A Conceptual Framework for Up-Scaling Ecological Processes and Application to Ectomycorrhizal Fungi

  • Virgil Iordache
  • Erika Kothe
  • Aurora Neagoe
  • Felicia Gherghel
Part of the Soil Biology book series (SOILBIOL, volume 25)


After reviewing the limits of the current approaches, we introduce an analytical framework for up-scaling analyses of ecological processes. The framework attempts to produce a conceptual unification and leads to a ten-step approach for up-scaling from a source to a target scale. The literature on ectomycorrhizal fungi is then screened following each up-scaling step. We conclude that one needs to construct four (pseudo) hierarchical levels in order to understand the ecological role of ectomycorrhizal fungi in the ecological productivity of ecosystems (scale of 104-105 m2) and one more level, if one is interested in evolutionary processes such as gene flow or speciation. The modularization scales for understanding the role of ectomycorrhizal fungi are those applicable to bacteria (10-6-10-4 m2), fungi (functional dynamic modules occupying surfaces of tenths of m2, and a tree plot of 400–900m2), epigeous fungivorous invertebrates and mammals (104-106 m2), and, for speciation, to small catchments of several hundreds of km2. The analyses showed that the source for up-scaling has to be a plot of 400–900m2. This plot has an associated homomorphic model with a maximum number of nine functional dynamic modules for the structural and functional modeling of ectomycorrhizal communities. Only one modeling step is needed for up-scaling from the source scale (plot) to the ecosystem scale, but the model’s construction involves the previous construction of several up- and down-scaling models in order to quantify the effects of smaller- and larger scale organisms on fungi. The existing knowledge limits the up-scaling of processes, especially with respect to the available mathematical models, which in turn are limited by the data required.


Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungus Fine Root Mycorrhizal Fungus Developmental System Ectomycorrhizal Fungus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We warmly thank Professor Mahendra Rai for providing the opportunity to prepare this text, and a native English speaker for checking the language. The research leading to the results presented here was supported by German program DAAD (research visit awarded to the first author), the Romanian agencies UEFISCSU (project MECOTER code 1006 nr. 291/2007), CNMP (projects FITORISC 31012/2007, and PECOTOX 31043/2007), and the European program FP7 (project UMBRELLA nr. 226870 Grant Agreement 090528).


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Copyright information

© Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virgil Iordache
    • 1
  • Erika Kothe
    • 2
  • Aurora Neagoe
    • 3
  • Felicia Gherghel
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Systems EcologyUniversity of BucharestBucharestRomania
  2. 2.Microbial Phytopathology, Institute of MicrobiologyFriedrich Schiller UniversityJenaGermany
  3. 3.Research Center for Ecological Services (CESEC), Faculty of BiologyUniversity of BucharestBucharestRomania
  4. 4.UMR 1136 Interactions Arbres/MicroorganismesINRAChampenouxFrance

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