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Editorial

The organised soil zoological research in Hungary began in the early years of the 1950s headed by Endre Dudich, at that time professor in the Department of Systematic Zoology of the Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest). After the excellent preliminary results (Dudich, Balogh and Loksa: Erdőtalajok, Lucenenfeldes) the Hungarian Academy of Sciences initiated the establishment of a general soil zoology research team which in the last years of the 1950s was named as the Soil Zoology Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) at the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest ( ELU), headed by János Balogh. The primary aim was to create sound scientific basis for one of the most important branches of science of the Hungarian Academy, namely soil zoology. The conditions were given, since the up-and-coming new generation of the Dudich School – in close collaboration with the research workers of the Institute of Systematic Zoology of ELU – began to study animals inhabiting mainly the soil. Each researcher had the task to deal with one of the significant groups of soil inhabiting animals, thus, the study of Lumbricidae (earthworms),  soil inhabiting nematodes, Collembola (springtails) and Oribatida (moss mites). With the passing of time each member of the research group became renown specialist, recognised all over the world. In the beginning the group was led by J. Balogh, followed by I. Loksa and subsequently, between the years of 1986 and 1998, by A. Zicsi. After some smaller reorganisations the group was renamed as Systematic Zoology Research Group and is now led by S. Mahunka. Although the composition of the group has somewhat changed over the years, nevertheless, from among the founding members I. Andrássy and A. Zicsi are still active, to whom first Csaba Csuzdi (a specialist of African and South American earthworms) joined, later he was followed by some younger collaborators (Tamás Szüts (jumping spiders) and Jenő Kontschán (Uropodina mites)  containing nematodes and without altering the initially set aim of the group: the exploration of the meso- and macrofauna of the soil.

Meanwhile the workers of the group established close links with the curator of the Arachnoidea Collection of the Hungarian Natural History Museum, the significant part of which comprises the mesofauna. The fundamental section of this Collection was further enriched by various soil samples deriving from all over the world, basic collections of different groups of mites, and the purchased collections of nematodes from I. Andrássy, those of spiders and mites from J. Balogh, and the earthworm collection from A. Zicsi.

The Andrássy and the Zicsi collections are among the biggest of their kind in the world containing Nematodes and earthworms from almost all zoogeographyc regions of the world (mainly fom Africa, South America and the Holarctis). On the other hand, the Balogh collection includes also a huge number of soil samples coming from different parts of the world. Thus, these large collections yield for study all those soil inhabiting animals which scientifically belong to the meso- and the macrofauna, in other wods, the Arachnoidea (specifically the mites), the Nematoda (primarily the free-living nematodes), the Oligochaeta   (primarly the families Lumbricidae, Acanthodrilidae, Glossoscolecidae and Eudrilidae), the Tradigrada and some primitive groups of insects.

    This given physical and mental capacity offers an opportunity to endeavour, in following our predecessors, to continuously explore the world material and publish our results gained thereby. We feel that nowadays we reached a period when the summarizing and the surveying works have come. Thus catalogues, monographs and comprehensive identification keys have to be written. On the other hand, in spite of their importance, the publication of such works is not easy. This is why we decided to start a series of books with the title of Pedozoologica Hungarica enjoying the help of the Biological Section of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Hungarian Scientific Research Programme and the Hungarian Natural History Museum. In this series any results of research embracing world material may appear which fall in line with our intentions.

 

 

Series editors