Rhizosphere dynamics theory

September 22, 2011 – 3:30 pm

Yesterday in the Weintraub Lab meeting, we discussed a great paper by Zoe Cardon and Daniel Gage from 2006 Annual Reviews. This paper ties together a lot of interesting concepts in soil ecology and we had a great discussion about rhizosphere processes and methods for testing these ideas.

Most of our discussion was spurred by this awesome figure, in which the authors show their theory of rhizosphere dynamics:


The root is feeding the microbes (orange circles) carbon (green arrows) during the day. The microbes may also get a bit of carbon at night due to hydraulic redistribution. The microbes then produce enzymes to access nutrients needed for growth. When the root tip grows beyond the microbial biomass, grazers (red blobs) come in and eat the microbes, releasing excess nutrients. These nutrients are then taken in during the day by the root as part of the transpiration stream. This is a cool combination of a classic microbial community model (Clarholm 1985) with root physiology and plant water relations.

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