Soil Biota as Drivers of Plant Community Assembly
Evidence is accumulating that belowground soil organisms are strong drivers of the aboveground plant community. In this chapter, we examine how soil communities influence plant community assembly through priority effects, soil legacy effects, and niche modification. We discuss how different functional groups of soil organisms drive competitive interactions, species coexistence, and species turnover. We then explore how primary and secondary successional trajectories can be altered by soil communities and delve into the mechanisms by which soil communities can affect ecosystem restoration and biodiversity conservation. Finally, we discuss the role of soil biota in plant invasion and range expansion and how soil biota interact with global environmental changes to affect plant community composition. We conclude by outlining knowledge gaps and propose potential avenues for addressing these gaps via upscaling of measurements, enhanced experimental design, and the utilization of plant and soil organism traits.
We thank Tadashi Fukami and Benjamin Sikes for their helpful comment on an earlier version of the manuscript. Financial support to PK was provided by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet).
- de Vries FT, Thébault E, Liiri M et al (2013) Soil food web properties explain ecosystem services across European land use systems. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110:14296–14301Google Scholar
- Hamel C, Plenchette C (2017) Implications of past, current, and future agricultural practices for mycorrhiza-mediated nutrient flux. In: Johnson NC, Gehring C, Jansa J (eds) Mycorrhizal mediation of soil. Fertility, structure, and carbon storage. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 175–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kulmatiski A, Hines J, Eisenhauer N (2014) Soil organism effects on grassland production and diversity. In: Mariotte P, Kardol P (eds) Grassland biodiversity and conservation in a changing world. Nova Science Publishers Inc., New York, pp 27–49Google Scholar
- Lavelle P, Bignell A, Lepage M et al (1997) Soil function in a changing world: the role of invertebrate ecosystem engineers. Eur J Soil Biol 33:159–193Google Scholar
- Moora M, Zobel M (2009) Arbuscular mycorrhiza and plant-plant interactions – impact of invisible world on visible patterns. In: Pugnaire FI (ed) Positive interactions and plant community dynamic. CRC Press, Boca Ration, pp 79–98Google Scholar
- Sonnemann I, Hempel S, Beutel M et al (2013) The root herbivore history of the soil affects the productivity of a grassland plant community and determines plant response to new root herbivore attack. Plos One 8:e56524. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0056524PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- van Groenigen JW, Lubbers IM, Vos HMJ et al (2014) Earthworms increase plant production: a meta-analysis. Sci Rep-UK 4:6365. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep06365
- Wubs ERJ, van der Putten WH, Bosch M et al (2016) Soil inoculation steers restoration of terrestrial ecosystems. Nat Plants 2:16107Google Scholar