Quote of the Moment:

“A scientific truth seems to spread not by the opponents being convinced of it, but only by teaching the young generation the new truth.”

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Kachana Landscape Management Workshop 2003

Our Guest Speaker:

Dr Elaine Ingham is an energetic, easy-to-understand speaker who explains what life in the soil is all about. Behind this “user-friendly” approach lies a wealth of knowledge gained from years of intensive research into the organisms which make up the soil food web. Elaine not only understands the soil food web, she has knowledge on how to ensure a healthy food web to promote plant growth and reduce reliance on inorganic chemicals.

While truly an academic, Elaine is also passionate about sharing her knowledge and research findings with those at the grass roots level of working with soils. That includes not just farmers who grow crops, but also those who graze cattle, sheep and other livestock, fruit and vegetable growers, greens keepers, parks and gardens workers, nursery operators — in fact anyone who grows things, even if it’s just plain old lawn grass. Elaine offers a way forward for sustainable farming. A way of improving the soils we work with now and a way to keep soils in this healthier state without damaging any other eco-system.

This is Elaine’s fifth trip to Australia to conduct courses on soil health and biology, and her second to the Kimberley. Attendance at her courses is always very high with a broad cross section of people taking advantage of her knowledge sharing. It is exciting that a speaker with such a depth of knowledge and dynamic presentation style, who is respected the world over as a leader in research of the soil food web is sharing this information with us in the rugged rangeland setting of Kachana.

A biography of Dr Ingham follows:

Dr Ingham is President and Director of Research at Soil Foodweb Inc., a small business that grew out of her Oregon State University research program.

Her research is on: What organisms are present in the soil and on the foliage of your plants, which organisms benefit which types of plants, which organisms harm plants, how can these organisms be managed to grow plants with the least expensive inputs into the system while maintaining soil fertility.

Elaine started her academic career at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN with a double major, cum laude, in Biology and Chemistry in 1974. Elaine earned her Master of Science in Microbiology in 1977 at Texas A M University and her doctorate degree from Colorado State University in 1981. Elaine’s doctorate is in Microbiology with an emphasis on soil. Elaine was offered Post-doctoral Fellowship, along with her husband Russ (who also has a doctorate from Colorado State University in Zoology, emphasizing nematology), at the Natural Resource Ecology Lab at Colorado State University. In 1985, Elaine accepted a Research Associate Fellowship at the University of Georgia.

In 1986, Elaine moved to Oregon State University, and joined the faculty in both Forest Science and Botany and Plant Pathology. For several years, Elaine’s “home” department was Botany and Plant Pathology. In 1991,because the number of samples from outside Elaine’s immediate program being sent to her for analysis were becoming a large component of what she was doing, Elaine opened a service through the University called the Soil Microbial Biomass Service. The Service offered researchers and commercial clients the ability to have soil samples analyzed for soil foodweb organisms. During this time, Elaine became known as an energetic and easy-to-understand speaker who explained what life in the soil was all about, and she started speaking to groups throughout the United States about the Soil Foodweb.

By 1995, the number of samples coming into the Soil Microbial Biomass Service was close to 8,000 samples a year, and the amount of lab space required to process this number of samples was greater than originally planned. The head of Elaine’s department asked that the commercial portion of the Biomass Service be taken off-campus. Thus, in the fall of 1996, Soil Foodweb Inc. became a commercial enterprise.

With the move into a private lab, Elaine’s focus turned more to grower-related issues, focusing on the expense of intensive chemical use as well as the damage these chemicals inflict on beneficial organisms in the soil and on foliage.

The research and practical understanding and application of soil organisms continue at Soil Foodweb Inc., while much of the academic side of her work remains at the University. In December 2000 a new Soil Foodweb lab was opened in Australia, at Southern Cross University in Lismore, Australia so that growers down-under could have overnight access to the assays they need to improve plant production without the use of high levels of inorganic chemicals. The Lab Director at the Australia lab is Merline Olson, Certified Soil Foodweb Advisor.

Since 1996, Dr. Ingham and her staff (Will Newman, Joan Otahol, Nedra Olson, Twila Henderson, Tanya Cheeke, Gareth Engler, Brian Pearson, Steve Robideaux and Kirk Waterstripe) have developed three new methods. These methods more rapidly assess soil and foliage-related organisms, and are a major break-through for easily assessing how soil and foliar biology changes with different management practices. Her work with biological products with Lyndon Smith, Wayne Woodward and Jim Johnson of Huma-Gro and with Tom Piatkowski of Helena Chemical Company is leading the way for understanding which bio-stimulant products work best, and how much material is needed to achieve desired improvements in soil organism functions. Work with Ken Warner of Frontier Industries and Ron Stewart of Columbia Gorge Organics on how to make the best humus material possible shows that establishing biological components of the foodweb, and giving the biology the foods needed, long-term benefits for plant growth are achieved.

