The soil fauna

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Date of Original Version



Soil fauna includes earthworms, collembolans, mites, nematodes, and protozoa. These are eukaryotic, heterotrophic, motile organisms that require oxygen for metabolism. Their physical range, habitats, and food resources are constrained by their respective sizes and the availability of pores of appropriate size within the soil. This chapter describes both invertebrate animals that live in the soil and their habitat and additionally examines their activities in the context of the soil foodweb. We focus on the role of soil animals in controlling microbial pathogens, mineralizing nutrients, changing microbial community composition, and enhancing primary production. Like aboveground fauna, the physical structure of the ecosystem places constraints on the activities of the soil fauna, especially in relation to the microflora. As a result of their feeding, burrowing, and movement, the soil fauna also engineer the habitat for the soil microflora, transport beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms, and affect the production of detrital resources from plants.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Principles and Applications of Soil Microbiology, Third Edition