Soil Biology



Soil organisms carry out many of the ecosystem functions that enable life on land. They contribute to soil formation, nutrient recycling and exchange, water supply, flood mitigation, storage of soil carbon, absorption and emission of greenhouse gases, development of biochemical and medical products and control of pests and diseases.​

The soil biology special interest group was formed in 2017 to bring together soil scientists, entomologists, microbiologists, ecologists, taxonomists, naturalists, farmers, agronomists, conservationists and others with an interest in understanding the ecology, diversity and function of soils. We aim to support anyone working on any soil taxa, but are particularly interested in integrating an understanding of microbes and plants with larger soil fauna such as mites, springtails and earthworms.​

Our developing group aims to provide a range events of interest from small-scale regional workshops and meetings up to large-scale international conferences, as well as providing other opportunities for knowledge exchange, such as webinars or training days for soil organisms identification.


Jackie Stroud

Jackie is a research fellow in farming systems and author of the popular DK book “Under your feet”.  She is a soil scientist best known for co-producing knowledge about soil biology with farmers.  The #30minworms survey has now been used in every continent (except Antarctica).


Group Members

Richard Gantlett

Richard is a farmer at Yatesbury House Farm in Wiltshire and is passionate about developing sustainable farming methods using agricultural knowledge, science and technology. Richard spent some years farming conventionally before converting the family farm to organic methods in 1998. The farm is now 650ha together with a pedigree Aberdeen Angus suckler herd of some 280 animals, producing wheat, oats, barley and beans, finished cattle and breeding stock, electricity and timber. Investment in research is the key to a progressive, sustainable and secure future, our points of difference being: no ploughing since 2003; diverse ley mixtures of 32 varieties from 23 species; dynamic cattle grazing of leys; use of bio cultivations; closed farm and working Biodynamically.​

Richard is also a doctoral researcher at the University of Reading working on soil regeneration, looking at high biomass rotation and its impact on soil health, weed burden and crop production.

Harry Henderson

Harry started out as a tractor, combine and crop sprayer operator. He then worked for Rothamsted Research Station UK, before coming farm manager at Monsanto Cambridge. From there he took a role with John Deere UK Ltd as a Crop Systems Specialist involved in technical dealer sales support in combine harvester, crop sprayer and precision technology products.

In 2013 Harry joined AHDB as a regional manager for the North of England and is now a Knowledge Exchange Manager with a focus technical knowledge exchange, mechanisation, soil management and arable farming.


Charlotte White

Charlotte White

Charlotte is a crop physiologist at ADAS. Based in Nottinghamshire her interests include crop rooting, crop water use, cover cropping, and sustainable yield improvement.

Charlotte White

Lizzie Emmett

A farm advisor and farmers daughter, Lizzie runs the Wensum Farmers Cluster Group – a nationally recognised self-funded collaboration of 27 farmers, covering 10,000ha in Norfolk. Employed directly by the farmers, she specialises in reducing farm pollution losses, improving water quality and enhancing biodiversity.

Charlotte White

Victoria Burton

Victoria Burton is a postdoctoral researcher at the Natural History Museum, London. She is interested in soil and leaf litter invertebrate biodiversity and is passionate about public participation in research.

Charlotte White

Mark Hodson

Mark Hodson is a professor in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York. His research interests range from understanding the fate and behaviour of emerging contaminants to the impacts of land management on soil properties. Considerations of earthworm behaviour in response to and influence on soil properties has underpinned much of his research.