Soil protists are by far the most diverse eukaryotic microbes in soils. Up to 100,000 protists are estimated to live in a single gram of soil showing their enormous abundance. They are suggested to play key roles in nutrient cycling as major grazers of bacteria, thereby channeling nutrients up the soil food web. Furthermore, soil protists have been shown to profoundly stimulate plant growth indicating an enormous importance for soil and ecosystem functioning.
Nevertheless, knowledge on the diversity, community structure and detailed function of soil protists remain unknown and soil protists remain among the least investigated organisms. Protists are also strongly ignored by soil biologists and terrestrial ecologists and therefore remain a black box in the more general scientific field of soil sciences.
Within our initiative we aim at stimulating research on soil protists in order to bridge the knowledge gaps and transfer this knowledge to a more general audience.
The 1st Soil Protist Symposium took place in June 2016 in Moscow, Russia.