Special Issue "Plant-Soil Interactions"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 June 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Michel-Pierre Faucon
Website
Guest Editor
Institut Polytechnique UniLaSalle, AGHYLE, Beauvais, France
Interests: functional ecology of plant-soil interactions; plant functional traits; agroecology; ecological engineering; nutrients; trace metals; sustainable soil management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plant–soil interactions play an important role in the functioning of ecosystems. Soil properties represent a strong selection pressure for plant diversity and influence the structure of plant communities and participate to the generation and maintenance of biodiversity. Plant communities selected by soil grow by modifying soil physical, chemical, and biological properties, with consequent effects on survival and growth of plants. This process that is called plant–soil feedback plays a key role in water and nutrient availability and dynamic of soil-borne microbial pathogens, parasite populations, and root herbivores, by globally impacting the vegetation succession or the crop productivity in cultivated habitat.

The complexity of plant–soil interactions has recently been studied by developing a trait-based approach in which responses and effects of plants on soil environment were quantified and modeled. To highlight the role of plant–soil interactions in plant community structure and ecosystem functioning, functional mechanisms should be examined by considering other ecological processes involved in plant–soil interactions, such as competition, facilitation, herbivory, and allelopathy. This fundamental research on plant–soil interaction in ecosystems is essential to transpose knowledges of functional ecology to environmental management.

In this Special Issue, we highlight new fundamental research and significant advances in plant–soil interactions to increase our knowledge in ecology of population, community and ecosystem, and to develop news practices for ecosystem and soil management, biodiversity conservation, and ecological intensification of agriculture and ecological engineering. Several approaches, such as database, monitoring of ecosystems with a soil gradient, and experiments in field, common gardens or greenhouses, should be developed in this Special Issue to unravel the role of plant–soil interactions in plant community structure and ecosystem functioning.

Prof. Michel-Pierre Faucon
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Plant–soil feedback
  • Functioning ecosystem
  • Functional diversity
  • Ecological intensification of agriculture
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Sustainable soil management

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Urochloa Grasses Swap Nitrogen Source When Grown in Association with Legumes in Tropical Pastures
Diversity 2020, 12(11), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12110419 - 05 Nov 2020
Abstract
The degradation of tropical pastures sown with introduced grasses (e.g., Urochloa spp.) has dramatic environmental and economic consequences in Latin America. Nitrogen (N) limitation to plant growth contributes to pasture degradation. The introduction of legumes in association with grasses has been proposed as [...] Read more.
The degradation of tropical pastures sown with introduced grasses (e.g., Urochloa spp.) has dramatic environmental and economic consequences in Latin America. Nitrogen (N) limitation to plant growth contributes to pasture degradation. The introduction of legumes in association with grasses has been proposed as a strategy to improve N supply via symbiotic N2 fixation, but the fixed N input and N benefits for associated grasses have hardly been determined in farmers’ pastures. We have carried out on-farm research in ten paired plots of grass-alone (GA) vs. grass-legume (GL) pastures. Measurements included soil properties, pasture productivity, and sources of plant N uptake using 15N isotope natural abundance methods. The integration of legumes increased pasture biomass production by about 74%, while N uptake was improved by two-fold. The legumes derived about 80% of their N via symbiotic N2 fixation. The isotopic signature of N of grasses in GA vs. GL pastures suggested that sources of grass N are affected by sward composition. Low values of δ15N found in some grasses in GA pastures indicate that they depend, to some extent, on N from non-symbiotic N2 fixation, while δ15N signatures of grasses in GL pastures pointed to N transfer to grass from the associated legume. The role of different soil–plant processes such as biological nitrification inhibition (BNI), non-symbiotic N2 fixation by GA pastures and legume–N transfer to grasses in GL pastures need to be further studied to provide a more comprehensive understanding of N sources supporting the growth of grasses in tropical pastures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Definition of Core Bacterial Taxa in Different Root Compartments of Dactylis glomerata, Grown in Soil under Different Levels of Land Use Intensity
Diversity 2020, 12(10), 392; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12100392 - 13 Oct 2020
Abstract
Plant-associated bacterial assemblages are critical for plant fitness. Thus, identifying a consistent plant-associated core microbiome is important for predicting community responses to environmental changes. Our target was to identify the core bacterial microbiome of orchard grass Dactylis glomerata L. and to assess the [...] Read more.
