Department of Soil Quality

Our department consists of two chair groups: Soil Biology & Biological Soil Quality and Soil Chemistry & Chemical Soil Quality. Both groups collaborate in research, education and management.

About us

Our research

Our current research deals with chemical compounds and organisms in soil and their characteristics, behavior and interactions. Important themes are:

  • nutrients
  • contaminants
  • soil particles
  • soil organisms
  • chemical speciation
  • biological transformations
  • bioavailability & mobility
  • soil biodiversity
  • organic matter & soil structure

More research

Our education

The chair groups participate in the following BSc and MSc programs of Wageningen University:

  • BSc Soil, Water, Atmosphere (BBW)
  • BSc Environmental Sciences (BMW)
  • BSc Plant sciences (BPW)
  • MSc Earth a Environment (MEE)
  • MSc Environmental sciences (MES)
  • MSc Climate studies, Biology, Organic agriculture

More education

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Bioturbation is the mixing of (plant) residues into soils and sediments by biotic activity. It is one of the fundamental processes in ecology, as it stimulates decomposition, creates habitats for other (micro)fauna and increases gas- and water flow through the soil.

This time lapse movie shows bioturbation by 3 earthworms species:

  • Lumbricus terrestris (an ’anecic’ earthworm, feeding on leaves and living in deep vertical burrows; 2 individuals present)
  • Lumbricus rubellus (an ’epigeic’ earthworm, feeding on leaves and living in shallow, non-permanent burrows; 2 individuals present)
  • Aporrectodea caliginosa (an ‘endogeic’ earthworm, feeding on decomposed organic matter and living deeper in the soil; 3 individuals present).

Poplar leaves were applied on top of the soil as food for the earthworms. Different soil layers were simulated by mixing a topsoil (rich in organic matter) with quartz sand in various ratios.

The recording lasted 1 month.