About this Research Topic
The soil volume influenced by plant roots, the rhizosphere, constitutes gradients in chemical, physical, and biological properties with specialized consortia of beneficial and pathogenic organisms (e.g. bacteria, fungi, protozoa, viruses, and mesofauna). Rhizosphere processes are crucial for soil biogeochemical cycles and plant growth, and changes in rhizosphere functioning can result in altered nutrient and water distribution as well as plant nutrition, carbon storage, and soil structure. Rhizosphere communities constitute a complex food web that utilizes rhizodeposits released by the plant as the main resource for growth, such communities contribute to soil biogeochemical cycling, modulate root architecture, and support plant resource acquisition. Feedback processes between soil, plant, and rhizosphere organisms are intensive and change both radially and longitudinally along the root. To advance our understanding of rhizosphere processes, the challenge is to elaborate on the dynamic interactions and feedback processes in both spatial and temporal contexts.
Recent technological developments are allowing more detailed and in-depth analyses of roots and rhizodeposits, the magnitude, relative abundance and functional potential of rhizosphere consortia, and the characteristics of rhizosphere soil properties. However, the opaque nature of soil makes it difficult to survey the development of root systems and to investigate root-soil, root-root, root-microbe, and root-metazoan interactions in situ, and to tackle the where-and-why-questions in space and time. Much of the studies have neglected the impact of the spatial organization of root systems and focused on the rhizosphere processes in a non-spatial context, or investigated only one time point. One of the exciting movements in rhizosphere research has been the application of 3D visualization tools to spatially characterize root systems, rhizospheres, and soil, and these methods have increasingly been used to derive root and soil structure dynamics and to assess rhizosphere properties. The combination of these visualization techniques with spatial sampling at different intervals of time holds a great promise for future rhizosphere research.
In this Research Topic, we aim to explore recent development covering rhizosphere research in a spatiotemporal context. We welcome the submission of Original Research Articles, Reviews, Methods and Perspectives focusing on the following subtopics:
• Pattern formation in the rhizosphere: gradients in properties, process rates, and rhizosphere organisms/components
•Rhizosphere interactions (feedback loops): participants and activities as related to root architecture, root type and region, rhizodeposits, soil type and soil depth, water, and nutrients
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