Recent improvements have been with Beneficial Organism Identification and Quantification. Working with Holmes Enviro, Lab, SFI is offering a new assay using selective media and molecular methods to identify whether 20 of the most beneficial bacteria are present in your soil, compost or compost tea.

Working on compost tea with many people around the world has brought a greater understanding of how to properly manage thermally produced compost, vermicompost, and compost tea to guarantee disease-suppressive, soil-building, nutrient-retaining composts and compost teas.

Dr. Ingham maintains a website where the results of work done at Soil Foodweb Inc and in her University research program are posted. Her publication, The Compost Tea Brewing Manual, is updated periodically to include the latest results in compost tea work. She writes occasional columns for a variety of magazines and papers. Dr. Ingham has worked extensively on genetically engineered organism issues with a non-governmental organization called the Edmond’s Institute, directed by Beth Burrows. Elaine is a strong advocate of sound ecological testing of all genetically engineered organisms before they are released into the environment. In her spare time, Elaine publishes scientific papers, writes book chapters, gives talks at meetings and symposia around the world and has a family. Her current projects range from working in citrus groves in Florida, to cotton and avocado in Australia, turf and golf courses in many places, road-side restoration in California and just about every other plant system in between.


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
1. Ames, R.N., E.R. Ingham and C.P.P. Reid. (1982). Ultraviolet-induced auto fluorescence of arbuscular mycorrhizal root infections: An alternative to clearing and staining methods for assessing infections. Can. Jr. Microbiol. 28:351-355.
2. Ingham, E.R. and D.A. Klein. (1982). Relationship between fluoresces in diacetate-stained hyphae and oxygen utilization, glucose utilization and biomass of submerged fungal batch cultures. Appl. Environ.Microbiol. 28:351-355.
3. McClellan, J.F., D.C. Coleman, K.A. Horton and E.R. Ingham. (1982). The effect of chloroform on protozoa and other soil inhabitants. J. Protozool. 29:491.
4. Ingham, E.R. and D.A. Klein. (1984). Soil fungi: Relationships between hyphal activity and staining with fluoresce in diacetate. Soil Biol. Biochem. 16:273-278.
5. Ingham, E.R. and D.A. Klein. (1984). Soil fungi: Measurement of hyphal length. Soil Biol. Biochem. 16:279-280.
6. Ames, R.N., C.P.P. Reid and E.R. Ingham. (1984). Rhizosphere bacterial population responses to root colonization by a vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus. New Phytol. 96:555-563.
7. Ingham, E.R. and D.A. Klein. (1984). Phosphatase activity of Penicillium Itrinum submerged batch cultures and its relationship to fungal activity. Plant and Soil 81:61-68.
8. Ingham, E.R. and D.C. Coleman. (1984). Effects of streptomycin, cycloheximide, fungizone, captan, carbofuran, cygon and PCNB on soil microbe populations and nutrient cycling. Microbial Ecology 10:345- 358.
9. Ingham, R.E., J.A. Trofymow, E.R. Ingham and D.C. Coleman. (1985). Interactions of bacteria, fungi and their nematode grazers: Effects on nutrient cycling and plant growth. Ecological Monographs 55:119-140.
10. Ingham, E.R. (1985). Review of the effects of twelve selected biocides on target and non-target soil organisms. Crop Protection 4:3032.
11. Ingham, E.R., D.A. Klein and M.J. Trlica. (1985). Responses of microbial components of the rhizosphere to plant management strategies in semiarid rangeland. Plant and Soil 85:65-76.
12. Ingham, E.R., C. Cambardella and D.C. Coleman. (1986). Manipulation of bacteria, fungi and protozoa by biocides in lodgepole pine forest soil microcosms: Effects on organism interactions and nitrogen mineralization. Can. J. Soil Sci. 66:261-272.
