Soil biodiversity and functioning of agricultural ecosystems: developing science for evidence based policy

Table of contents

In this research project we characterize soil microbial communities, using high through put sequencing techniques in a wide range of organically and conventionally managed agricultural fields distributed across Switzerland. Subsequently, we tested whether ecosystem functioning (e.g. plant productivity, nutrient acquisition) is enhanced in agricultural soils where we observe enhanced microbial diversity. To test this, experimental ecosystems will be constructed under controlled conditions and soil biodiversity will be manipulated. This research will show whether it is beneficial to have high diversity in agricultural soils.


Jan-Hendrik Dudenhöfer (PhD student)
Sarah Pellkofer (PhD student)

Prof. Dr. Marcel van der Heijden (responsible professor and supervisor for PhD1)
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schmid (responsible professor and supervisor for PhD2)
Cameron Wagg (supervisor)
Dr. Franco Widmer (co-supervisor)
Prof. Dr. Michael Bonkowski (cooperating partner)
Dr. Franz Conen (cooperating partner)