Our soils are one of our most valuable resources and they are running out. This week, RTE’s 10 Things to Know About investigates the science of soil and the organisms in it.

Soil is one of the most complex structures known to mankind. It contains between one quarter and one third of all living organisms.

Among its jobs are its ability to clean air, filter water, provide food, forests and habitats for wildlife. Teagasc Johnstown Castle is the home of soil science research in Ireland and Aoibhinn O’Suilleabhain will meet Sara Vero and David Wall to discuss some of the 213 different soil types in Ireland.

The Teagasc researchers will also look at a soil pit and describe what makes a healthy soil – full of earthworms and free of compaction. Fiona Brennan is an expert in soil science and will describe the different forms of life that can be found in our soil.

Fiona recently featured on AgriLand when she spoke at the Biological Farming Conference and will be joined on the programme by PhD student Aoife Duff.

Both scientists are conducting DNA analysis to see how the microbiology and nutrients in the soil are impacted by the structure, drainage and the farming practices above the ground.

Also Read: Do you know what’s in a handful of soil?

Bog snorkelling

Bog snorkelling will take centre stage in part 2. UCD’s Dr. Florence Renou-Wilson will discuss the importance of retaining, protecting and restoring the country’s few remaining peat bogs as they battle against climate change.

Weird science

Did you know that soil is sold by the mouthful in markets across the world. Find out why on 10 Things to Know About this Monday (November 26) at 8:30pm.