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The conference is planned as an interdisciplinary platform where data from different experts can be linked and new strategies for further research topics can be defined. This includes questions addressing microbial communities and (meta)genomes in soils and their role in soil quality and soil health. An important link will be made to metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics and particularly enzymology, which is crucial to unravel what the measured rates of microbial processes tell us about the cycling of elements and organic matter as a whole. Another issue is a wide scope covering both bacterial and fungal ecology and the ecology of archaea. Overall the conference aims to build up a conceptual framework that incorporates not only the diversity of microorganisms, but also their functions and properties of their abiotic environments, and to bring experts from all these disciplines to a meeting where all can benefit from interaction.