What are the most common types of soil organisms? Read the article and you will have your answer, as well as an answer do the question: what is the important role that all these types of soil organisms play?
Soil is a home to many different types of living things, which are known as soil organisms and inhabit soil either for a certain period, or even for all of their lives. Soil environments host some of the greatest and most abundant biodiversities on earth, many of which have not even been identified up until this point. There are several criteria that can be used to classify the various types of soil organisms. These creatures that live in the soil range in size, since they can be microscopic cells (such as bacteria, algae, fungi, protozoa) up to more complex organisms like earthworms and insects. Thus, all these numerous types of soil organisms can be classified into three arbitrary groups according to their size:
a) micro-organisms that are less than 2mm in width; this category consists of bacteria, cyanobacteria, fungi, protozoa, algae and slime moulds.
b) meso-organisms that range from 0.2 to 2mm in width, such as nematodes, rotifers, springtails, mites and small arthropods.
c) and macro-organisms that are bigger than 2mm in width. Snails, earthworms, large insects and centipedes are included in the category.
All these types of soil organisms play an important role in maintaining fertility, structure, drainage and aeration of soil. These creatures perform a variety of jobs starting from the digestion of the decaying organic material of plants, up to the disintegration of plants and the conversion of stored nutrients into forms that will become usable to other plants. Therefore, they play an essential role for the rejuvenation of earth’s ground. Nevertheless, among these soil organisms, there are also certain pests that can be very harmful to crops. Examples of such pests are snails, root aphids, and caterpillars that cause damages to the plants since they literally feed on them. Hence, based on the ecological functions that soil organisms perform, they can also be classified in another way:
a) herbivores, that are plant-eating organisms
b) detritivores, that survive by eating dead plant debris
c) predators, that subsist by hunting and eating animals
d) fungivores that eat fungi
e) bacterivores that eat bacteria
f) parasites and pests of corps that live off other organisms.
Last but not least, there is one more sub-types besides the types of soil organisms that were mentioned, that is also worth mentioning:
a) heterotrophs organisms that rely on organic compounds for their C and energy needs
b) autotrophs organisms that procure their needs in C mainly from CO2, and their energy from photosynthesis or oxidation of various elements.
If you take into consideration the fact that there are so many different types of soil organisms, it’s pretty remarkable how these creatures survive, as is remarkable their contribution to the environment, since they make sure that a thin balanced among nature’s forces is maintained.