The soil living invertebrates, such as earthworms, nematodes, springtails and mites, play a significant role in the nutrient cycling and energy flow in the soils and are actively involved in the physical, chemical and biological processes in soil. There is a consistent concern that new GM crops could change the invertebrate communities.
The Section of Soil Fauna Ecology and Ecotoxicology is engaged in research programmes established for studying the effects of the GM crop cultivation on different non-target organisms living in the soil. There are two possible ways that the GM crops can influence soil living organisms: firstly, directly through feeding on GM roots and root exudates and GM litter; and secondly, indirectly through the changes in agricultural management practices related to the genetic modification, e.g. changed pesticide regimes.
Read more about the GMO research and the outcome from a large EU FP6 project – ECOGEN – coordinated by Paul Henning Krogh, in a special issue from the Journal Pedobiologia here.
The Section has also contributed to the work of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). Read their Guidance on the environmental risk assessment of genetically modified plants here.