Indicators of soil quality, biological

Measures of living organisms or their activity used as indicators of soil quality. Measuring soil organisms can be done in three general ways: 1) counting soil organisms or measuring microbial biomass, 2) measuring their activity (e.g. soil basal respiration, cotton strip assay, or potentially mineralizable nitrogen), or 3) measuring diversity, such as diversity of functions (e.g., biolog plates) or diversity of chemical structure (e.g. cell components, fatty acids, or DNA). Each approach provides different information.