Soil biophysics stands as a comprehensive scientific field delving into the complex interplay between the physical properties of soils and plants and organisms’ lives within the soil matrix. Key soil properties—such as structure, porosity, and moisture—profoundly shape the existence and activities of plants and microorganisms. In turn, the activities of these biological entities influence the physical attributes of the soil.
At the Professorship for Soil Biophysics and Environmental Systems, our focus is to unravel the critical role played by soil physics in shaping plant and microorganism life. The global challenge of soil drying emerges as a central theme, posing a significant constraint on life within soils. As soils dry, the transport of water and nutrients drops by several orders of magnitude, limiting water and nutrient resources for plants.
In our research and educational initiatives, we adopt a unique perspective—imagining ourselves as plants or microorganisms grappling with drying soil. We aim to describe what plants and microorganisms feel as soil dries. We're interested in understanding how they cope with it, whether through internal adaptations or influencing the surrounding soil properties. e firmly believe that solutions must be tailored to specific soil conditions.
This exploration is not just theoretical; it holds practical implications for agriculture and environmental management. By shedding light on the complexities of soil-plant-microorganism interactions under stress, our work aims to contribute valuable insights that transcend academic boundaries, informing both scientific discourse and real-world applications.