Soil organisms undertake every major ecosystem process, from primary production to decomposition to carbon sequestration, and those processes they catalyze have a bearing on the management of issues from agriculture to global climate change. Nonetheless, until recently, research to measure the dynamics of microscopic organisms living belowground has largely been limited to infrequent field sampling and laboratory extrapolation. Now, however, new sensor technologies can measure and monitor soil organisms and processes at rapid and continuous temporal scales. In this article, we describe these technologies and how they can be arrayed for an integrated view of soil dynamics.
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Vol. 57 • No. 10