Abertay Research Collections >
Research Centres >
SIMBIOS Collection >
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
|Title: ||Microbial distribution in soils: physics and scaling|
|Authors: ||Young, Iain M.|
Crawford, John W.
Spiers, Andrew J.
|Affiliation: ||University of Abertay Dundee. Scottish Informatics, Mathematics, Biology and Statistics Centre|
|Keywords: ||Microbial distribution|
|Issue Date: ||2008|
|Type: ||Book chapter|
|Rights: ||Published version (c)Elsevier, available from http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2113(08)00604-4|
|Citation: ||Young, I.M., et al. 2008. Microbial distribution in soils: physics and scaling. In: D.L. Sparks, ed. Advances in Agronomy. 100. 2008, pp.81-121. Available from http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2113(08)00604-4|
|Abstract: ||In a handful of fertile soil there are billions of microorganisms and yet, even
with a conservative estimate, the surface area covered by these organisms is
considerably less than 1%. What does this tell us about the function of the
physical structure in which soil organisms reside and function, collecting, and
separating micropopulations from each other and from resources? It would
seem that most of the soil is akin to desert regions with little life been
supported on its terrains, yet with vast communities of individuals, from an
amazing array of species, supported in small-scale habitats, connected or
disconnected by saturated or unsaturated pore space over relatively short
time-scales. The biodiversity of these communities remains impressive yet
overall functionally illusive, bar some considerations of inbuilt redundancy.
What is far more impressive is the range of habitats on offer to populations
with short-term evolutionary time frames. The availability of spatially and
temporally diverse habitats probably gives rise to the biodiversity that we see
It is not too far fetched to state that the majority of habitats on Earth (and
indeed extraterrestrial) are revealed in that handful of soil. The key question is
what is the functional consequence of such habitat heterogeneity? To answer
this it is clear that we need to bring together a new discipline that combines the
biology and physics of the soil ecosystem. This biophysical approach, com-
bined, where required, with important mineral-microbe knowledge is needed to
help us understand the mechanisms by which soils remain productive, and to
identify the tipping-points at which there may be no return to sustainability.
This review aims to highlight the importance of addressing the soil ecosys-
tem as a dynamic heterogeneous system focusing on microbiota–habitat
|Appears in Collections:||SIMBIOS Collection|
Science Engineering & Technology Collection
Files in This Item:
There are no files associated with this item.
Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.