Aarhus Universitets segl

Ecosystem service of soil invertebrates in a changing climate

Main subject area: Agronomy and Environment

Short project description


Understanding the physiology and ecology of soil organisms and their responses to environmental conditions in the soil is important for many aspects of soil ecology nutrient cycling, and soil health in general. Most soil animals are adapted to a life in the soil where humidity is high. In fact, most soil animals considered semi-aquatic animals. Climate models predict that summer soil moisture in many regions will decrease in the future, and the main aim with this project is to investigate the importance of soil water potential (in the range between field capacity to the wilting point) for the performance of soil animals (e.g. survival, growth and reproduction), but also how the ecosystem services that soil animals perform (e.g. food consumption, excretion of ammonium) are influenced by.


The experimental part of the project will investigate performance and function of selected and representative soil animal species subjected to varying soil moisture treatments in a dose-response approach. We have a good selection of species in culture in our laboratory and plenty of experience with this sort of research, so there are many possibilities of designing relevant laboratory experiments. The application of results could include quantification of soil animal functions on a regional scale by including the continuous measurements of environmental conditions (and historic records) at the field stations of Dept. of Agroecology.

Project start

Any time

Physical location of project and students work

Department of Ecoscience, Building 1120, C.F. Møllers Alle 4, AU campus

Extent and type of project

45 ECTS: Experimental theses in which the student is responsible for collection and analysis of his/her own original data.


60 ECTS: Experimental theses in which the student is responsible for planning, trial design and collection and analysis of his/her own original data.