Research Topic

Plant-Bacteria and Plant-Archaea Associations in Arid and Semi-Arid Zones

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Associations between living organisms can improve the fitness of one or more of the partners. Well-known examples include lichens and diverse interspecific plant facilitations. The participating organisms thrive well in their natural environments when associated, but seem to be hampered when they are ...

Associations between living organisms can improve the fitness of one or more of the partners. Well-known examples include lichens and diverse interspecific plant facilitations. The participating organisms thrive well in their natural environments when associated, but seem to be hampered when they are isolated. Those interactions might be particularly valuable in harsh environments where resources are limited and physical conditions are severe.

Arid and semi-arid lands cover a great portion of the earth surface from the poles to the equatorial regions and include highly populated areas by humans. Temperature fluctuations, low availability of water and high solar radiation are some of the critical variables that hinder life in these areas, where resource islands, biological soil crusts (BSC) and barren soils prevail. Vegetation can be conspicuous in the first ones, but BSC usually contain non-vascular or small-sized vascular plants and even barren soils are colonized by plants in some periods of time. For growing in those sites, particularly in their vulnerably juvenile phase, the plants depend on other organisms and on physical barriers that create micro-environmental conditions that either accumulate resources or abate the severity of physical conditions. Plants adapted to arid and semi-arid lands possess inherent traits for their survival in those environments. Nevertheless, they also depend on microorganisms to succeed.

With a growing and urgent demand for sustainable agriculture in semi-arid and arid regions, and with the challenges agriculture faces with the increasing effects of climate change, a growing number of researchers are studying facets of the biological traits of the plant-microorganism interactions both in wild and domesticated plants. Current knowledge on the intimacy of the plant-bacteria interactions in desert soil is still scarce, as well as the roles that bacteria, archaea, microbial eukarya and viruses play in terrestrial ecosystems, but it is growing with the increased interest by the scientific community for their biology, including physiology, biochemistry, genetics, omics, biogeography, biogeology, molecular biology, ecology, and evolution among others.

This Research Topic aims to gather knowledge on the interaction between bacteria and archaea with plants growing in arid and semi-arid lands, both in wild and cultivated plants. Fundamental and applied research papers as well as review articles are welcome, including but not limited to:

- Diversity of plant-associated bacteria and archaea.
- Molecular interactions between plants and associated bacteria and archaea.
- Inoculation of crops and endangered plants.
- Geographical distribution of plant-associated microorganisms.
- Localization of microorganisms at the cellular level.
- Co-evolution of microorganisms and plants.
- Role of bacteria and archaea in land reclamation.
- Studies on rhizosphere and endosphere microbiome
- Studies of physiological, proteomic and metabolomic aspects of terrestrial bacteria and Archaea associated to plants and their communities


The Topic Editors would like to acknowledge Dr. Nisha Tak for her contribution in designing and organizing this editorial project.
Photos by Dr. Luis Fuentes and Dr Albert Barberán, photo collage by Braulio Fuentes.


Keywords: Plant-bacteria interactions, Arid environments, BSC, plant-microorganism interactions, Desert microbiology, plant microbiome, rhizosphere microbiome


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