Plant-associated bacterial assemblages are critical for plant fitness. Thus, identifying a consistent plant-associated core microbiome is important for predicting community responses to environmental changes. Our target was to identify the core bacterial microbiome of orchard grass Dactylis glomerata L. and to assess the part that is most sensitive to land management. Dactylis glomerata L. samples were collected from grassland sites with contrasting land use intensities but comparable soil properties at three different timepoints. To assess the plant-associated bacterial community structure in the compartments rhizosphere, bulk soil and endosphere, a molecular barcoding approach based on high throughput 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing was used. A distinct composition of plant-associated core bacterial communities independent of land use intensity was identified. Pseudomonas, Rhizobium and Bradyrhizobium were ubiquitously found in the root bacterial core microbiome. In the rhizosphere, the majority of assigned genera were Rhodoplanes, Methylibium, Kaistobacter and Bradyrhizobium. Due to the frequent occurrence of plant-promoting abilities in the genera found in the plant-associated core bacterial communities, our study helps to identify “healthy” plant-associated bacterial core communities. The variable part of the plant-associated microbiome, represented by the fluctuation of taxa at the different sampling timepoints, was increased under low land use intensity. This higher compositional variation in samples from plots with low land use intensity indicates a more selective recruitment of bacteria with traits required at different timepoints of plant development compared to samples from plots with high land use intensity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Casuarina Plantations Inoculated with Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi and Frankia on the Diversity of Herbaceous Vegetation in Saline Environments in Senegal
Diversity 2020, 12(8), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12080293 - 27 Jul 2020
Abstract
Land salinization is a major constraint for the practice of agriculture in the world. Considering the extent of this phenomenon, the rehabilitation of ecosystems degraded by salinization has become a priority to guarantee food security in semi-arid environments. The mechanical and chemical approaches [...] Read more.
Land salinization is a major constraint for the practice of agriculture in the world. Considering the extent of this phenomenon, the rehabilitation of ecosystems degraded by salinization has become a priority to guarantee food security in semi-arid environments. The mechanical and chemical approaches for rehabilitating salt-affected soils being expensive, an alternative approach is to develop and utilize biological systems utilizing salt-tolerant plant species. Casuarina species are naturally halotolerant, but this tolerance has been shown to be improved when they are inoculated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and/or nitrogen-fixing bacteria (Frankia). Furthermore, Casuarina plantations have been proposed to promote the development of plant diversity. Thus, the aim of the current study was to evaluate the impact of a plantation comprising the species Casuarina inoculated with AMF and Frankia on the diversity of the sub-canopy and adjacent vegetation. Work was conducted on a plantation comprising Casurina equisetifolia and C. glauca variously inoculated with Frankia and Rhizophagus fasciculatus prior to field planting. The experimental area of 2500 m2 was divided into randomized blocks and vegetation sampling was conducted below and outside of the Casuarina canopy in 32 m2 plots. A total of 48 samples were taken annually over 3 years, with 24 taken from below the Casuarina canopy and 24 from outside the canopy. The results obtained show that co-inoculation with Frankia and Rhizophagus fasciculatus improves the height and survival rate of both species. After 4–5 years, there was greater species diversity and plant biomass in the sub-canopy environment compared with that of the adjacent environments. Our results suggest that inoculation of beneficial microbes can improve growth of Casuarina species and that planting of such species can improve the diversity of herbaceous vegetation in saline environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Plant Functional Traits on Tropical Ultramafic Habitats Affected by Fire and Mining: Insights for Reclamation
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060248 - 17 Jun 2020
Abstract
Biodiversity-rich tropical ultramafic areas are currently being impacted by land clearing and particularly by mine activities. The reclamation of ultramafic degraded areas requires a knowledge of pioneer plant species. The objective of this study is to highlight the functional traits of plants that [...] Read more.
Biodiversity-rich tropical ultramafic areas are currently being impacted by land clearing and particularly by mine activities. The reclamation of ultramafic degraded areas requires a knowledge of pioneer plant species. The objective of this study is to highlight the functional traits of plants that colonize ultramafic areas after disturbance by fire or mining activities. This information will allow trait-assisted selection of candidate species for reclamation. Fifteen plots were established on ultramafic soils in Sabah (Borneo, Malaysia) disturbed by recurrent fires (FIRE plots) or by soil excavation and quarrying (MINE plots). In each plot, soil samples were collected and plant cover as well as species abundances were estimated. Fifteen functional traits related to revegetation, nutrient improvement, or Ni phytomining were measured in sampled plants. Vegetation of both FIRE and MINE plots was dominated by perennials with lateral spreading capacity (mainly by rhizomes). Plant communities displayed a conservative growth strategy, which is an adaptation to low nutrient availability on ultramafic soils. Plant height was higher in FIRE than in MINE plots, whereas the number of stems per plant was higher in MINE plots. Perennial plants with lateral spreading capacity and a conservative growth strategy would be the first choice for the reclamation of ultramafic degraded areas. Additional notes for increasing nutrient cycling, managing competition, and implementing of Ni-phytomining are also provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Functional Diversity Effects of Vegetation on Runoff to Design Herbaceous Hedges for Sediment Retention
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12040131 - 31 Mar 2020
Abstract
Background: Functional diversity effects on ecosystem processes, like on soil erosion, are not fully understood. Runoff and soil erosion in agricultural landscapes are reduced by the hydraulic roughness (HR) of vegetation patches, which furthers sediment retention. Vegetation with important stem density, diameters, leaf [...] Read more.
