|Title||Abiotic controls on the functional structure of soil food webs|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1989|
|Journal||Biology and Fertility of Soils|
|Keywords||abiotic,food webs, anhydrobiosis, article, articles, bacteria,food web, cryptobiosis, food web, abiotic controls, fungi,food web, journal, journals, mite,food web, nematode,food web, protozoa,food web, soil, food web|
The hypothesis that the trophic structure of soil food webs changes as a result of the abiotic environment was examined by reviewing studies of soil biota. In dry soils with a water potential below -1.5 MPa, most bacteria, protozoans, and many species of nematodes are not active. These taxa persist in the soil in a state of anhydrobiosis. Because soil fungi grow at soil water potentials of -6.0 to -8.0 MPa, soil food webs in dry environments appear to be fungal-based and fungal grazers in dry environments appear to be predominantly fungiphagous mites. There is indirect evidence that some species of fungiphagous mites remain inactive in dry soils in a state of "crytobiosis". In habitats where there is insufficient vegetative cover to shade and modify the soil surface, the functional soil food web consists of fungi and a few taxa of soil acari for extended periods of time.