The interaction of soil biota and soil structure under global change

Iain M. Young, Eric Blanchart, Claire Chenu, Mark Dangerfield, Carlos Fragoso, Michel Grimaldi, John Ingram, Lucile Jocteur Monrozier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


The structural framework of soil mediates all soil processes, at all relevant scales. The spatio-temporal heterogeneity prevalent in most soils underpins the majority of biological diversity in soil, providing refuge sites for prey against predator, flow paths for biota to move, or be moved, and localized pools of substrate for biota to multiply. Just as importantly, soil biota play a crucial role in mediating soil structure: bacteria and fungi aggregate and stabilize structure at small scales (μm-cm) and earthworms and termites stabilize and create larger-scale structures (mm-m). The stability of this two-way interaction of structure and biota relations is crucial to the sustainability of the ecosystem. Soil is constantly reacting to changes in microclimates, and many of the soil-plant-microbe processes rely on the functioning of subtle chemical and physical gradients. The effect of global change on soil structure-biota interactions may be significant, through alterations in precipitation, temperature events, or land-use. Nonetheless, because of the complexity and the ubiquitous heterogeneity of these interactions, it is difficult to extrapolate from general qualitative predictions of the effects of perturbations to specific reactions. This paper reviews some of the main soil structure-biota interactions, particularly focusing on soil stability, and the role of biota mediating soil structures. The effect of alterations in climate and land-use on these interactions is investigated. Several case studies of the effect of land-use change are presented.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-712
Number of pages10
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-02-15

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • General Environmental Science
  • Environmental Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'The interaction of soil biota and soil structure under global change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this