7 episodes

Life in the Soil brings you the insights and voices of some of the world’s best soil scientists. Learn about soil biodiversity, why it matters, and how we can protect it.

This podcast project is a collaboration between the Rillig Lab and podcaster Anja Krieger, funded through the BiodivERsA project Digging Deeper.

Matthias Rillig’s lab at Freie Universität Berlin is part of the Institute of Biology and the Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research (BBIB). Our research focus is on soil ecology and global change biology, with most people in the lab working on fungi.

Life in the Soil Rillig Lab

    • Science
    • 4.7 • 14 Ratings

Life in the Soil brings you the insights and voices of some of the world’s best soil scientists. Learn about soil biodiversity, why it matters, and how we can protect it.

This podcast project is a collaboration between the Rillig Lab and podcaster Anja Krieger, funded through the BiodivERsA project Digging Deeper.

Matthias Rillig’s lab at Freie Universität Berlin is part of the Institute of Biology and the Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research (BBIB). Our research focus is on soil ecology and global change biology, with most people in the lab working on fungi.

    Sustainability – Healthy Soils, from Farms to Cities

    Sustainability – Healthy Soils, from Farms to Cities

    Soil is full of amazing life with its own intrinsic value. Just like many other species, we humans benefit from it: Healthy soil not only provides food, feed, fiber and fuel, it also contributes to the stability of the whole Earth system. But living soils are at risk all around the world. So, in this episode, podcaster Anja Krieger and soil ecologist Matthias Rillig take a look into the sustainable future: How can we, as individuals and societies, nurture and restore the ecosystems of the soil? Get ready for the final episode of this series.

    Subscribe and learn more on https://rilliglab.org/podcast/
    Episode transcript: https://rilliglab.org/2021/04/01/life-in-the-soil-podcast-6-sustainability/

    Correction (April 6, 2021): Bala Chaudhary is an Assistant Professor at DePaul University, not the University of Chicago.

    CREDITS + LINKS
    Produced by: Anja Krieger and the Rillig Lab https://rilliglab.org
    Funded by: Digging Deeper / BiodivERsA www.biodiversa.org/
    Guest experts in this episode: Katie Field, Marcel van der Heijden, Bala Chaudhary, Maddy Thakur, Yong-Guan Zhu and Richard Bardgett
    Cameo voice: Kevin Caners, host of http://www.elephantpodcast.org
    Story consultants: Eva Leifheit, Stefan Hempel
    Thanks to: Stefanie Maaß
    Cover art: Maren von Stockhausen http://marenvonstockhausen.de/
    Theme song: Sunfish Moon Light / Future Ecologies www.futureecologies.net
    Music: Blue Dot Sessions www.sessions.blue
    Sounds in intro from Saša Spačal's “Transversal Is A Loop” https://www.agapea.si/en/projects/transversal-is-a-loop

    The Digging Deeper project was funded through the 2015-2016 BiodivERsA COFUND call for research proposals, with the national funders Swiss National Science Foundation, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Swedish Research Council Formas, Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad and Agence Nationale de la Recherche.

    • 31 min
    Soil and Global Change - The Multiple Impacts of Human Action

    Soil and Global Change - The Multiple Impacts of Human Action

    The list of how humans are causing trouble in the soil is pretty mind-blowing, kind of overwhelming. It’s connected to all that is central to our modern human societies - industrial agriculture, synthetic chemistry, city sprawl, global mobility and so on and on. In this episode, Matthias Rillig, Anja Krieger and their guests Maddy Thakur and Asmeret Asefaw Berhe explore the human impacts on soil and their cascading effects.

    Subscribe and learn more on rilliglab.org/podcast/
    Episode transcript: https://rilliglab.org/2021/03/05/life-in-the-soil-podcast-5-global-change/

    CREDITS + LINKS
    Produced by: Anja Krieger and the Rillig Lab https://rilliglab.org
    Funded by: Digging Deeper / BiodivERsA www.biodiversa.org/
    Guest experts in this episode: Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Maddy Thakur
    Additional Voices in intro: Diana Wall, Richard Bardgett
    Story consultants: Stefan Hempel, Gaowen Yang, Milos Bielcik
    Thanks to Joscha Grunewald for helping us improve the sound https://www.joschagrunewald.com/

    Cover art: Maren von Stockhausen http://marenvonstockhausen.de
    Theme song: Sunfish Moon Light / Future Ecologies www.futureecologies.net
    Music: Julius Stucke / Klangpflaster https://klangpflaster.de/

    The Digging Deeper project was funded through the 2015-2016 BiodivERsA COFUND call for research proposals, with the national funders Swiss National Science Foundation, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Swedish Research Council Formas, Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad and Agence Nationale de la Recherche.