Background: Functional diversity effects on ecosystem processes, like on soil erosion, are not fully understood. Runoff and soil erosion in agricultural landscapes are reduced by the hydraulic roughness (HR) of vegetation patches, which furthers sediment retention. Vegetation with important stem density, diameters, leaf areas, and density impact the HR. A functional structure composed of these negatively correlated traits involved in the increase of the HR would constitute a positive effect of the functional diversity. Methods: Runoff simulations were undertaken on four mono-specific and two multi-specific communities, using herbaceous plant species from North-West Europe, presenting six contrasting aboveground functional traits involved in the HR increase. Results: An effect of dominant traits in the community was found on the HR, identified as the community-weighted leaf density. The non-additive effect of functional diversity on the HR could be explained by the presence of species presenting large stems in the communities with high functional diversity. Conclusion: We argued that functional diversity effect on the HR could change due to idiosyncratic effects of the plant traits, which would be influenced by soil properties, phylogeny diversity, and plant species interactions. These findings constitute an advancement in the understanding of plant trait assemblage on runoff and soil erosion processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Cover Crop Diversity as a Tool to Mitigate Vine Decline and Reduce Pathogens in Vineyard Soils
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12040128 - 30 Mar 2020
Abstract
Wine grape production is an important economic asset in many nations; however, a significant proportion of vines succumb to grapevine trunk pathogens, reducing yields and causing economic losses. Cover crops, plants that are grown in addition to main crops in order to maintain [...] Read more.
Wine grape production is an important economic asset in many nations; however, a significant proportion of vines succumb to grapevine trunk pathogens, reducing yields and causing economic losses. Cover crops, plants that are grown in addition to main crops in order to maintain and enhance soil composition, may also serve as a line of defense against these fungal pathogens by producing volatile root exudates and/or harboring suppressive microbes. We tested whether cover crop diversity reduced disease symptoms and pathogen abundance. In two greenhouse experiments, we inoculated soil with a 106 conidia suspension of Ilyonectria liriodendri, a pathogenic fungus, then conditioned soil with cover crops for several months to investigate changes in pathogen abundance and fungal communities. After removal of cover crops, Chardonnay cuttings were grown in the same soil to assess disease symptoms. When grown alone, white mustard was the only cover crop associated with reductions in necrotic root damage and abundance of Ilyonectria. The suppressive effects of white mustard largely disappeared when paired with other cover crops. In this study, plant identity was more important than diversity when controlling for fungal pathogens in vineyards. This research aligns with other literature describing the suppressive potential of white mustard in vineyards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Soil Interactions)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Roles of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi on Plant Growth and Performance: Importance in Biotic and Abiotic Stressed Regulation
Diversity 2020, 12(10), 370; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12100370 - 25 Sep 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) establish symbiotic associations with most terrestrial plants. These soil microorganisms enhance the plant’s nutrient uptake by extending the root absorbing area. In return, the symbiont receives plant carbohydrates for the completion of its life cycle. AMF also helps plants [...] Read more.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) establish symbiotic associations with most terrestrial plants. These soil microorganisms enhance the plant’s nutrient uptake by extending the root absorbing area. In return, the symbiont receives plant carbohydrates for the completion of its life cycle. AMF also helps plants to cope with biotic and abiotic stresses such as salinity, drought, extreme temperature, heavy metal, diseases, and pathogens. For abiotic stresses, the mechanisms of adaptation of AMF to these stresses are generally linked to increased hydromineral nutrition, ion selectivity, gene regulation, production of osmolytes, and the synthesis of phytohormones and antioxidants. Regarding the biotic stresses, AMF are involved in pathogen resistance including competition for colonization sites and improvement of the plant’s defense system. Furthermore, AMF have a positive impact on ecosystems. They improve the quality of soil aggregation, drive the structure of plant and bacteria communities, and enhance ecosystem stability. Thus, a plant colonized by AMF will use more of these adaptation mechanisms compared to a plant without mycorrhizae. In this review, we present the contribution of AMF on plant growth and performance in stressed environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Soil Interactions)
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