Promotor: prof. dr TW Kuyper
Soil supports plant growth and is altered by plant growth. Like an inheritance, plants can influence growth of succeeding plants. A plant’s inheritance can operate directly via soil microbes and indirectly via decomposition. Relating a plant’s functional characteristics to its legacy sheds light on plant-soil interactions. By comparing crops and wild plants I obtained insight in how a plant’s inheritance can benefit sustainable agriculture. I found that legacies of cover crops can be predicted based on biomass quantity and quality and have knock-on effects on soil microbes. Also, plant characteristics predict how fast plant residues decompose and partially explain the microbial community composition around roots. Plant characteristics differ between crops and wild plants. More importantly, decomposition of crop and wild-plant roots differed, and crops associate differently with soil microbes than wild plants. Thus, legacies of wild plants cannot be translated directly to legacies of crops and vice versa.