Research Topic

Impact of Aboveground Disturbances on Rhizosphere Processes

About this Research Topic

Aboveground disturbances, such as insect outbreak, fire, storm, and severe drought dramatically influence the productivity and ecosystem carbon stability of global forests. Recent studies have mainly focus on the impacts of aboveground processes, whereas the influence on roots and root-related ecological processes receive much less attention. In addition, mycorrhizal fungi, which exchange resources with tree hosts are also anticipated to respond to an aboveground disturbance in terms of fungal biomass, community structure, and functions. Furthermore, since both roots and mycorrhizal fungi strongly interact with the free-living soil microbial communities that are largely involved in soil organic matter decomposition (e.g. priming effect, Gadgil effect), the response of root and mycorrhizal fungi to aboveground disturbances are key to predicting the impact of aboveground disturbances can have on the soil carbon and nutrient dynamics of global forest ecosystems.

The overall goal of this Research Topic is to identify how aboveground disturbance can affect the function of roots and mycorrhizal fungi, and how the changes in root and mycorrhizal fungal functions would alter the carbon and nutrient cycling in the soil. There are two major pathways that aboveground disturbances may impact the belowground roots and mycorrhizal fungi: (1) changes in edaphic conditions under the disturbed tree canopies (abiotic pathway); (2) reduced carbon allocation to belowground organs when aboveground carbon assimilations are disturbed (biotic pathway). The response of belowground processes to aboveground disturbance may vary across forest types as trees adapt to different local environments and differ largely in their strategies of resource allocation and resource acquisition. Furthermore, arbuscular mycorrhizal and ectomycorrhizal fungi, the two main types of mycorrhizal fungi in forest ecosystems are distinct in their reliance on host carbon supply and their interactions with soil free-living microbes. Understanding how the composition of forest tree species, species-specific allocation strategies, root functional traits, mycorrhizal types, and soil environmental conditions mediate the impact of various aboveground disturbances is critical for estimating the hidden belowground responses of local forests to landscape or global scales.

This Research Topic aims to cover the impacts of aboveground disturbances, via the abiotic and/or biotic pathway, on belowground carbon allocation, root growth, root exudation, root nutrient acquisition, root functional traits, root-fungal interaction, fungal community structure, mycorrhizal-saprotrophic interactions, and soil carbon-nutrient dynamics. Aboveground disturbances include, but are not limited to, insect outbreak, fire, storm, and severe drought. This list is not exhaustive and other areas are encouraged. We welcome original research, review, and systematic review.


Keywords: disturbance, roots, mycorrhizal fungi, soil biogeochemistry, global change


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Aboveground disturbances, such as insect outbreak, fire, storm, and severe drought dramatically influence the productivity and ecosystem carbon stability of global forests. Recent studies have mainly focus on the impacts of aboveground processes, whereas the influence on roots and root-related ecological processes receive much less attention. In addition, mycorrhizal fungi, which exchange resources with tree hosts are also anticipated to respond to an aboveground disturbance in terms of fungal biomass, community structure, and functions. Furthermore, since both roots and mycorrhizal fungi strongly interact with the free-living soil microbial communities that are largely involved in soil organic matter decomposition (e.g. priming effect, Gadgil effect), the response of root and mycorrhizal fungi to aboveground disturbances are key to predicting the impact of aboveground disturbances can have on the soil carbon and nutrient dynamics of global forest ecosystems.

The overall goal of this Research Topic is to identify how aboveground disturbance can affect the function of roots and mycorrhizal fungi, and how the changes in root and mycorrhizal fungal functions would alter the carbon and nutrient cycling in the soil. There are two major pathways that aboveground disturbances may impact the belowground roots and mycorrhizal fungi: (1) changes in edaphic conditions under the disturbed tree canopies (abiotic pathway); (2) reduced carbon allocation to belowground organs when aboveground carbon assimilations are disturbed (biotic pathway). The response of belowground processes to aboveground disturbance may vary across forest types as trees adapt to different local environments and differ largely in their strategies of resource allocation and resource acquisition. Furthermore, arbuscular mycorrhizal and ectomycorrhizal fungi, the two main types of mycorrhizal fungi in forest ecosystems are distinct in their reliance on host carbon supply and their interactions with soil free-living microbes. Understanding how the composition of forest tree species, species-specific allocation strategies, root functional traits, mycorrhizal types, and soil environmental conditions mediate the impact of various aboveground disturbances is critical for estimating the hidden belowground responses of local forests to landscape or global scales.

This Research Topic aims to cover the impacts of aboveground disturbances, via the abiotic and/or biotic pathway, on belowground carbon allocation, root growth, root exudation, root nutrient acquisition, root functional traits, root-fungal interaction, fungal community structure, mycorrhizal-saprotrophic interactions, and soil carbon-nutrient dynamics. Aboveground disturbances include, but are not limited to, insect outbreak, fire, storm, and severe drought. This list is not exhaustive and other areas are encouraged. We welcome original research, review, and systematic review.


Keywords: disturbance, roots, mycorrhizal fungi, soil biogeochemistry, global change


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 August 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 August 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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