Abstract: Linking microbiomes of soils, plants and aboveground insects via plant-soil feedbacks

Plant soil feedback is the process where a plant via its effect on the soil influences the biomass of chemistry of another plant that grows later in the soil or the insects that feed on the plant. Soils house an overwhelming abundance and diversity of living (micro)organisms, the so-called microbiome, and also plants and insects have microbiomes. Whether and how these microbiomes are altered by plant-soil feedbacks is poorly understood. In this presentation, I will discuss how plants influence the microbial community in the soil they grow in, and I will show how this can alter the composition of microbial communities in plants that grow later in the soil and even in insects feeding from these plants.

Martijn Bezemer is affiliated to the Netherlands Inst of Ecol / Leiden Univ and

Abstract: The surprising influence of soil microbial community diversity on plant and insect interactions and microbial communities

Microbes can have multiple influences (ranging from antagonistic to beneficial) on plants, and recent research is showing that belowground microbes can have cascading effects on plant interactions with insects.  In this seminar I will provide recent data from our potato system in which we manipulated soil community diversity, potato species, and aphid herbivory, and measured the microbial communities in our soils, roots, leaves, and in aphids feeding on host plants.  Surprisingly we found that soil microbial community diversity was one of the strongest drivers of microbial community composition in all of our measured compartments.  Here I will discuss the impacts of these results for both natural and managed systems.

Alison Bennett is affiliated to Ohio State Univ.