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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    Towards valuation of biodiversity in agricultural soils : A case for earthworms
    Plaas, Elke ; Meyer-Wolfarth, Friederike ; Banse, Martin ; Bengtsson, Jan ; Bergmann, Holger ; Faber, Jack ; Potthoff, Martin ; Runge, Tania ; Schrader, Stefan ; Taylor, Astrid - \ 2019
    Ecological Economics 159 (2019). - ISSN 0921-8009 - p. 291 - 300.
    Economic value - Ecosystem engineers - Ecosystem services - Soil biodiversity - Soil management practices - Sustainability

    Soil biodiversity is deteriorating in Europe due to an on-going intensification of agriculture, climate change and food production supporting measures of the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Nevertheless, the CAP tries to take biodiversity into account via proposing a range of agri-environmental measures. These ES contribute to food security, climate change mitigation, water retention and plant biomass growth. Healthy soils also help to prevent erosion, desertification, and landslides and to stabilise crop yields. The provision of ES by soil biota is a result of their impact on soil processes in interaction with soil conditions as well as soil management practices of the farmers such as tillage or crop rotations. Some taxa amongst soil biota play key roles in regulating soil processes. With respect to biocontrol of soil-borne pests, the earthworm species Lumbricus terrestris is known to play an important role in suppressing toxigenic plant pathogens, such as Fusarium culmorum and its mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON). We highlight the importance of earthworms for pest control to conceptualise and show how farmers’ management practices influence soil ecosystem services and outline how this can be examined in a socio-ecological context by providing a concrete example of an economical evaluation of ES provided by earthworms.

    The impact of cattle dung pats on earthworm distribution in grazed pastures
    Bacher, M.G. ; Fenton, O. ; Bondi, G. ; Creamer, R.E. ; Karmarkar, M. ; Schmidt, O. - \ 2018
    BMC Ecology 18 (2018)1. - ISSN 1472-6785
    Earthworms - Grassland - Lumbricidae - Population aggregation - Populations - Sampling - Soil biodiversity - Soil fauna - Spatial distribution

    Background: Grazed grassland management regimes can have various effects on soil fauna. For example, effects on earthworms can be negative through compaction induced by grazing animals, or positive mediated by increases in sward productivity and cattle dung pats providing a food source. Knowledge gaps exist in relation to the behaviour of different earthworm species i.e. their movement towards and aggregation under dung pats, the legacy effects of pats and the spatial area of recruitment. The present study addressed these knowledge gaps in field experiments, over 2 years, using natural and simulated dung pats on two permanent, intensively grazed pastures in Ireland. Results: Dung pats strongly affected spatial earthworm distribution, with up to four times more earthworms aggregating beneath pats, than in the control locations away from pats. In these earthworm communities comprising 11 species, temporally different aggregation and dispersal patterns were observed, including absence of individual species from control locations, but no clear successional responses. Epigeic species in general, but also certain species of the anecic and endogeic groups were aggregating under dung. Sampling after complete dung pat disappearance (27 weeks after application) suggested an absence of a dung pat legacy effect on earthworm communities. Based on species distributions, the maximum size of the recruitment area from which earthworms moved to pats was estimated to be 3.8 m2 per dung pat. Since actual grazing over 6 weeks would result in the deposition of about 300 dung pats per ha, it is estimated that a surface area of 1140 m2 or about 11% of the total grazing area can be influenced by dung pats in a given grazing period. Conclusions: This study showed that the presence of dung pats in pastures creates temporary hot spots in spatial earthworm species distribution, which changes over time. The findings highlight the importance of considering dung pats, temporally and spatially, when sampling earthworms in grazed pastures. Published comparisons of grazed and cut grasslands probably reached incorrect conclusions by ignoring or deliberately avoiding dung pats. Furthermore, the observed intense aggregation of earthworms beneath dung pats suggests that earthworm functions need to be assessed separately at these hot spots.

