Soil Invertebrates: Kaleidoscope of Adaptations, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Soil Invertebrates

Kaleidoscope of Adaptations, 1st Edition

By Nico M. van Straalen

CRC Press

400 pages | 350 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781482231236
pub: 2019-07-15
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This book places the biodiversity of soil invertebrates in an evolutionary framework, showing the various adaptations to the soil environment. Species radiations are discussed for each of the terrestrializations leading to a lineage of soil invertebrates. Phylogenetic analyses, now becoming available for most of these groups thanks to DNA sequencing, show monophyly of complete soil-living groups in some cases and multiple independent soil adaptations in others. The book includes many classical methods of soil animal enumeration and community surveys developed in the 1970s, which can now be supplemented by physiological and molecular study techniques.

Table of Contents

The selective environment of the soil

The origin of soils

Soil structure, heterogeneity and organic matter

Temperature and humidity gradients

The rhizosphere

Microbial communities

Biodiversity and phylogeny of terrestrialized invertebrate lineages

Fauna of porewater and groundwater

Flatworms and earthworms

Snails and slugs

Spiders, mites and other arachnids

Terrestrial isopods and amphipods


Collembola and other apterygote hexapods h. Beetles

Nest-building insects

Insect larvae

Soil invertebrate populations in space and time

Population dynamics: seasonal and long-term

Aggregation and dispersal mechanisms

Genetic structure

Spatial distribution and isolation by distance

Reproductive and life-history patterns

Body size

Feeding habits

The balance between reproduction and mortality d. Sexual behaviour


Physiological adaptations

Patterns of metabolic rate

Drought tolerance

Cold hardiness

Defence against microbial attack

Adaptation to toxicants and habitat disturbance

Molecular mechanisms of defense


Heavy metals

Indices of disturbance

Soil invertebrates as pests

Conclusion: a kaleidoscope of adaptations in soil

Appendix: Methods of study

Sampling and extraction

Physiological methods

Genomics and transcriptomics

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Animals / General
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Biology / Developmental Biology
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Agriculture / General