Research Topic

The Next Step: Disentangling the Role of Plant-Soil Feedbacks in Plant Performance and Species Coexistence Under Natural Conditions

About this Research Topic

Effects of plants on biotic and abiotic conditions of soils that feed back on plants are receiving increasing attention in plant ecology. It is acknowledged that these plant-soil feedbacks (PSFs) play an important role in plant performance and community composition in many terrestrial ecosystems. However, so far, most conclusions on the importance of PSFs in natural systems are drawn from experiments performed under highly controlled glasshouse conditions.

Under natural conditions, the growth and development of plants, as well as of soil organisms is influenced by a variety of abiotic and biotic interactions, thus limiting the transferability of PSF results from controlled to natural conditions. Not surprisingly, recent research has shown that PSFs, plant competition and, finally, coexistence differ between controlled and natural conditions. A frontier in PSF research is a clear view of how PSFs are shaped by different environmental factors to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of PSFs in natural systems.

In this Research Topic, we aim to compile current PSF research (with a special focus on the effects of environmental factors on PSFs) and identify open gaps in PSF research, such as the quantification of PSFs vs. influence of herbivory and plant-plant competition on plant performance and species coexistence in natural ecosystems.

We aim to integrate PSFs in broader ecological concepts and set the stage to transfer results of PSFs obtained under controlled conditions to natural situations. This Research Topic also aims to enhance our knowledge on the role and importance of PSFs in relation to other drivers that influence plant performance and community composition.

We welcome the submission of articles that:

I. Review PSF research in the context of different abiotic and biotic environmental conditions
II. Report results of experimental studies of PSFs in interaction with different external factors, with a special focus on studies performed under natural conditions
III. Present theoretical frameworks incorporating environmental interactions into PSF research
IV. Identify gaps in PSF research that we need to fill to understand the importance of PSFs in natural systems


Keywords: Plant-soil feedback, Coexistence, Environmental factors, Above-belowground interactions, Plant-community assembly


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.

Effects of plants on biotic and abiotic conditions of soils that feed back on plants are receiving increasing attention in plant ecology. It is acknowledged that these plant-soil feedbacks (PSFs) play an important role in plant performance and community composition in many terrestrial ecosystems. However, so far, most conclusions on the importance of PSFs in natural systems are drawn from experiments performed under highly controlled glasshouse conditions.

Under natural conditions, the growth and development of plants, as well as of soil organisms is influenced by a variety of abiotic and biotic interactions, thus limiting the transferability of PSF results from controlled to natural conditions. Not surprisingly, recent research has shown that PSFs, plant competition and, finally, coexistence differ between controlled and natural conditions. A frontier in PSF research is a clear view of how PSFs are shaped by different environmental factors to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of PSFs in natural systems.

In this Research Topic, we aim to compile current PSF research (with a special focus on the effects of environmental factors on PSFs) and identify open gaps in PSF research, such as the quantification of PSFs vs. influence of herbivory and plant-plant competition on plant performance and species coexistence in natural ecosystems.

We aim to integrate PSFs in broader ecological concepts and set the stage to transfer results of PSFs obtained under controlled conditions to natural situations. This Research Topic also aims to enhance our knowledge on the role and importance of PSFs in relation to other drivers that influence plant performance and community composition.

We welcome the submission of articles that:

I. Review PSF research in the context of different abiotic and biotic environmental conditions
II. Report results of experimental studies of PSFs in interaction with different external factors, with a special focus on studies performed under natural conditions
III. Present theoretical frameworks incorporating environmental interactions into PSF research
IV. Identify gaps in PSF research that we need to fill to understand the importance of PSFs in natural systems


Keywords: Plant-soil feedback, Coexistence, Environmental factors, Above-belowground interactions, Plant-community assembly


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 May 2019 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 May 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

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

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