ForBio course: Soil mites (Acari) – taxonomy, biology, and ecology

Photo by Anna Seniczak/Artsdatabanken


Soil mites (Acari) are a very common and very diverse group of arthropods, although most of them are not visible for the naked eye (they are on average 0.5 mm long). The most abundant are saprophagous Oribatida, which play an important role in decomposition of soil organic matter, nutrient cycling and soil formation. Other mites are predatory, feeding e.g. on nematodes, thus controlling the pathogenic funghi of plant roots, on small annelids, collembolans, other mites, and the eggs of insects.

Course scope:

The aim of the course is to provide the students with a complex knowledge about the soil mites – their taxonomy, biology, and ecology, especially about their functions in soil and their importance in bioindication. The participants will learn about the sampling, extraction and preparation techniques, and identification of the main taxa, including adult and juvenile stages (which are not included in keys). The course will also cover the laboratory cultures of mite and their use in bioindication and toxicity tests.

The course will consist of lectures, field work, laboratory work (extraction and identification of mites, laboratory cultures) and seminars. It will cover systematics and taxonomy of major soil mite groups: Oribatida, Mesostigmata, and Prostigmata. 

Collaboration and co-funding

This course is linked to the project  'Norwegian Forest Oribatida (NFO) - highly diverse, but poorly known' funded by the Norwegian Taxonomy Initiative


Dr. Anna Seniczak - UiB, Bergen, Norway

Prof. Sigmund Hågvar - NMBU, Ås, Norway

Dr. Astrid Taylor - SLU, Uppsala, Sweden

Prof. Slawomir Kaczmarek - Kazimierz Wielki University, Bydgoszcz, Poland

Prof. Joanna Makol - Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Poland

Ms. Riikka Elo - University of Turku, Finland

Maximum number of participants: 20

Course level: PhD students, Master students, researchers and biodiversity consultants.

Assignement and credits: The course is equivalent to 2 ECTS. ForBio will provide certificates for those successfully completed the course assignment. 

Registration: Please fill in the online application here. There is no course fee for ForBio members or associates. Travel is covered for ForBio members based at Norwegian institutions. Accommodation at the Espegrend Marine Biological Station is covered for all ForBio members. Meals are covered for all course participants.

Find out about how to become a ForBio member/associate here.

Application deadline: March 5th, 2018.

Contact Nataliya Budaeva ( for more information.


Published Dec. 8, 2017 8:41 AM - Last modified Apr. 10, 2018 4:21 PM