New Iowa State research: Human activity affecting microbes in soil

This is how many organisms may live in one cup of undisturbed native soil: That explains why we are still working on understanding what's happening in the soil and how the things we do affect that.  Now, new research from an Iowa State University ecologist shows that agricultural inputs such as nitrogen and phosphorus alter soil microbial communities, which may have unintended environmental consequences. Adding nitrogen and phosphorus, commonly used as fertilizers, to the soil beneath grasslands shifts the natural communities of fungi, bacteria and microscopic organisms called archaea that live in the soil, according to Kirsten Hofmockel, an associate professor in the ISU Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology. Hofmockel and other scientists associated with the Nutrient Network, a global grid of scientists who investigate ecological responses in grasslands around the world, revealed that microbial community responses to fertilizer inputs were globally consistent and reflected plant responses to the inputs. Many soil microbes perform helpful functions to their native ecosystems, and altering those microbial communities may have negative environmental consequences, Hofmockel said. “These shifts are somewhat predictable, and this helps us to understand how human activity can affect microbial communities in the soil, something that isn’t very well understood,” she said. For instance, some soil microbes change the form of nitrogen in the

All the grazing management tips you need

Subscribe to read this article and over 2,500 more!

Subscribe today!

If you're already a subscriber, log in here.

One thought on “New Iowa State research: Human activity affecting microbes in soil

  1. Thanks for posting this. While we may see great benefits from fertilizers and other nutrient supplements in the short-run with improved growth of plant life, it’s important for us to continue to better understand the long-term effects that could come from these activities on the micro level. If certain activities have the potential to have negative effects that manifest later, it will be crucial to look into how such effects can be avoided in the future.

Comments are closed.

Translate »