About this Research Topic
The importance of belowground ecological processes for forest ecosystems is obvious. On the one hand, soil supports plant growth by providing water and nutrients. On the other hand, plants release an enormous amount of carbon into soil which shapes soil biota and soil physical structure. As new methods are developed, our understanding of the interplay between roots, rhizosphere and soil microorganisms is increasing. The vast complexity of the soil system involves many levels of interactions between abiotic and biotic components, and the rewards for expanding our understanding of these processes will be of global benefit to researchers working on basic and applied questions in all ecosystems.
One plant process that is coming under increasing focus is root exudation, which is a significant input of carbon into soils, and has many and varied roles and relationships with the soil, microbes, and other plants. Over recent years, scientists have come up with ingenious ways to measure and manipulate root exudation. The increase in the study of the role of root exudates shaping soil microbial communities, and of mycorrhiza fungi in expanding the transfer of carbon belowground beyond the root limit, have increased the excitement around this topic.
Another area that has benefited from recent technological advances is soil microbiology, with the characterisation of microbial communities easier and cheaper than ever before. However, the interactions between soil microorganisms and plants are complex and dynamic, and include the physical and chemical features of soil. How belowground processes will be affected by changes in climate or management are also of great interest, and research in this area will enable improvements in predicting future changes in forests (species composition, productivity, soil health, resilience) and mitigating negative impacts of global change.
The objective of this Research Topic is to draw together interdisciplinary cutting-edge research about belowground processes in forests, including interactions between plants, soils, and microbes, incorporating forests over a wide geographical area. We are particularly keen to include articles with a focus on root exudation and rhizodeposition, but not exclusively. We welcome submissions of original research, reviews and mini-reviews, and in particular in the following areas:
- Abiotic and biotic effects on root exudation and rhizodeposition;
- Interactions between root exudates and the rhizosphere;
- Trade-off between water/nutrient uptake and rhizodeposition;
- New approaches for measuring belowground processes;
- Variations in root-rhizosphere processes between different forest types;
- Novel areas of study in mycorrhizae-root relations.
- Effects of belowground VOCs on plants and microorganisms
- Bidirectional communication and resource flow at the plant root-interface
Keywords: Root Exudates, Rhizosphere, Soil, Soil Microorganisms, Root-Soil Interface, Rhizodeposition, Root-Rhizosphere Processes, Mycorrhizae-Root Relations, VOCs
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