Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Soil fauna: key to new carbon models
    Filser, Juliane ; Faber, J.H. ; Tiunov, Alexei V. ; Brussaard, L. ; Frouz, J. ; Deyn, G.B. de; Uvarov, Alexei V. ; Berg, Matty P. ; Lavelle, Patrick ; Loreau, M. ; Wall, D.H. ; Querner, Pascal ; Eijsackers, Herman ; Jimenez, Juan Jose - \ 2016
    SOIL 2 (2016). - ISSN 2199-3971 - p. 565 - 582.
    Soil organic matter (SOM) is key to maintaining soil fertility, mitigating climate change, combatting land degradation, and conserving above- and below-ground biodiversity and associated soil processes and ecosystem services. In order to derive management options for maintaining these essential services provided by soils, policy makers depend on robust, predictive models identifying key drivers of SOM dynamics. Existing SOM models and suggested guidelines for future SOM modelling are defined mostly in terms of plant residue quality and input and microbial decomposition, overlooking the significant regulation provided by soil fauna. The fauna controls almost any aspect of organic matter turnover, foremost by regulating the activity and functional composition of soil microorganisms and their physical–chemical connectivity with soil organic matter. We demonstrate a very strong impact of soil animals on carbon turnover, increasing or decreasing it by several dozen percent, sometimes even turning C sinks into C sources or vice versa. This is demonstrated not only for earthworms and other larger invertebrates but also for smaller fauna such as Collembola. We suggest that inclusion of soil animal activities (plant residue consumption and bioturbation altering the formation, depth, hydraulic properties and physical heterogeneity of soils) can fundamentally affect the predictive outcome of SOM models. Understanding direct and indirect impacts of soil fauna on nutrient availability, carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions and plant growth is key to the understanding of SOM dynamics in the context of global carbon cycling models. We argue that explicit consideration of soil fauna is essential to make realistic modelling predictions on SOM dynamics and to detect expected non-linear responses of SOM dynamics to global change. We present a decision framework, to be further developed through the activities of KEYSOM, a European COST Action, for when mechanistic SOM models include soil fauna. The research activities of KEYSOM, such as field experiments and literature reviews, together with dialogue between empiricists and modellers, will inform how this is to be done.


    Intensive agriculture reduces soil biodiversity across Europe
    Tsiafouli, M.A. ; Thébault, E. ; Sgardelis, S. ; Ruiter, P.C. de; Putten, W.H. van der; Birkhofer, K. ; Hemerik, L. ; Vries, F.T. de; Bardgett, R.D. ; Brady, M. ; Bjornlund, L. ; Bracht Jörgensen, H. ; Christensen, S. ; Herfelt, T. D'; Hotes, S. ; Hol, W.H.G. ; Frouz, J. ; Liiri, M. ; Mortimer, S.R. ; Setälä, H. ; Stary, J. ; Tzanopoulos, J. ; Uteseny, C. ; Wolters, V. ; Hedlund, K. - \ 2015
    Global Change Biology 21 (2015)2. - ISSN 1354-1013 - p. 973 - 985.
    food-web structure - land-use intensity - taxonomic distinctness - community structure - phylogenetic diversity - arthropod communities - temporal variability - 7-year period - ecosystem - management
    Soil biodiversity plays a key role in regulating the processes that underpin the delivery of ecosystem goods and services in terrestrial ecosystems. Agricultural intensification is known to change the diversity of individual groups of soil biota, but less is known about how intensification affects biodiversity of the soil food web as a whole, and whether or not these effects may be generalized across regions. We examined biodiversity in soil food webs from grasslands, extensive, and intensive rotations in four agricultural regions across Europe: in Sweden, the UK, the Czech Republic and Greece. Effects of land-use intensity were quantified based on structure and diversity among functional groups in the soil food web, as well as on community-weighted mean body mass of soil fauna. We also elucidate land-use intensity effects on diversity of taxonomic units within taxonomic groups of soil fauna. We found that between regions soil food web diversity measures were variable, but that increasing land-use intensity caused highly consistent responses. In particular, land-use intensification reduced the complexity in the soil food webs, as well as the community-weighted mean body mass of soil fauna. In all regions across Europe, species richness of earthworms, Collembolans, and oribatid mites was negatively affected by increased land-use intensity. The taxonomic distinctness, which is a measure of taxonomic relatedness of species in a community that is independent of species richness, was also reduced by land-use intensification. We conclude that intensive agriculture reduces soil biodiversity, making soil food webs less diverse and composed of smaller bodied organisms. Land-use intensification results in fewer functional groups of soil biota with fewer and taxonomically more closely related species. We discuss how these changes in soil biodiversity due to land-use intensification may threaten the functioning of soil in agricultural production systems.
