Tadashi Fukami, Doctoral (Program)
The soil microbial community predicts the importance of plant traits in plant-soil feedback
2015; 206 (1): 329-341
Reciprocal interaction between plant and soil (plant-soil feedback, PSF) can determine plant community structure. Understanding which traits control interspecific variation of PSF strength is crucial for plant ecology. Studies have highlighted either plant-mediated nutrient cycling (litter-mediated PSF) or plant-microbe interaction (microbial-mediated PSF) as important PSF mechanisms, each attributing PSF variation to different traits. However, this separation neglects the complex indirect interactions between the two mechanisms. We developed a model coupling litter- and microbial-mediated PSFs to identify the relative importance of traits in controlling PSF strength, and its dependency on the composition of root-associated microbes (i.e. pathogens and/or mycorrhizal fungi). Results showed that although plant carbon: nitrogen (C : N) ratio and microbial nutrient acquisition traits were consistently important, the importance of litter decomposability varied. Litter decomposability was not a major PSF determinant when pathogens are present. However, its importance increased with the relative abundance of mycorrhizal fungi as nutrient released from the mycorrhizal-enhanced litter production to the nutrient-depleted soils result in synergistic increase of soil nutrient and mycorrhizal abundance. Data compiled from empirical studies also supported our predictions. We propose that the importance of litter decomposability depends on the composition of root-associated microbes. Our results provide new perspectives in plant invasion and trait-based ecology.
View details for DOI 10.1111/nph.13215
View details for Web of Science ID 000350347500033
View details for PubMedID 25521190
- Incorporating the soil environment and microbial community into plant competition theory. Frontiers in microbiology 2015; 6: 1066-?