Special Issue "Elucidating the Role of Soil Arthropods in Soil Health"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Kyle Wickings
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Entomology, Cornell University, 630 West North Street, Barton Lab, Geneva, NY 14456, USA
Interests: soil animal ecology; soil biogeochemistry; root herbivore ecology and management; belowground biological control
Dr. Katalin Szlavecz
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
Interests: diversity and ecology of soil invertebrates; soil biogeochemical cycling; urban ecosystems; and invasive species

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There has been long-standing interest in better understanding the role of soil arthropods in the monitoring and management of soil health. Soil arthropods are highly sensitive to land-use change and soil management, and thus, they have great potential as indicators of change in soil conditions.  Additionally, through their involvement in nutrient cycling, soil organic matter formation, soil engineering, and biological pest control, soil-dwelling arthropods can contribute broadly to the biogeochemical characteristics and overall suppressiveness of soil. Alternatively, as plant pests, root-feeding arthropods can also influence feedback between plant and soil systems that may ultimately result in changes to soil health status. Despite this awareness, many knowledge gaps remain regarding the mechanistic underpinnings of how soil arthropods govern such processes. Soil health benchmarks and soil biological characteristics often operate over different timescales, and linkages between the two are often difficult to detect. This challenge is also magnified by the fact that many arthropod-mediated effects on soil are either altered by or routed through their interactions with soil microbes. These deficits in mechanistic knowledge are also hindered further by a lag in the development of methods for the detection and monitoring of soil animals.

Recent studies have improved our understanding of the biology and ecology of soil arthropods, along with our ability to monitor and manage belowground arthropod communities for the purpose of enhancing soil and plant health. In this Special Issue, we invite submissions of original research papers, review articles, and perspectives to stimulate discussion and future research efforts across four different areas of soil arthropod research:

  • techniques (e.g., chemical, molecular, and acoustical) for soil arthropod detection and monitoring
  • mechanistic insight into soil arthropod control over carbon cycling and soil organic matter formation, nutrient cycling and soil fertility, soil bioengineering and physical stability, and pest and disease suppression
  • impacts of herbivorous arthropods on soil health
  • soil arthropods as indicators of soil health

Dr. Kyle Wickings
Dr. Katalin Szlavecz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Insects is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • soil arthropod ecology
  • microarthropods
  • root herbivory
  • decomposition
  • soil organic matter
  • nutrient cycling
  • biological control
  • bioengineering
  • suppressive soil
  • bioindicators
  • soil health
  • ecosystem services

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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