The life of springtails under different nitrogen inputs in agriculture

PhD defence, Friday 1 September 2017. Alessandra D’Annibale.

2017.09.01 | Steffi Hjerrild Iversen

Alessandra D'Annibale

During her PhD, Alessandra D’Annibale investigated the role of springtails (Collembola), an important group of microarthropods within the soil food web, in the nitrogen cycle in the context of agricultural grasslands. Characterized by a wide variation of morphological and ecological adaptations, these arthropods are under attention within soil ecology studies, as detailed knowledge about their feeding preferences and functional ecology is stills scarce. Agricultural grasslands are nowadays dependent on soil nitrogen enhancements for productivity, and agricultural practices continuously improve to face environmental regulations. Alessandra studied the implications of human nitrogen inputs on Collembola, focusing on the effects of legumes introduction in grasslands leys and of the use of acidified cattle slurry on Collembola communities.

The findings of Alessandra’s research show that the specific studied agricultural practices have no short-term negative impacts on Collembola communities. However, different amounts of nitrogen inputs can partially affect Collembola communities in terms of the relative proportion of specific (functional) groups, which may therefore play a different role within the soil food web in the nitrogen cycle. These results indeed improve basic scientific knowledge about the ecology of Collembola and constitute a basis for future studies.

The PhD degree was completed at the Department of Agroecology, Foulum, Science and Technology, Aarhus University.

This résumé was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Friday 1 September 2017 at 10.00
Place: Meeting Room 2, Aarhus University Foulum, Blichers Allé 20, 8830 Tjele
Title of dissertation: The response of Collembola to different nitrogen agricultural managements
Contact information: Alessandra D’Annibale, e-mail:, tel.: +39 339 2746910 
Members of the assessment committee:
Professor Olaf Schmidt, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, University of College Dublin, Ireland
Senior Researcher Nick J.M. van Eekeren, Louis Bolk Institute, The Netherlands
Associate Professor Lars Elsgaard (chair), Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University
Main supervisor:
Professor Jørgen Eriksen, Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University
Senior Scientist Paul Henning Krogh, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University
Professor Søren Christensen, Terrestrial Ecology, Copenhagen University
Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public.
The dissertation is available for reading at the Graduate School of Science and Technology/GSST, Ny Munkegade 120, building 1520, rooms 128-134, 8000 Aarhus C.

PhD defence
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Revised 21.09.2017