The missing soil microbe library and some alternatives

The soil microbe library unfortunately had a habit of being more offline than online. Now seems to have been closed altogether.

However, there are good instagram resources, for example, from Dr. Elaine’s™ Soil Food Web School and RootShoot Soils.

Trying to find examples of what I am looking at, I came across the following resources. What do you find helpful in your explorations?
Please add to the comments below.

Comprehensive resources covering several groups of organisms

The European Union has published several soil atlases for Europe, Latin America & the Carribean, the Northern Polar regions, Africa, and most recently, the Globe.

Fantastic resources!

They are complemented by a soil database at the European Soil Portal.

There will be objects under the scope that are intriguing, but not covered in the soil food web course. Some forum discussions will be helpful, and also this resource to correlate “unidentified objects”. Like this one, for example:

What do you think this is? Answer at the bottom of this page.


Beautiful images and excellent cataloguing of all things amoeboid


Pictures from different functional groups of soil nematodes help with ID

A nematode database, very comprehensive, some pdf lectures if you dig deep enough. Best for a long winter’s day or much rain.

A key to nematodes – these are found in water, but some useful references still.


Knowing the genus and if possible, species can tell us something about their natural habitats, and in turn, the direction the soil food web is shifting in, or alert us to potential pathogens.

This guide helps with looking at the macroscopic characteristics of fungi, to help with genus identification (best used in combination with a key, as discussed here).

This visual page helps describe and locate what different fungal keys are describing.

Here we have good fungi ID information, photos, including very helpful microscopic spore images.

As this is a very comprehensive topic, please head over here for more.


Here is a key to help identifying some jointed-legged soil critters.

Magical high-quality videos of the microscopic world

Journey to the Microcosmos offers an excellent way to stop and marvel, relax, and make ourselves familiar with the microbes we may or may not encounter one day under the microscope. In high definition, super focussed, and well-told stories. Be warned – it may be addictive. Real-world magic.

OK, there is a lot of pond life. But since soil microorganisms live on a film of water, there are many familiar critters, beautifully introduced and showcased.

Feel wound up? Going for a walk and then settling to some microbial cinema definately shifts perspective!

Other life

Pollen often present with such artistry and ofen mathmatical beauty!
Here a link to frequent shapes to narrow down when you are not sure what you are seeing.

Diatoms are microalgae, responsible for much of the oxygen we breathe. We come across them in soil sometimes. Journey to the Microcosmos shares some marvellous footage and facts. Including why diatoms get smaller over time, and what nature does about that.

Larger soil life, visible to the naked eye, is over here.

And, what do you think the picture shows?

The filament is a feather. A Jay feather perhaps?!

2 thoughts on “The missing soil microbe library and some alternatives

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