Blind spots in global soil biodiversity and ecosystem function research

Carlos A. Guerra*, Anna Heintz-Buschart, Johannes Sikorski, Antonis Chatzinotas, Nathaly Guerrero-Ramírez, Simone Cesarz, Léa Beaumelle, Matthias C. Rillig, Fernando T. Maestre, Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo, François Buscot, Jörg Overmann, Guillaume Patoine, Helen R.P. Phillips, Marten Winter, Tesfaye Wubet, Kirsten Küsel, Richard D. Bardgett, Erin K. Cameron, Don CowanTine Grebenc, César Marín, Alberto Orgiazzi, Brajesh K. Singh, Diana H. Wall, Nico Eisenhauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations

Abstract

Soils harbor a substantial fraction of the world’s biodiversity, contributing to many crucial ecosystem functions. It is thus essential to identify general macroecological patterns related to the distribution and functioning of soil organisms to support their conservation and consideration by governance. These macroecological analyses need to represent the diversity of environmental conditions that can be found worldwide. Here we identify and characterize existing environmental gaps in soil taxa and ecosystem functioning data across soil macroecological studies and 17,186 sampling sites across the globe. These data gaps include important spatial, environmental, taxonomic, and functional gaps, and an almost complete absence of temporally explicit data. We also identify the limitations of soil macroecological studies to explore general patterns in soil biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships, with only 0.3% of all sampling sites having both information about biodiversity and function, although with different taxonomic groups and functions at each site. Based on this information, we provide clear priorities to support and expand soil macroecological research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3870
JournalNature Communications
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy

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