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Soil Microarthropods and Soil Health: Intersection of Decomposition and Pest Suppression in Agroecosystems

1
Dept. of Plant and Soil Science, University of Vermont, 63 Carrigan Drive, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
2
Dept. of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University, 501 ASI Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2019, 10(12), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10120414
Received: 14 October 2019 / Revised: 5 November 2019 / Accepted: 16 November 2019 / Published: 20 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Elucidating the Role of Soil Arthropods in Soil Health)
Two desirable functions of healthy soil are nutrient cycling and pest suppression. We review relevant literature on the contributions of soil microarthropods to soil health through their intersecting roles in decomposition and nutrient cycling and direct and indirect suppression of plant pests. Microarthropods can impact soil and plant health directly by feeding on pest organisms or serving as alternate prey for larger predatory arthropods. Indirectly, microarthropods mediate the ability of crop plants to resist or tolerate insect pests and diseases by triggering induced resistance and/or contributing to optimal nutritional balance of plants. Soil fauna, including microarthropods, are key regulators of decomposition at local scales but their role at larger scales is unresolved. Future research priorities include incorporating multi-channel omnivory into food web modeling and understanding the vulnerability of soil carbon through global climate change models.
Keywords: microarthropods; decomposition; nutrient mineralization; multi-channel feeding; microbial grazer; alternate prey; detrital shunting microarthropods; decomposition; nutrient mineralization; multi-channel feeding; microbial grazer; alternate prey; detrital shunting
MDPI and ACS Style

Neher, D.A.; Barbercheck, M.E. Soil Microarthropods and Soil Health: Intersection of Decomposition and Pest Suppression in Agroecosystems. Insects 2019, 10, 414.

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