    • 26 min
    Methods - How to Explore the Microscopic World of Soil

    Methods - How to Explore the Microscopic World of Soil

    If you dig out a handful of soil, or a whole bucket full, what do you see? Really, not that much? Well, yes, that’s one reason the study of soil is such a challenge. It’s a lot of stuff mushed together, crumbs, roots, dead stuff, critters. Soil is a very complex, intensely 3D-structured environment. How do you map that landscape? In order to look at the fine structures of a root, scientists have to painstakingly lay them bare. If they want to catch a critter, they have to lure it into a trap. And with very tiny organisms, it’s sometimes just impossible to get that sample. In this episode, scientists share their challenges and methods, and dream of new technologies to improve our understanding of soil in major ways - if it just existed! This episode features Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Kate Scow, Maddy Thakur, Marcel van der Heijden, and podcast producers Matthias Rillig and Anja Krieger.

    Subscribe and learn more on rilliglab.org/podcast/
    Episode transcript: https://rilliglab.org/2021/02/19/life-in-the-soil-podcast-4-methods/

    CREDITS + LINKS
    Produced by: Anja Krieger and the Rillig Lab rilliglab.org/
    Funded by: Digging Deeper / BiodivERsA www.biodiversa.org/
    Guest experts in this episode: Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Kate Scow, Maddy Thakur, Marcel van der Heijden
    Additional Voices in intro: Yong-Guan Zhu, Bala Chaudhary, Katie Field, Toby Kiers
    Story consultants: Tessa Camenzind, Milos Bielcik, Moisés Sosa Hernández, Stefanie Maaß.
    Thanks for feedback: Madara Pētersone

    Cover art: Maren von Stockhausen marenvonstockhausen.de/
    Theme song: Sunfish Moon Light / Future Ecologies www.futureecologies.net
    Music: Blue Dot Sessions www.sessions.blue/

    Listeners in Switzerland can join the citizen science project by registering before April 15, 2021: https://www.beweisstueck-unterhose.ch/

    The Digging Deeper project was funded through the 2015-2016 BiodivERsA COFUND call for research proposals, with the national funders Swiss National Science Foundation, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Swedish Research Council Formas, Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad and Agence Nationale de la Recherche.

    • 24 min
    The Soil Food Web - A Jungle in Tiny Dimensions

    The Soil Food Web - A Jungle in Tiny Dimensions

    In this episode, Anja and Matthias take you on an underground safari through the hidden jungle of the soil. And they’ve won some excellent scientists as tour guides. You’ll hear from Diana Wall about a tiny worm that is so tough it even lives in Antarctica or hot deserts. Richard Bardgett introduces you to collembola, also known as springtails - tiny insect-like animals that can jump like crazy! Stefan Scheu and Maddy Thakur reveal which animals are considered the “wolves of the soil”, and Kate Scow delves into bacterial communities. How do all these organisms work together as a system, and why does this soil food web matter greatly to us as well?

    Subscribe and learn more on rilliglab.org/podcast/
    Episode transcript: https://rilliglab.org/2021/01/15/life-in-the-soil-podcast-3-soil-food-web/

    CREDITS + LINKS
    Produced by: Anja Krieger and the Rillig Lab https://rilliglab.org/
    Funded by: Digging Deeper / BiodivERsA www.biodiversa.org/
    Guest experts in this episode: Diana Wall, Richard Bardgett, Stefan Scheu, Maddy Thakur, Kate Scow
    Additional Voices in intro: Yong-Guan Zhu
    Story consultants: Stefanie Maaß, Moisés Sosa Hernández
    Thanks for feedback: Madara Pētersone, Florian Hintz

    Cover art: Maren von Stockhausen http://marenvonstockhausen.de/
    Theme music: Sunfish Moon Light / Future Ecologies www.futureecologies.net
    Additional Music: Blue Dot Sessions https://www.sessions.blue/
    Sounds: Sasa Spacal, “Transversal Is A Loop” https://www.agapea.si, leaves by iamdylanavery

    Diana Wall and Richard Bardgett are founding members of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative: https://www.globalsoilbiodiversity.org

    They were among the 300 scientists who contributed to the United Nations report on the global state of soil biodiversity which emerged from the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative: http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/CB1928EN

    Together with the European Commission the GSBI has also published a beautiful Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas, which you can order in print or download for free:
    https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/c54ece8e-1e4d-11e6-ba9a-01aa75ed71a1

    The Digging Deeper project was funded through the 2015-2016 BiodivERsA COFUND call for research proposals, with the national funders Swiss National Science Foundation, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Swedish Research Council Formas, Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad and Agence Nationale de la Recherche.

