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The sold-out science festival for children 'Expeditie NEXT' took over the historic Dutch city of Franeker earlier this month.
Nearly 1000 'citizen scientists' sent in their observations this year on Soil Animal Days 2019. And a surprisingly high number of people tried to do something in return for the vital services these soil creatures provide for us.
Tiny predators in the soil can literally sniff out their prey: soil bacteria, which communicate with each other using scent. A team of researchers from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) has discovered that these predators - called protists - 'eavesdrop' on the bacteria's communication. It's a discovery that opens up perspectives for agriculture. The results are available online this month in The ISME Journal, from the publishers of Nature.
What soil creatures are living right under our feet? Find out in your own backyard on 4 October - or in your local park, on your green roof or even your balcony (!) - as the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) organises the first-ever 'Soil Animal Day', together with the Centre for Soil Ecology (CSE).
Woodlice have for the first time been dethroned as the most spotted soil animals in Dutch gardens. The third edition of the nationwide Soil Animal Days saw arachnoids seize the top spot, with earthworms a close second. A probable explanation for the shift is the extremely wet weather at the onset of autumn. Fortunately, that didn't stop some 600 enthousiasts from counting the soil animals in their gardens.
The annual Soil Animal Days, organised by NIOO and a growing number of partners, will take place this year between 23 September and 5 October,
Dutch primary schools receive a free copy this week of the soil animal-themed new children's book by popular author Janneke Schotveld.
The first worldwide analysis of soil nematodes reveals that they are most abundant in arctic areas rather than in the tropics.
The 4th edition of the Dutch Soil Animal Days saw 856 'citizen scientists' comb through more than 200 gardens and parks to find some 7500 soil creatures.
To honour the International Day of Biodiversity, with NIOO soil ecologists for Q&A afterwards!