The Soil Biology Primer is an introduction to the living component of soil and By Dr Elaine Ingham Introduction to the Soil Foodweb – downloadable mp3s. Soil Biology Primer. Front Cover. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, – Soil biology. The online Soil Biology Primer is an introduction to the living component of soil and Elaine R. Ingham; Andrew R. Moldenke, Oregon State University; Clive A.

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Bacteria, fungi, and other soil dwellers transform and release nutrients from organic matter see photo. One or two worms will hatch from a cocoon after several weeks. A food web diagram shows a series of conversions represented by arrows of energy and nutrients as one organism eats another see next page. Very few in coniferous forests. They eat the other two types of protozoa, as well as bacteria. Humus is not readily decomposed because it is either physically protected inside of aggregates or chemically too complex to be used by most organisms.

Several hundred yards in deciduous forests. Many of these arthropods commute inghamm to forage within herbaceous vegetation above, or even high in the canopy of trees.

Sub-surface soil dwellers are associated primarily with the rhizos- phere the soil volume immediately adjacent to roots. Several researchers have proposed approaches to assessing the status of soil quality by counting the number of nematodes in different families or trophic groups.


Make a pitfall trap by sinking a pint- or quart- sized container such as inghham yogurt cup into the Pitfall trap ground so the rim is level with the soil surface. A predacious mite feeds on a springtail. Like bacteria, fimgi are important for immobilizing, or retaining, nutrients in the soil.

Soil Biology Primer |

The Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Soil and Water Conservation Society thank many individuals, including the following, for their contributions. This is a Community Contributed Resource ECHOcommunity represents a vast network of agriculture and community development practitioners around the world.

Fungi perform important services related to water dynamics, nutrient cycling, and disease suppression. Biodiversity is measured by the total number of species, as well as the relative abun- dance of these species, and the number of functional groups of organisms. Original cover as primdr by NRCS.

It is primrr simplified way of thinking of the food web. These can be compared to the benefits of biological services provided, such as nutrient cycling, disease suppression, and soil structure enhancement. Elaime per- fectly round holes drilled through the fungal cell wall, much like the puncture marks on the neck of a vampire’s victim. A healthy soil effectively supports plant growth, protects air and water quality, and ensures human and animal health.

Marcel Dekker and Sons, New York.

Soil Biology Primer

Soil fungi can be grouped into tliree general functional groups based on how they get their energy. Rugose harvester ants are scavengers rather than predators. Barron, University of Guelph, Ontario. Fungal hyphae have advantages over bacteria in some soil environments. The mole-cricket burrows through soil using front legs that have evolved to resemble those of moles. They are typically small and are adapted to the highly variable moisture and temperature conditions at the soil surface.


Mother scorpions, centipedes and spiders are ferocious predators that frequently provide meticulous care of their offspring. The rhizosphere is the narrow region of soil directly around roots see photo. Fungal hyphae physically bind soil particles together, creating stable aggregates that help increase water infiltration and soil water holding capacity. Humus or humified organic matter: W chair of editorial committee.

Fungal hyphae and root hairs bind together and help stabilize larger aggregates. Bacteria Microscopic, single-celled organisms that are mostly non- photosynthetic. One major group of mycorrhizae, the ectomycorrhizae, Figure 3 grow on the surface layers of the roots and are commonly associated with trees.

Springer-Verlag, New York, p.

Land management practices affect the formation of mycor- boilogy. Fungi are aerobic organisms. Vampyrellids attack many fungi, including root pathogens such as Gaeumannomyces graminis, shown in the photo.