Soil, a burst of life: the hidden world beneath our feet

One day

Course details

Soil is home to a quarter of the species on our planet. As they live hidden in the soil, these organisms are too often overlooked. Nonetheless, they support us in many ways, from food production and climate regulation to medicine discovery. Therefore, they deserve much more attention than they get.


Soil biodiversity is extremely variegated. It encompasses  microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, as well as  “big” animals like earthworms and moles. In between there is a huge variety of organisms, ranging from nematodes, the most abundant animals on Earth, to the colorful springtails. 


This course aims at raising awareness and increasing knowledge of the secret life beneath our feet, taking the public on a fascinating journey of discovery. It also allows you to familiarise with European Union initiatives for soil (biodiversity) protection.

Target audience

Science teachers, high school students and the general public.

Learning objectives

  • Raising public awareness of the roles  of soil biodiversity and the importance of its protection;
  • Sharing knowledge on the relationship among nature conservation, soil biodiversity and human well-being;
  • Presenting the main tasks of a (soil biodiversity) researcher to inform young generations on possible future career decisions;
  • Informing of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre initiatives for soil (biodiversity) protection in Europe;
  • Promoting  long-term public engagement in the management and preservation of soils and their biodiversity insupport of the soil-related initiative of the European Commission.

Offered by

This content is offered by the European Commission. The European Commission is the European Union's politically independent executive arm. It is alone responsible for drawing up proposals for new European legislation, and it implements the decisions of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

4 (21)


  1. General
  2. 1. Biodiversity
  3. 2. Soil biodiversity, the what, where and when
  4. 3. Soil biodiversity, the why and how