To help enhance USA soil health, and ensure a robust living soil component that sustains essential functions for healthy plants, animals, and environment, and ultimately provides food for a healthy society, the GRACEnet Soil Biology group are working together with the larger USDA-ARS GRACEnet community to provide soil biology component measurements across regions and to eliminate data gaps for GRACEnet and REAP efforts. The Soil Biology group is focused on efforts that foster method comparison and meta-analyses to allow researchers to better assess soil biology and soil health indicators that are most responsive to agricultural management and that reflect the ecosystems services associated with a healthy, functioning soil.
The GRACEnet Soil Biology mission is to produce the soil biology data, including methods of identifying and quantifying specific organisms and processes they govern, that are needed to evaluate impacts on agroecosystems and sustainable agricultural practices. This data collection effort is being accomplished in a highly structured manner to support current and future soil health and antimicrobial resistance research initiatives. The outcomes of the efforts of this team will provide a common biological data platform for several ARS databases, including: GRACEnet/REAP, Nutrient Use and Outcome Network (NUOnet), Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) network, soil biology (e.g., MyPhyloDB) databases, and others.