will occur over the span of a year and hopefully lead to a greater understanding of the region's soil biota.
Left: The people of Wmani measuring pH and moisture in the soil. Right: Parabiologists attending a training session with Grupo Faro biologist, Gabriela Erazo.