Towards an evolutionary ecology of life in soil

Crawford, J. W. , Harris, J. A., Ritz, K. and Young, I. M. (2005) Towards an evolutionary ecology of life in soil. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 20(2), pp. 81-87. (doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2004.11.014) (PMID:16701347)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


The soil–microbe system is one of the most diverse components of the terrestrial ecosystem. The origin of this diversity, and its relation to the life-sustaining processes that are mediated by the resident microbial community, is still poorly understood. The inherent complexities necessitate a theoretical framework that integrates ecological and evolutionary approaches and which embraces the physical heterogeneity of the soil environment. Such a framework is currently lacking, although recent advances in theory and experimentation are beginning to identify the essential ingredients. Here, we review and evaluate the relevance of current modelling approaches, and propose a new synthesis of an evolutionary ecology of life in soil. Key elements include an account of dispersal, horizontal gene transfer, and the consideration of the physical and biological components of soil as an integrated complex adaptive system.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Crawford, Professor John
Authors: Crawford, J. W., Harris, J. A., Ritz, K., and Young, I. M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Trends in Ecology and Evolution
ISSN (Online):1872-8383
Published Online:15 December 2004

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record