For most people soils are nothing more than the basis of life. After all, 95% of all food comes from the soil. For the soil scientists at the Institute of Ecology at the TU Berlin, soils are much more - we regard soil as the most fascinating chemical laboratory ever imagined! This is because all natural and anthropogenic substances are developed, broken down, restructured, mobilized, transported and then fixed again in the soil. Soils are by far the most complex components of ecosystems. We are interested in getting to the bottom of soil-chemical processes and their environmental effects, both in natural and starkly humanly altered ecosystems.