Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (12): 22353.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022353

Special Issue: 土壤生物与土壤健康

• Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research progress on the biodiversity and ecological function of soil protists

Baomin Yao1,2, Qing Zeng1,2, Limei Zhang1,2,*()   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2022-06-28 Accepted:2022-08-30 Online:2022-12-20 Published:2022-11-11
  • Contact: *E-mail:


Background & Aims: Protists are widely distributed in soil and throughout different habitats with high abundance and diversity. They play important roles in nutrient cycling and the energy flow of ecosystems, as well as maintaining soil and plant health. Compared with other microorganisms and fauna in soil, protists have received little attention until recently, and the study on their classification and molecular detection are largely challenged due to their complex taxonomy systems and ecological types.
Progresses: This review systematically summarized and sorted out previous research on soil protists. The research progress on the taxonomic systems of protists, properties of different trophic functional groups, the distribution pattern, and the influencing factors of soil protists were summarized. Then the ecological functions of protistan communities in participating in soil nutrient cycling and maintaining soil health were further highlighted. The main factors that drive the construction of protistan community was clarified, and the prospect and application prospect were further put forward.
Prospects: The future perspectives and research efforts towards taxonomic classification, biodiversity, ecological function, and applications of soil protists need to be explored.

Key words: protists, taxonomic group, ecological functions, food web, soil health