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A glimpse below… The soil food web Teri C. Balser, Assistant Professor, UW-Madison tcbalser@wisc PowerPoint Presentation
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A glimpse below… The soil food web Teri C. Balser, Assistant Professor, UW-Madison tcbalser@wisc.edu. What is soil biology? What role does it play in soil quality?. Soil organisms are involved in nearly every aspect of soil quality. Structure/Aggregation. Organic matter. Humification.

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slide1

A glimpse below…

The soil food web

Teri C. Balser, Assistant Professor, UW-Madison

tcbalser@wisc.edu

soil organisms are involved in nearly every aspect of soil quality
Soil organisms are involved in nearly every aspect of soil quality

Structure/Aggregation

Organic

matter

Humification

Soil

Community

Nitrate

Leaching

Decomposition

Nutrient cycling

slide4
In order to understand how biology affects our soils - we need to understand a little about the organisms who live there
slide5

Soil is a habitat

Soil particles

Plant roots

Water

slide6

Soil is alive…

For example, in 1g of soil:

>100,000,000 bacterial cells

>11,000 species of bacteria

Also fungi and larger animals

slide7

Who’s there?

Macrofauna:

Soil ‘Engineers’

slide8

Pseudoscorpion

Centipede

Termite

Earthworm

Snail

Vole

Soil Animals

slide9

Soil animals are important for

Decomposition (shredding residues)

Mixing soil (aeration)

Decomposition rate of blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis)

slide10

Who’s there?

Mesofauna:

Soil predators, pathogens, herbivores

slide11

Soil mesofauna

Nematodes

Mites

Protozoa

slide12

Soil mesofauna

Nematodes

  • Soil mesofauna are important for
    • Residue decomposition
    • Predation
    • Pathogenesis

Mites

Protozoa

slide13

Microorganisms:

Soil process controllers

slide14

Soil microorganisms

Fungi

Bacteria

Fungi

slide15

Fungi

  • Filamentous growth

What are the advantages of filamentous habit?

slide16

Fungi

  • Filamentous growth
  • Functionally critical!
  • -Wood degrading
  • -Mycorrhizal association
  • myco (fungus) +
  • rhiza (root)
  • (Symbiotic structure
  • formed by a fungus
  • plus a plant)
roots without mycorrhizae
Roots without mycorrhizae

Source: Harrison et al 1999

roots with mycorrhizae
Roots with mycorrhizae

Source: Harrison et al 1999

slide19

Bacteria

  • Small, single celled
  • ~2µm

What is the importance of small size?

slide21

Bacteria

  • Small, single celled
  • Abundant

Conventional

tillage

Prairie

Bacteria

No-till

Fungi

Forest

slide22

Bacteria

  • Small, single celled
  • Abundant
  • Diverse -
  • taxonomically and functionally!
slide26

THANK YOU!

Ecosystem Microbiology Laboratory, UW-Madison

(www.ecosystem-microbiology.wisc.edu)

Teri C. Balser

tcbalser@wisc.edu

USDA-CREES, NSF, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, NASA

Lab members: Jessica Mentzer, Jenny Kao, Liang Chao, Nicole Craig, Lindsey Moritz, Meredith Schuman, Dr. David Bart, Dr. Daouda Ndaiye, Dr. Harry Read