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Linking root traits and plant-soil feedbacks toenvironmental change in the sub-arctictundra
Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
Responsible organisation
2021 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Plant community assembly processes shape the composition and abundances of species, and encompass functional traits and resource acquisition strategy of species, biotic interactions and abiotic filtering. Hence, an understanding of these complex processes requires disentangling the effects of multiple factors influencing plant community assembly. In this thesis, I investigated fine root trait associations with soil microorganisms, the resulting feedback effects from those interactions (i.e., plant-soil feedbacks), plant-plant interactions under warming, and the effects of temperature on fine root traits of plant communities in the Swedish sub-arctic tundra.

Here, the chemical root economics spectrum (i.e., tradeoff between acquisitive and conservative strategies) predicted the abundance of broad microbial groups, whereas individual fine root traits were associated with the relative abundances of fungal taxa. It also explained plant-soil feedback, with acquisitive trait values resulting in negative feedbacks. In addition, plant-plant interactions were altered under warming, but this was not related to resource-acquisition strategy. Further, community-level root trait responses to temperature were not necessarily related to root resource investment strategy. 

Taken together, this thesis shows the importance of fine root traits for understanding plant community responses to global change. This has implications for plant community assembly, as well as carbon and nutrient cycling in a future warmer sub-arctic tundra.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences , 2021. , p. 70
Series
Acta Universitatis agriculturae Sueciae ; 2021:32
Keywords [en]
arctic, fine root traits, fungi, plant-soil feedback, plant-plant interactions, rhizosphere, root economics spectrum, trait variation; tundra
National Category
Ecology Soil Science Forest Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-8935ISBN: 978-91-7760-742-7 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7760-743-4 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:polar-8935DiVA, id: diva2:1716285
Available from: 2022-12-05 Created: 2022-12-05 Last updated: 2022-12-05Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Root traits and soil micro-organisms as drivers of plant–soil feedbacks within the sub-arctic tundra meadow
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Root traits and soil micro-organisms as drivers of plant–soil feedbacks within the sub-arctic tundra meadow
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2021 (English)In: Journal of Ecology, ISSN 0022-0477, E-ISSN 1365-2745, Vol. n/a, no n/aArticle in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]
  1. Plant–soil feedback (PSF) results from the influence of plants on the composition and abundance of various taxa and functional groups of soil micro-organisms, and their reciprocal effects on the plants. However, little is understood about the importance of fine root traits and root economic strategies in moderating microbial-driven PSF.
  2. We examined the relationships between PSF and 11 chemical and morphological root traits from 18 sub-arctic meadow plant species, as well as the soil microbial community composition which we characterized using phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) and high-throughput sequencing. We also investigated the importance of the root economics spectrum in influencing PSF, because it indicates plant below-ground economic strategies via trade-offs between resource acquisition and conservation.
  3. When we considered the entire root economics spectrum, we found that PSFs were more negative when root trait values were more acquisitive across the 18 species. In addition, PSF was more negative when values of root nitrogen content and root forks per root length were higher, and more positive when root dry matter content was higher. We additionally identified two fungal orders that were negatively related to PSF. However, we found no evidence that root traits influenced PSF through its relationship with these fungal orders.
  4. Synthesis. Our results provide evidence that for some fine root traits, the root economics spectrum and some fungal orders have an important role in influencing PSF. By investigating the roles of soil micro-organisms and fine root traits in driving PSF, this study enables us to better understand root trait–microbial linkages across species and therefore offers new insights about the mechanisms that underpin PSFs and ultimately plant community assembly.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2021
Keywords
arctic, fine root traits, functional ecology, fungi, plant–soil feedback, root economics spectrum, tundra ecosystems
National Category
Ecology Soil Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-8792 (URN)10.1111/1365-2745.13814 (DOI)
Available from: 2022-01-06 Created: 2022-01-06 Last updated: 2022-12-05Bibliographically approved
2. Root trait–microbial relationships across tundra plant species
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Root trait–microbial relationships across tundra plant species
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2021 (English)In: New Phytologist, ISSN 0028-646X, E-ISSN 1469-8137, Vol. 229, no 3, p. 1508-1520Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Fine roots, and their functional traits, influence associated rhizosphere microorganisms via root exudation and root litter quality. However, little information is known about their relationship with rhizosphere microbial taxa and functional guilds. We investigated the relationships of 11 fine root traits of 20 sub-arctic tundra meadow plant species and soil microbial community composition, using phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) and high-throughput sequencing. We primarily focused on the root economics spectrum, as it provides a useful framework to examine plant strategies by integrating the co-ordination of belowground root traits along a resource acquisition?conservation trade-off axis. We found that the chemical axis of the fine root economics spectrum was positively related to fungal to bacterial ratios, but negatively to Gram-positive to Gram-negative bacterial ratios. However, this spectrum was unrelated to the relative abundance of functional guilds of soil fungi. Nevertheless, the relative abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi was positively correlated to root carbon content, but negatively to the numbers of root forks per root length. Our results suggest that the fine root economics spectrum is important for predicting broader groups of soil microorganisms (i.e. fungi and bacteria), while individual root traits may be more important for predicting soil microbial taxa and functional guilds.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2021
Keywords
fine root traits, fungi, plant–microorganism interactions, rhizosphere, tundra ecosystems
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-8565 (URN)10.1111/nph.16982 (DOI)
Available from: 2021-01-15 Created: 2021-01-15 Last updated: 2022-12-05Bibliographically approved

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