    Priorities for research in soil ecology
    Eisenhauer, Nico ; Antunes, Pedro M. ; Bennett, Alison E. ; Birkhofer, Klaus ; Bissett, Andrew ; Bowker, Matthew A. ; Caruso, Tancredi ; Chen, Baodong ; Coleman, David C. ; Boer, Wietse de; Ruiter, Peter de; DeLuca, Thomas H. ; Frati, Francesco ; Griffiths, Bryan S. ; Hart, Miranda M. ; Hättenschwiler, Stephan ; Haimi, Jari ; Heethoff, Michael ; Kaneko, Nobuhiro ; Kelly, Laura C. ; Leinaas, Hans Petter ; Lindo, Zoë ; Macdonald, Catriona ; Rillig, Matthias C. ; Ruess, Liliane ; Scheu, Stefan ; Schmidt, Olaf ; Seastedt, Timothy R. ; Straalen, Nico M. van; Tiunov, Alexei V. ; Zimmer, Martin ; Powell, Jeff R. - \ 2017
    Pedobiologia 63 (2017). - ISSN 0031-4056 - p. 1 - 7.
    Aboveground-belowground interactions - Biodiversity–ecosystem functioning - Biogeography - Chemical ecology - Climate change - Ecosystem services - Global change - Microbial ecology - Novel environments - Plant-microbe interactions - Soil biodiversity - Soil food web - Soil management - Soil processes
    The ecological interactions that occur in and with soil are of consequence in many ecosystems on the planet. These interactions provide numerous essential ecosystem services, and the sustainable management of soils has attracted increasing scientific and public attention. Although soil ecology emerged as an independent field of research many decades ago, and we have gained important insights into the functioning of soils, there still are fundamental aspects that need to be better understood to ensure that the ecosystem services that soils provide are not lost and that soils can be used in a sustainable way. In this perspectives paper, we highlight some of the major knowledge gaps that should be prioritized in soil ecological research. These research priorities were compiled based on an online survey of 32 editors of Pedobiologia – Journal of Soil Ecology. These editors work at universities and research centers in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. The questions were categorized into four themes: (1) soil biodiversity and biogeography, (2) interactions and the functioning of ecosystems, (3) global change and soil management, and (4) new directions. The respondents identified priorities that may be achievable in the near future, as well as several that are currently achievable but remain open. While some of the identified barriers to progress were technological in nature, many respondents cited a need for substantial leadership and goodwill among members of the soil ecology research community, including the need for multi-institutional partnerships, and had substantial concerns regarding the loss of taxonomic expertise.
    Selection of biological indicators appropriate for European soil monitoring
    Stone, D. ; Ritz, K. ; Griffiths, B.G. ; Orgiazzi, A. ; Creamer, R.E. - \ 2016
    Applied Soil Ecology 97 (2016). - ISSN 0929-1393 - p. 12 - 22.
    Indicators - Logical sieve - Monitoring - Soil biodiversity - Soil ecosystem function

    The selection of biological indicators for monitoring progress towards policy goals for soil quality should be without bias and in line with individual scenarios of need. Here we describe the prescription of a suite of appropriate indicators for potential application in such monitoring schemes across Europe. We applied a structured framework of assessment and ranking ( viz. a 'logical sieve'), building upon published data and a new survey taken from a wide section of the global soil biodiversity research and policy community.The top ten indicators included four indicators of biodiversity (three microbial and one meso-faunal) by various methods of measurement, and three indicators of ecological function (Multiple enzyme assay, Multiple substrate-induced respiration profiling, and 'Functional genes by molecular biological means'). Within the techniques assessed, seven out of the top ten indicators made use of molecular methods.

    Soil biodiversity data : Actual and potential use in European and national legislation
    Römbke, Jörg ; Gardi, Ciro ; Creamer, Rachel ; Miko, Ladislav - \ 2016
    Applied Soil Ecology 97 (2016). - ISSN 0929-1393 - p. 125 - 133.
    European Union - Monitoring Program - Soil biodiversity - Standardization

    In the EU-FP7 project EcoFINDERS 81 sites located across Europe were sampled in a standardized way in order to determine and evaluate the local soil biodiversity and associated ecosystem function. The results of this sampling activity give a broad overview on the structure and functions of soil biological communities at European arable, grassland and forest sites. Probably more importantly, a set of indicators (i.e., organism groups and measurement endpoints) were identified, fulfilling criteria such as ecological relevance, practicability, or cost efficiency. In this contribution we want to address two issues: firstly, we review current legalization in the European Union and selected member states that relates to monitoring of soil biodiversity as well as selected individual Member States. Secondly, we discuss which legal tools could benefit from applying the set of soil biology indicators identified in the EcoFINDERS project. Since the withdrawal of the proposed Soil Framework Directive in 2014 there is no common legal approach on how to protect soils - and specifically its ecological functions - in Europe. However, assuming that such a general framework will be in shape in the foreseeable future, we will discuss how the new knowledge of soil biodiversity and in particular its monitoring as identified in the EcoFINDERS project would fit into such a potential legal approach.