    • 33 min
    Fungi – the Kingdom of Mushrooms, Spores, and Networks

    Fungi – the Kingdom of Mushrooms, Spores, and Networks

    Hundreds of millions of years ago, plants started to colonize the land. But amazingly, they did this without roots. So how on Earth did these early plants feed themselves? It looks like they found some helpful friends: A group of fungi provided them with nutrients from the ground, fossils suggest. Today, the vast majority of plants team up with these so-called mycorrhizal fungi, which live in their roots. In return for nutrients, the plant provides the fungi with carbon in the form of sugar and fats. It’s an age-old symbiosis, and one that continues to fascinate soil scientists. How does the plant-fungi relationship work? Is it love or just a deal? In this episode, Anja learns more from Katie Field, Toby Kiers, Bala Chaudhary and podcast co-producer Matthias Rillig, and explores the world of fungi: How do they travel the world, and what would the world look like from a fungal perspective?

    Subscribe and learn more on rilliglab.org/podcast/

    Episode transcript: https://rilliglab.org/2020/12/17/life-in-the-soil-podcast-2-fungi/

    CREDITS
    Produced by: Anja Krieger and the Rillig Lab rilliglab.org
    Funded by: Digging Deeper / BiodivERsA https://www.biodiversa.org/
    Story consultants: Joana Bergmann, Milos Bielcik, Stefan Hempel, Tessa Camenzind, Moisés Sosa Hernández
    Thanks for feedback: Mendel Skulski, Florian Hintz, Julie Comfort, Gerhard Richter, Lena Ehlers

    Cover art: Maren von Stockhausen http://marenvonstockhausen.de
    Music: Sunfish Moon Light / Future Ecologies https://www.futureecologies.net
    Sounds: Freesound.org, CC-Zero

    The Digging Deeper project was funded through the 2015-2016 BiodivERsA COFUND call for research proposals, with the national funders Swiss National Science Foundation, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Swedish Research Council Formas, Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad and Agence Nationale de la Recherche.

    • 33 min
    Living Soil – a Habitat Hidden from View

    Living Soil – a Habitat Hidden from View

    There’s a crazy place beneath your feet, a jungle of sand, silt, and clay, of solids and pores. Some of the most diverse and overlooked communities on Earth live here, in a world unlike anything we know - completely dark, of tiny proportions, and full of surprises. Even the air and water aren’t the same. Soils and their inhabitants play a huge role for the overground world, from food security to climate change. What do scientists know about them, and how are they exploring soils? In this first episode of the Life in the Soil podcast, host Anja Krieger learns more about the soil habitat from soil scientists Matthias Rillig and Johannes Lehmann.

    Subscribe and learn more on https://rilliglab.org/podcast/

    Episode transcript: https://rilliglab.org/2020/12/04/life-in-the-soil-podcast-episode-1-living-soil-a-habitat-hidden-from-view-transcript/

    CREDITS
    Produced by: Anja Krieger and the Rillig Lab rilliglab.org
    Funded by: Digging Deeper / BiodivERsA https://www.biodiversa.org/
    Voices in intro: Katie Field, Richard Bardgett, Yong-Guan Zhu, Diana Wall, Stefan Scheu, Toby Kiers
    Story consultants: Stefanie Maaß, Moisés Sosa Hernández
    Thanks for feedback: Madara Pētersone, Mendel Skulski and Florian Hintz

    Cover art: Maren von Stockhausen http://marenvonstockhausen.de
    Theme music: Sunfish Moon Light / Future Ecologies https://www.futureecologies.net
    Additional Music: Particle by Dorian Roy
    Sounds: Intro: Saša Spačal, “Transversal Is A Loop”; leaves by iamdylanavery; rocket launch by NASA

    The Digging Deeper project was funded through the 2015-2016 BiodivERsA COFUND call for research proposals, with the national funders Swiss National Science Foundation, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Swedish Research Council Formas, Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad and Agence Nationale de la Recherche.

    The research aboard the International Space Station is made possible by sponsorships of Norfolk Institute, Rhodium Scientific, the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, and NASA, with special grants from bio365, Deep Space Ecology, Rhodium Scientific, and the Zwillenberg-Tietz Foundation, and the support of Cornell University and Freie Universität Berlin.

    • 27 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

Skyelor42 ,

Love it!

I absolutely love this podcast delving into the fascinating world of soils. Enough "meaty" science content to hold my interest as a soil scientist, but presented clearly enough that I think anyone could easily follow it even with no background in the topic. Well done!

bro710 ,

Great!

Excellent podcast, loved it!

Arthur:in:AK ,

So Fascinating!

Thanks for sharing this information.

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