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This Experiment, students collect soil samples to test hypotheses about the diversity of invertebrates in soil in different places or under different conditions. Students generate their own hypotheses, and the activity is adaptable to available local conditions, such as different forest types, different stages of succession, or areas with and without impacts such as logging or wind damage. Students sample invertebrates using Berlese-Tullgren funnels and compare the abundance and diversity (using diversity indices) of different sample types.
Associated files
Resource Group TIEE
Resource Group Link
Primary or BEN resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords invertebrate; soil; diversity; richness; diversity index; Berlese; Tullgren; hypothesis; experiment; insect; TIEE; pedagogy; inquiry based
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Category
Pedagogical Use Description This Experiment provides the general framework for a soil diversity lab and allows the instructor or students to design the specific hypothesis and experimental design. It can be used as is to give students an opportunity to design their own experiment in groups or as a class, or the instructor can specify where students sample or what hypothesis is tested. The experiment is an adaptable opportunity to teach students about some of the factors influencing soil diversity and give them some experience designing their own experiment, all within the specific context of a local ecosystem.
Aggregation Level
Full Name of Primary Author Richard Boyce
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation Northern Kentucky University, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Primary Author email
Added By Id
  • educationintern
Rights Copyright 2005 by Richard L. Boyce and the Ecological Society of America.
Review type
Drought and Water Ecosystem Services Collection Off
Conservation Targets Under Global Change Collection Off
Big Data Collection Off
Editors Choice No
Resource Status
Date Of Record Submission 2007-11-01
I Agree to EcoEdDL's Copyright Policy & Terms of Use No
Date Of Record Release 2010-02-16 01:28:55
Last Modified By Id
  • educationintern
Date Last Modified 2018-07-25 09:15:34
Release Flag Published

Resource Comments

Subject: Comment On: Life Under Your Feet: Measuring Soil Invertebrate Diversity
Posted By: dsfernandez1
Date Posted: 2016-04-23 10:43:40
I am using this lab activity, but in one session. Instead of the Tulgren-Berlesse separation I am using direct observation. Any recommendation on how to perform direct soil observations in an efficient and standardised way?