Global ecosystems face severe challenges from climate change, environmental pollution, and intensive farming. Among these challenges, frequent and intense drought presents a major threat to plants in both natural and managed ecosystems. Roots and the rhizosphere, which includes the countless microorganisms can shape plant responses to drought and hence ecosystem health and resilience. In this session, we focus on how root traits and rhizosphere microbiomes respond to drought in both forest and agro-ecosystems. A deeper knowledge of these vital connections between rhizosphere processes and ecosystem health under drought stress can help us to formulate sustainable forest management practices and drought-resilient crop production. Forests are important in sustaining life on earth as they contribute to many ecosystem services including soil carbon sequestration. Fine root and the associated mycorrhizae which contribute to a majority of soil carbon exhibit high level of plasticity under drought. The different talks will examine recent advances on the morphological, physiological and chemical plasticity of fine roots of different tree species under drought, which is indispensable for tree health. We will further investigate the impact of drought on rhizosphere microbiome, fungal community assembly and the associated changes in plant-microbial interactions. In agroecosystems, we focus on the root phenotypes that mitigate drought effects on crops and harnessing rhizosphere microbiome to impart drought-resilience in crops.
Presenting Author: Alex Williams – School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, The University of Manchester
Presenting Author: Cheng Gao – State Key Lab of Mycology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Presenting Author: Vidya Suseela – Dept. Plant & Environmental Sciences, Clemson University
Presenting Author: Hannah Schneider – Centre for Crop Systems Analysis, Wageningen University