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Plant Secondary Compounds in Soil and Their Role in Belowground Species Interactions

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  • Bodil Ehlers
  • Matty P. Berg, University of Groningen, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • ,
  • Michael Staudt, Univ Montpellier, France
  • Martin Holmstrup
  • Marianne Glasius
  • Jacintha Ellers, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Sara Tomiolo, University of Tübingen
  • ,
  • René Bjerregaard Madsen
  • ,
  • Stine Slotsbo
  • Josep Peñuelas, Global Ecology Unit, CREAF‐CSIC‐UAB‐UB, CREAF, Spain

Knowledge of the effect of plant secondary compounds (PSCs) on belowground interactions in the more diffuse community of species living outside the rhizosphere is sparse compared with what we know about how PSCs affect aboveground interactions. We illustrate here that PSCs from foliar tissue, root exudates, and leaf litter effectively influence such belowground plant–plant, plant–microorganism, and plant–soil invertebrate interactions. Climatic factors can induce PSC production and select for different plant chemical types. Therefore, climate change can alter both quantitative and qualitative PSC production, and how these compounds move in the soil. This can change the soil chemical environment, with cascading effects on both the ecology and evolution of belowground species interactions and, ultimately, soil functioning.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Ecology & Evolution
Pages (from-to)716-730
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

    Research areas

  • aboveground-belowground interactions, chemical ecology, climate change, soil functioning, soil organisms

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