Plant–Soil Feedback/Microbial Ecology: disentangling negative and positive soil feedback effects

Plant-Soil Feedbacks entail biological, chemical and physical changes in soil due to plant growth which can promote or suppress the growth of subsequently grown plants. These occur in natural and agronomic systems.

In this project we aim to unravel which soil microorganisms can explain the differential plant-soil feedback (PSF) responses of a wide range of grassland species. This is done by identifying and quantifying the root-associated microbes, including mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and root pathogens, in the field and in complementing greenhouse experiments, and testing plant responses to the different microbial groups. We will reveale how grassland plant species may compete with, or facilitate each other by enforcing or reducing each other’s negative PSF.