Subproject 3 – Soil fauna and function
ICON Subproject 3 studies the effect of management diversification on the structure and function of the fauna in the soil of rice-based ecosystems. A particular focus is on a thorough understanding of the factors shaping below-ground communities, and on the mediation of C- and N-flow by soil biota. A fundamental assumption of SP3 is that the development of a native soil fauna with a high inherent potential for interactive regulation significantly contributes to the sustainability of new rice production systems with altered flooding regimes and crops. Potential disservices of the soil fauna will also be tested. SP3 results gained during ICON Phase I prove the important role of the soil fauna in rice-based ecosystems, but the fact that the edaphic community was still in a very early stage of succession hampered far reaching evaluations. Investigations on this issue are thus planned to be continued. SP3-specific objectives for ICON Phase II are: (1) To understand, predict and generalize (across geographic gradients) successional changes and establishment of the soil invertebrate community in response to altered management regimes in rice-based agro-ecosystems (incl. trophic effects); (2) To experimentally quantify indirect, non-trophic effects of soil invertebrates on ecological processes via bioturbation; (3) To assess the potential of the edaphic fauna for facilitating or reducing the efficiency of the ICON mitigation measures. SP3 will strictly adhere to the modified ICON framework, incl. the new research question on up- and downscaling.
Department of Animal Ecology
Research Centre for BioSystems, Land Use and Nutrition
Justus Liebig University Giessen