Complex world of soil studied by Colorado State University scientists

FORT COLLINS – As scientist Diana Wall and her team peered at them through microscopes, the trapped tiny creatures feasted on morsels in dirt.

A nematode’s innards bulged full of carbon and nitrogen. A water bear pulsed, devouring algae. Spiderlike mites and springtails jumped – the underground equivalents of zebras and giraffes.

Exploits of these subsurface organisms are a growing preoccupation for scientists because the ecological oomph of soils that people depend on for food, health and water is eroding. Understanding how the tiny creatures work may help restore soil fertility and stop deadly sicknesses.

Read More