13. Frey, J.S., J.F. McCellan, E.R. Ingham and D.C. Coleman. (1986). Filter-out grazers (FOG): A filtration experiment for separating protozoan grazers in soil. Biol. Fert. Soil 1:73-79.
14. Ingham, E.R., J.A. Trofymow, R.N. Ames, H.W. Hunt, C.R. Morley, J.C. Moore and D.C. Coleman. (1986). Trophic interactions and nitrogen cycling in a semiarid grassland soil. Part I. Seasonal dynamics of the natural populations, their interactions and effects on nitrogen cycling. J. Applied Ecology 23:597-614.
15. Ingham, E.R., J.A. Trofymow, R.N. Ames, H.W. Hunt, C.R. Morley, J.C. Moore and D.C. Coleman. (1986). Trophic interactions and nitrogen cycling in a semiarid grassland soil. Part II. System responses to removal of different groups of soil microbes or fauna. J. Applied Ecology 23:615-630.
16. Hunt, H.W., D.C. Coleman, E.R. Ingham, R.E. Ingham, E.T. Elliott, J.C. Moore, C.P.P. Reid and C.R. Morley. (1987). The detrital food web in a short grass prairie. Biol. Fert. Soil 3:57-68.
17. Moore, J.C., E.R. Ingham and D.C. Coleman. (1987). Inter- and Intraspecific feeding selectivity of Folsomia candida (Willem) (Collembola, Isotomidae) on fungi: Method development and ecological consequences. Biol. Fert. Soil 5:6-12.
18. Ingham, E.R. and K.A. Horton. (1987). Bacterial, fungal and protozoan responses to chloroform fumigation in stored prairie soil. Soil Biol. Biochem. 19:545-550.
19. Coleman, D.C. and E.R. Ingham. (1988). Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Biogeochemistry 5:3-6.
20. Hunt, H.W., E.R. Ingham, D.C. Coleman, E.T. Elliott and C.P.P. Reid. (1988). Nitrogen limitation of decomposition and primary production in short grass, mountain meadow and lodgepole pine forest. Ecology 69:1009-1016.
21. Carpenter, S.E., M.E. Harmon, E.R. Ingham, R.G. Kelsey, J.D. Latin and T.D. Schowalter. (1988). Early patterns of heterotroph activity in conifer logs. Proc. Roy. Soc. Edinburgh 94B:33-43.
22. Ingham, E.R., M.V. Wilson and C.D. McIntire. (1988). Social and economic concerns with respect to the choice of critical terrestrial Ecosystems. USEPA.
23. Cromack, K., Jr., B.L. Fichter, A.M. Moldenke and E.R. Ingham. (1989). Interactions between soil animals and ectomycorrhizal fungal mats. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 24:155-169.
24. Ingham, E.R., D.C. Coleman and J.C. Moore. (1989). Analysis of food-web structure and function in a short grass prairie, a mountain meadow and lodgepole pine forest. Biol. Fertil. Soils 8:29-37.
25. Stamatiadis, S., J.W. Doran and E.R. Ingham. (1990). Use of staining and inhibitors to separate fungal and bacterial activity in soil. Soil Biol. Biochem. 22:81-88.
26. Coleman, D.C., E.R. Ingham and J.C. Moore. (1990). An across ecosystem analysis of seasonal effects and faunal reduction on decomposition in a semiarid prairie, meadow, and lodgepole pine forest. Pedobiologia 34:207-219.
27. Ingham, E.R., R. Griffiths, K. Cromack and J.A. Entry. (1991). Comparison of direct versus fumigation incubation microbial biomass estimates in ectomycorrhizal mat and non-mat soils. Soil Biol. Biochem. 23:465-472.
28. Lodge, D.J. and E.R. Ingham. (1991). A comparison of agar film techniques for estimating fungal biovolumes in litter and soil. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 5:31-37.
29. Griffiths, R.P., E.R. Ingham, B.A. Caldwell, M.A. Castellano and K. Cromack, Jr. (1991). Microbial characteristics of ectomycorrhizal mat communities in Oregon and California. Biology and Fertility of Soils 11:14-20.
30. Ingham, E.R., D.C. Coleman, R. Parmelee and D.A. Crossley. (1991). Reduction of microbial and faunal groups following application of streptomycin and captan in Georgia no-till agro ecosystems. Pedobiologia 35:297-304.
31. Ingham, E.R. (1993). The functional significance and regulation of soil biodiversity: An executive summary of the Soil Ecology Society meeting. Soil Ecology Society Newsletter 5:2-9.
32. Klopatek, C.C., E.G. O’Neill, D.W. Freckman, C.D. Bledsoe, D.A. Coleman, D.A. Crossley, Jr., E.R. Ingham, D. Parkinson and J.M. Klopatek. (1993). The sustainable biosphere initiative: A commentary from the U.S. Soil Ecology Society. Bulletin of the Ecological Soc. of America. 73:223-228.
33. Colinas, C., E. Ingham and R. Molina. (1994). Population responses of target and non-target forest-soil organisms to selected biocides. Soil Biol. Biochem. 26:41-48.
34. Ingham, E.R. 1994. Soil Organisms and Forest Health. Pages 12-15 in Headwaters Journal, Spring (1994).
35. Ingham, E.R., D.C. Coleman, and D.A. Crossley, Jr. (1994). Use of Sulfamethoxazole-Penicillin, Oxytetracycline, Carbofuran, Carbaryl, Naphthalene and Temik to Remove Key Organism Groups in Soil in a Corn Agro ecosystem. J. Sustain. Agric. 4(3):7-30.
36. Ingham, E.R. and H. Massicotte. (1994). Protozoan communities around conifer roots colonized by ectomycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhiza. 5: 53-61.
37. Ingham, E.R., J.D. Doyle and C.W. Hendricks. (1995). Assessing interactions between soil foodweb and a strain of Pseudomonas putida genetically engineered to degrade 2,4-D. Applied Soil Ecology. 2:263-274.
38 Ingham, E.R. and W.G. Thies. (1996). Soil foodweb responses in the first year following clear cutting and chloropicrin application to a mature Douglas-fir forest to control laminated root rot. Applied Soil Ecol. 3:35-47.
39. Rygiewicz, P.T. and E.R. Ingham. (1997). Soil Biology and Ecology. IN Fairbridge, R.W. and D.E. Alexander (eds) Encyclopedia of Environmental Science. Van Nostrand Reinhold. NY.
40. Sances, F.V. and E.R. Ingham. (1997). Conventional and organic alternatives to methyl bromide on California strawberries: Effect of Brassica residues and spent mushroom compost following successive chemical fumigation. Compost Science and Utilization. 5: 23-37.
41. Griffiths, R.P., J.A. Entry, E.R. Ingham, and W.H. Emmingham. (1997). Chemistry and microbial activity of forest and pasture riparian-zone soils along three Pacific Northwest streams. Plant and Soil 190:169-178.
42 Ingham, E.R. and W. Thies. (1997). Changes in rhizosphere microflora and microfauna 10 years following Douglas-fir live tree injection with chloropicrin or methylisothiocynate. Can. Jr. For Res. 27:724-731.
43. Hendricks, C.W., M.T. Holmes and E.R. Ingham. (1998). Foodweb methodology to assess ecological effects of anthropogenic stressors in soil. Trends in Soil Science. 2:181-189.
44. Massicote, H.B., L.E. Takaberry, E.R. Ingham, and W.G. Thies. (1998). Ectomycorrhizae establishment on Douglas-fir seedlings following chloropicrin treatment to control laminated-root rot disease: Assessment of 4 and 5 years after out planting. Appl. Soil Ecol. 10:117-126.
45. Ingham, E.R. and J.Barlow. (1998). Sustainable Agriculture and the Ecology of Soil Perspectives on Business and Global Change. 12:31-42.
46. Ingham, E.R. (1998). Soil organisms and their role in healthy turf. Turf Grass Trends. 7:1-6.
47. Holmes, M. and E.R. Ingham. (1999) Ecological effects of genetically engineered Klebsiella planticola released into agricultural soil with varying clay content. Appl. Soil Ecol. 3:394-399.
48. Wilson, M.V. and E.R. Ingham. (1999). Mycorrhizal requirements of six wetlands herbaceous plant species. Mycorrhiza.
49. Ingham, E.R, Seiter, S., and R.D. William. (1999). Dynamics of soil fungal and bacterial biomass in a temperate climate alley cropping system. Appl. Soil Ecol. 12: 39-147.
50. Doyle, J.D., Hendricks, C.W., Holmes, M.T., and E.R. Ingham. (1999). Effects of Klebsiella planticola SDF20 on soil biota and wheat growth in sandy soil. Appl. Soil Ecol. 11: 67-78.
51. Ingham, E. R. (1999). The Soil Biology Primer - Chapter 1. The Soil Foodweb. NRCS Soil Quality Insitute, USDA. 48 pp.
52. Ingham, E.R. (1999). The Soil Biology Primer Chapter 2. Soil Bacteria. NRCS Soil Quality Institute, USDA.
53. Ingham, E.R. (1999). The Soil Biology Primer — Chapter 3. Soil Fungi. NRCS Soil Quality Institute. USDA.
54. Ingham, E.R. (1999). The Soil Biology Primer — Chapter 4. Soil Protozoa. NRCS Soil Quality Institute. USDA.
55. Ingham, E.R. (1999). The Soil Biology Primer — Chapter 5. Soil Nematodes. NRCS Soil Quality Institute. USDA.
56. Ingham, E.R. (2000) The Compost Tea Brewing Manual. Sustainable Studies Institute, Eugene, OR. 60 pp.
Book Chapters
57. Ingham, E.R. and R. Molina. 1991. Interactions between mycorrhizal fungi, rhizosphere organisms, and plants. Pages 169-197 in Microorganisms, Plants and Herbivores, P. Barbosa (ed). John Wiley and Sons, NY.
58. Ingham, E.R. and R. Molina. 1991. Interactions between mycorrhizal fungi, rhizosphere organisms, and plants. Pages 169-197 in Microorganisms, Plants and Herbivores, P. Barbosa (ed). John Wiley and Sons, NY.
59. Ingham, E.R. 1994. Soil Protozoa. Agronomy Society of America. In Methods in Agronomy, P. Bottomley (ed). Agronomy Soc. Am.
60. Ingham, E.R. and A. Moldenke. 1995. Microflora and Microfauna on Stems and Trunks: Diversity, Food Webs and Effects on Plants. pp. 241-256. IN Gartner, B. Plant Stems. Academic Press. NY.
61. Ingham, E.R. (1997). Soil Microbiology. pp. XX-XX. IN Sylvia, D. and Hartel, P. Soil Microbiology:Environmental and Agricultural Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
62. Edmonds Institute (10 authors). 1998. The Biosafety Handbook. Edmonds Institute, Bellingham, WA
63. Ingham, E.R. and M. Alms. 1999. The Compost Tea Handbook 1.1
Refereed Reports
64. Wilson, M.V., E.R. Ingham, C.D. McIntire and M.L. Scott. 1988. Report on the selection of several potentially critical terrestrial systems. USEPA.
65. Ingham, E.R., M.V. Wilson and C.D. McIntire. 1989. A general model of biotic interactions. Special Report to the USEPA, CR-813570-01-0, 36 pp.
66. Thies, W.G., M.A. Castellano, E.R. Ingham, D.L. Luoma and A.R. Moldenke. 1991. Bioresponse of nontarget organisms resulting from the use of chloropicrin to control laminated root rot in a northwest Conifer forest.
67. Installation of study. pp. 81-84. USEPA Special Publ.
68. Ingham, E.R., W.G. Thies, D.L. Luoma, A.R. Moldenke and M.A. Castellano. 1991. Bioresponse of nontarget organisms resulting from the use of chloropicrin to control laminated root rot in a northwest Conifer forest.
69. Evaluation of bio-responses. pp. 85-90. USEPA Special Publ.
70. Linder, G., E.R. Ingham, C.J. Brandt and G. Henderson. 1992. Evaluation of terrestrial indicators for use in ecological assessments at hazardous waste sites. USEPA/600/r-92/183.
71. Ingham, E.R. 1993. Use of soil foodweb structure and function to assess superfund sites. USEPA Ecological Site Assessment Program. Corvallis Environmental Research Lab.
72. Ingham, E.R. 1995. Standard Operating Procedure for Microbial Population Dynamics. USEPA Global Climate Change Program. Corvallis Environmental Research Lab.
73. Ingham, E.R. 1994. Standard Operating Procedure for Total Bacteria. USEPA Global Climate Change Program. Corvallis Environmental Research Lab.
74. Ingham, E.R. 1995. Standard Operating Procedure for Nematode Population and Community Structure. USEPA Global Climate Change Program. Corvallis Environmental Research Lab.
75. Ingham, E.R. 1995. Standard Operating Procedure for Protozoan Populations and Community Structure. USEPA Global Climate Change Program. Corvallis Environmental Research Lab.
Technical Reports (Not Refereed)
Ingham, E.R. and M. Holmes. 1995. Biosafety Regulations: A critique of existing documents. The Edmonds Institute, Edmonds, WA.
Ingham, E.R. 1995. Biosafety Regulation. Edmonds Institute, Edmonds, WA.
Magazine Column in BioCycle
Monthly column including discussions of: Anaerobic Bacteria and Composting, The Good, the Bad and Facultative Anaerobes, What Organisms are in Compost?, What is Compost Tea?, Methyl Bromide Alternatives, Fungi and Disease-Suppression, Vermicompost versus Compost - What's the Difference?

Numerous other magazine and newspaper publications since 1999. Please see the SFI website: www.soilfoodweb.com