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Rhizosphere Spatiotemporal Organisation - a Key to Rhizosphere Functions (SPP 2089)
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
This Priority Programme aims at the identification of spatiotemporal patterns in the rhizosphere and at the explanation of the underlying mechanisms. The key concept of the programme consists of approaching the rhizosphere as a self-organised system. Self-organisation arises from a cascade of feedback loops between root, microbiome and soil. Emerging patterns in the rhizosphere cannot be understood from studying the components in isolation. This call invites proposals from appropriate disciplines such as rhizosphere research, soil chemistry, plant genomics and physiology, soil microbiology, soil physics, exudate analysis, image/pattern analysis and modelling.
A system approach is obligatory in the sense mentioned above as well as contribution to and participation in the Central Platform Experiments (CPE) with two soil textures (loam, sand) and two Zea mays genotypes (wildtype and root hair defective mutant rth3). Experimental work is expected to take place on or use material from CPE. Complementary focal topic-related satellite experiments using the two textures and respective mixes, two Zea mays genotypes and comparisons with genotypes or crop plant species with contrasting rhizosphere traits are possible.
The overall hypothesis of the Priority Programme is that resilience emerges from self-organised spatiotemporal pattern formation in the rhizosphere. In the first three-year phase of funding the projects started to test the following specific hypothesis:
H1: Self-organisation in the rhizosphere leads to specific spatiotemporal patterns of nutrients, water and the microbiome. The interplay between these temporal and spatial patterns is the key for efficient resource acquisition by the plant.
H2: Self-organisation in the rhizosphere is indispensably connected with/tied to soil structure formation and thus increases microbial habitat diversity. Structures are supposed to be long-lasting, i.e. they will still be present, when the processes initiating them are not present any more.
H3: The size of the rhizosphere is determined by the radial extent of pattern formation controlled by root activity/morphology. It is specific for different root exudates/nutrients and modulated by soil texture, microbial activity and driving forces for transport.
H4: The process complex of self-organisation in the rhizosphere follows a similar general pattern of interactions between roots, the associated microbiome and the soil. External drivers, like soil texture, plant genotype or introduction of new players in the microbiome, result in quantitative but not qualitative changes in the self-organised rhizosphere system.

The working groups are expected to make use of modern analytical techniques for measuring temporal and/or spatial parameter patterns in situ, allowing investigations ranging from the nanometre to the centimetre scale. We particularly welcome approaches aiming at a mechanistic understanding of the links between biota and its physical and chemical environment. The problem of extrapolation from lab to field scale should be addressed.

If you have not yet registered in elan please note that you must do so by 20 March 2021 to submit a proposal under this call.

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme coordinator:
Professorin Dr. Doris Vetterlein
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ
Themenbereich Ökosysteme der Zukunft
Department Bodensystemforschung
Theodor-Lieser-Straße 4, 06120 Halle
phone +49 345 558 5415, doris.vetterlein@ufz.de

Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to:
Programme contact: Dr. Patricia Schmitz-Möller, phone +49 228 885-2797, patricia.schmitz-moeller@dfg.de
Administrative contact: Rita Berg-Maskey, phone +49 228 885-2149, rita.berg-maskey@dfg.de

Further Information: