Boris Jansen works as Associate Professor of Soil Chemistry at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He is fascinated by biogeochemistry in general and in particular by understanding the fate and role of natural and anthropogenic compounds in soils. How does the chemistry of soils and sediments regulate the transport, transformation and preservation/degradation of such compounds? How is this chemistry, and thereby the fate of the compounds in questions, altered by natural or human-induced change? What are the implications for the functioning of ecosystems, and how can we use this knowledge to optimize the ecosystem services rendered by the soil?