    Soil Food Web Changes during Spontaneous Succession at Post Mining Sites: A Possible Ecosystem Engineering Effect on Food Web Organization?
    Frouz, J. ; Thébault, E. ; Pizl, V. ; Adl, S. ; Cajthaml, T. ; Baldrián, P. ; Hánel, L. ; Starý, J. ; Tajovský, K. ; Materna, J. ; Nováková, A. ; Ruiter, P.C. de - \ 2013
    PLoS ONE 8 (2013)11. - ISSN 1932-6203 - 18 p.
    northernmost record - middle eocene - miocene - oligocene - strenulagidae - ochotonidae - evolution - revision - deposits - poland
    Lagomorphs (a group that consists of pikas, hares, rabbits and allies) are notable for their conservative morphology retained for most of their over 50 million years evolutionary history. On the other hand, their remarkable morphological uniformity partly stems from a considerable number of homoplasies in cranial and dental structures that hamper phylogenetic analyses. The premolar foramen, an opening in the palate of lagomorphs, has been characterized as an important synapomorphy of one clade, Ochotonidae (pikas). Within Lagomorpha, however, its phylogenetic distribution is much wider, the foramen being present not only in all ochotonids but also in leporids and stem taxa; its morphology and incidence also varies considerably across the order, even intraspecifically. In this study, we provide a broad survey of the taxonomic distribution of the premolar foramen in extant and fossil Lagomorpha and describe in detail the morphological variation of this character within the group. Micro-computed tomography was used to examine the hard palate and infraorbital groove morphology in Poelagus (Leporidae) and Ochotona. Scans revealed the course and contacts of the canal behind the premolar foramen and structural differences between the two crown clades. We propose that the premolar foramen has evolved independently in several lineages of Lagomorpha, and we discuss development and function of this foramen in the lagomorph skull. This study shows the importance of comprehensive studies on phylogenetically informative non-dental characters in Lagomorpha.
    Soil food web properties explain ecosystem services across European land use systems
    Vries, F.T. de; Thebault, E.M.C. ; Liiri, M. ; Birkhofer, K. ; Tsiafouli, M. ; Bjornlund, L. ; Jorgensen, H.B. ; Brady, M.V. ; Christensen, S. ; Ruiter, P.C. de; Hertefeldt, T. d'; Frouz, J. ; Hedlund, K. ; Hemerik, L. ; Hol, W.H.G. ; Hotes, S. ; Mortimer, S.R. ; Setälä, H. ; Sgardelis, S.P. ; Uteseny, K. ; Putten, W.H. van der; Wolters, V. ; Bardgett, R.D. - \ 2013
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110 (2013)35. - ISSN 0027-8424 - p. 14296 - 14301.
    nitrogen mineralization - carbon sequestration - bacterial community - mycorrhizal fungi - biomass - scale - intensification - decomposition - biodiversity - agriculture
    Intensive land use reduces the diversity and abundance of many soil biota, with consequences for the processes that they govern and the ecosystem services that these processes underpin. Relationships between soil biota and ecosystem processes have mostly been found in laboratory experiments and rarely are found in the field. Here, we quantified, across four countries of contrasting climatic and soil conditions in Europe, how differences in soil food web composition resulting from land use systems (intensive wheat rotation, extensive rotation, and permanent grassland) influence the functioning of soils and the ecosystem services that they deliver. Intensive wheat rotation consistently reduced the biomass of all components of the soil food web across all countries. Soil food web properties strongly and consistently predicted processes of C and N cycling across land use systems and geographic locations, and they were a better predictor of these processes than land use. Processes of carbon loss increased with soil food web properties that correlated with soil C content, such as earthworm biomass and fungal/bacterial energy channel ratio, and were greatest in permanent grassland. In contrast, processes of N cycling were explained by soil food web properties independent of land use, such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and bacterial channel biomass. Our quantification of the contribution of soil organisms to processes of C and N cycling across land use systems and geographic locations shows that soil biota need to be included in C and N cycling models and highlights the need to map and conserve soil biodiversity across the world.
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