Effect of beneficial Soil Organisms on the Yield of Clover and Grass Dominated Grasslands


Millions of microbes colonize the soil and play a major role for soil fertility. The significance of soil microbial diversity for the functioning of agricultural and natural ecosystems is still poorly understood and soil microbial communities can be considered as a black box. Unraveling what soil microbes are doing in this black box has been identified as one of the major research areas in science, comparable to the search for life on Mars (Wagg et al. 2014, PNAS 111(14):5266-5270).

We investigate in this project:

  • if crop yield of clover and grass dominated grasslands is correlated with the microbial communities in the soil
  • if the sustainability of agricultural systems can be improved by increasing microbial diversity in soil
  • if crop yield and nutrient content of plants can be enhanced by increasing microbial diversity in soil

Cameron Wagg and Bernhard Schmid (Biology of Species Interactions, Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich)