The Greek word édaphos (which can be translated as “ground”) led to edaphikós (referring to that linked to a farmland). That is the closest etymological antecedent of edaphic, a term that in our language refers to what concerns the ground, especially in relation to plants.

Edaphic system

The soil, in this framework, constitutes what is known as edaphic system. It’s about the surface layer that covers the crust of the Land, with a thickness that varies according to the area.


The “edaphic system”, the layer that covers the earth’s crust

The edaphic system is composed of inorganic substances and by organic substances. In the first group we find the minerals and in the air, while microorganisms, plant remains, etc. appear among organic matter.

Edaphic conditions

Biological activity, climatic characteristics and topography they affect the characteristics of the edaphic system. To mention the properties of the soil that can be measured, we speak specifically of edaphic conditions.

In this way, the edaphic conditions are defined from the humidity, the pH, the concentration of salts and other peculiarities of the soil. Knowing these data is essential when developing crops.

Edaphic life

This concept refers to the presence of organisms that adapt to the conditions that exist below the ground. In this sense we have different changes or alterations shared by several of them, such as the loss of appendices that would be necessary to move around the earth. Let’s see other of them below:

* appendages for digging: just as they can lose those who would have previously needed to walk or climb, it is possible that they develop others on their legs that allow them to move by digging the earth. This can be complemented by the appearance of some mouthparts;

* movement through cavities: the cavities they are empty spaces of a solid body, which can originate naturally or artificially. Edaphic life requires adapting to move through these spaces, for which it is possible to adopt a cylindrical shape that advance contracting and retracting. If the cavities are aquatic, the organisms become flat or spherical and combine crawling with contractions to advance;

* anophthalmia and microphthalmia: the first of these terms is used in the field of medicine to speak of the total absence of one eye or both. The second, on the other hand, refers to a too small size of the eyes, an anomaly that in this case occurs with the purpose of adaptation to the edaphic environment. In other words, in this case the organism experiences a partial or total loss of its vision, because it no longer needs this sense in its new habitat.

Related concepts

The idea of edaphic factors, meanwhile, refers to the issues that affect the abundance and distribution of fauna and flora in a ground. The water table, porosity and soil texture are edaphic factors.

Edaphic plants

“Edaphic factors” influence the abundance of flora and fauna

Edaphic survey, edaphic profile and edaphic resource are other expressions that are often used in different areas. The farming, the oenology and the archeology, for example, they appeal to this type of concept.

Edaphic surveys, for example, are part of certain excavation projects, with more than one being carried out per activity. Its objective is to allow researchers to know the evolution of the area of a deposit, as well as of the filling of a sedimentary basin, but in general of the disposition of the soil. Through this practice, they also collect soil samples to look for remains, such as coals and seeds, that show them the evolution of human activity in the area throughout history.