    A method of establishing a transect for biodiversity and ecosystem function monitoring across Europe
    Stone, D. ; Blomkvist, P. ; Hendriksen, N.B. ; Bonkowski, M. ; Jørgensen, H.B. ; Carvalho, F. ; Dunbar, M.B. ; Gardi, C. ; Geisen, S. ; Griffiths, R. ; Hug, A.S. ; Jensen, J. ; Laudon, H. ; Mendes, S. ; Morais, P.V. ; Orgiazzi, A. ; Plassart, P. ; Römbke, J. ; Rutgers, M. ; Schmelz, R.M. ; Sousa, J.P. ; Steenbergen, E. ; Suhadolc, M. ; Winding, A. ; Zupan, M. ; Lemanceau, P. ; Creamer, R.E. - \ 2016
    Applied Soil Ecology 97 (2016). - ISSN 0929-1393 - p. 3 - 11.
    Ecosystem function - Europe - Monitoring - Range of soil biodiversity - Soil - Soil biodiversity - Standard operating procedures

    The establishment of the range of soil biodiversity found within European soils is needed to guide EU policy development regarding the protection of soil. Such a base-line should be collated from a wide-ranging sampling campaign to ensure that soil biodiversity from the majority of soil types, land-use or management systems, and European climatic (bio-geographical zones) were included. This paper reports the design and testing of a method to achieve the large scale sampling associated with the establishment of such a baseline, carried out within the remit of the EcoFINDERS project, and outlines points to consider when such a task is undertaken. Applying a GIS spatial selection process, a sampling campaign was undertaken by 13 EcoFINDERS partners across 11 countries providing data on the range of indicators of biodiversity and ecosystem functions including; micro and meso fauna biodiversity, extracellular enzyme activity, PLFA and community level physiological profiling (MicroResp™ and Biolog™). Physical, chemical and bio-geographical parameters of the 81 sites sampled were used to determine whether the model predicted a wide enough range of sites to allow assessment of the biodiversity indicators tested.Discrimination between the major bio-geographical zones of Atlantic and Continental was possible for all land-use types. Boreal and Alpine zones only allowed discrimination in the most common land-use type for that area e.g. forestry and grassland sites, respectively, while the Mediterranean zone did not have enough sites sampled to draw conclusions across all land-use types. The method used allowed the inclusion of a range of land-uses in both the model prediction stage and the final sites sampled. The establishment of the range of soil biodiversity across Europe is possible, though a larger targeted campaign is recommended. The techniques applied within the EcoFINDERS sampling would be applicable to a larger campaign.

    Does soil biology hold the key to optimized slurry management? A manifesto for research
    Harris, J.A. ; Tyrrel, S.F. ; Ritz, K. ; Lanigan, G.J. ; Griffiths, B.S. ; Brennan, F.P. ; Bourdin, F. ; Massey, P.A. ; Moynihan, E.L. ; Rogers, N.E. ; Kibblewhite, M.G. ; Pawlett, M. ; Sakrabani, R. ; Hoekstra, N.J. ; Creamer, R.E. ; Schulte, R.P.O. ; Richards, K.G. - \ 2011
    Soil Use and Management 27 (2011)4. - ISSN 0266-0032 - p. 464 - 469.
    Agriculture - Carbon - Land use - Nutrients - Slurry - Soil biodiversity - Sustainable land use

    The application of agricultural biosolids to land is likely to increase on farms as pressures intensify to manage nutrients and carbon, especially with regard to slurry. Although much work has been carried out in this area, it has tended to focus on specific aspects of the application-use cycle, without a coherent framework and notably the role of soil biology has been little studied in this context, or considered appropriately in the development and application of slurry management systems. In this review article we present a hypothesis that the configuration of the soil microbial community is determined by the history of long-term inputs to which the community has been subjected and that the resultant configuration determines the instantaneous responses of the associated soil to the presence of slurries, and posit a set of critical questions which would effectively test this.

    Assessing soil biodiversity across Great Britain : National trends in the occurrence of heterotrophic bacteria and invertebrates in soil
    Black, H.I.J. ; Parekh, N.R. ; Chaplow, J.S. ; Monson, F. ; Watkins, J. ; Creamer, R. ; Potter, E.D. ; Poskitt, J.M. ; Rowland, P. ; Ainsworth, G. ; Hornung, M. - \ 2003
    Journal of Environmental Management 67 (2003)3. - ISSN 0301-4797 - p. 255 - 266.
    Acari - Aggregate vegetation class - Collembola - Environmental zone - Heterotrophic bacteria - Inverterbrate taxa - Major soil group - National - Oribatids - Soil biodiversity - Soil health

    An assessment of the biodiversity of soils was a component of the Countryside Survey 2000 (CS2000). This was the first integrated survey of soil biota and chemical properties at a national scale. A total of 1052 soil samples were collected across Great Britain during CS2000 and analysed for a range of soil microbial and invertebrate characteristics resulting in the production of a series of robust datasets. A principal objective was to use these datasets to investigate relationships between soil biota and environmental factors such as geographical location, vegetation, land use, land cover, soil type and pollutant levels as first stages in characterising the inherent biodiversity of British soils and investigating the potential of soil biodiversity as indicators of soil health at a regional or national scale. Preliminary results for culturable heterotrophic, invertebrate taxa, Acari, Collembola and Oribatid mites are presented here to illustrate the nature of the data collected and the patterns of soil biodiversity in relation to large-scale regional, vegetation and soil characteristics across the British countryside.

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