Universität Innsbruck

Applied Soil Ecology

Functional and structural biodiversity

Research in Costa Rica and Mexico investigated the biodiversity of tropical soils and the evolution of recently deglaciated soils, respectively. Other studies focused on the characterization of microbial communities in cold soils (see section on psychrophiles). The microbiota of soil animals (Diplopoda, Lumbricidae) and the surrounding soil were analysed to understand the decomposition gap and C pools/fluxes occurring after land-use change in alpine pastures. Methodological innovations like soil volatilomics and a criticism of community level physiological profilingalter the views on soil functional traits.

Climate change

Climate change research that had started 20 years ago was continued with a study on the impact of elevated CO2 on the soil microbiota of a poplar plantation. This research is being continued with studies on the impact of waste recycling and renewable energies on soil as a source or sink of carbon. The combination of methods from classical soil microbiology with those applied to handle archaea and anaerobic bacteria offers exciting new fields of investigations, especially in connection with greenhouse gases and methane production in soils.