Soil health in orchards

Collembola as bio-indicators in orchards

The benefits of soil ecosystem research to agricultural productivity, conservation planning, the management of global change, and the maintenance of ecosystem services have been demonstrated internationally. Together with mites, Collembola (springtails) make up 90% of the micro-arthropod population in soils and play a fundamental role in terrestrial ecosystem functioning. Collembola have proven to be useful model organisms. Thus, the purpose of this project is to use selected Collembola to investigate their functional roles in response to different management strategies in orchard sites.

Mr Abdul Jacobs taking his first soil and leaf litter sample for his M.Sc.

Tullgren funnel extraction of samples at Stellenbosch University. Photo: Abdul Jacobs.

An example of how it looks under the microscope after a Tullgren extraction

This project will focus on the Collembola. This sample shown here contains at least six different species of Collembola. Photos: Abdul Jacobs.