Ecosystem Engineers in a Self-organized Soil: A Review of Concepts and Future Research Questions

  title={Ecosystem Engineers in a Self-organized Soil: A Review of Concepts and Future Research Questions},
  author={Patrick Lavelle and Alister V. Spain and Manuel Blouin and George Gardner Brown and Thibaud Deca{\"e}ns and Michel Grimaldi and Jos{\'e} Juan Jimenez and Ddoyle Mckey and J{\'e}r{\^o}me Mathieu and Elena Vel{\'a}squez and Anne Zangerl{\'e}},
  journal={Soil Science},
Abstract Soils are self-organized ecological systems within which organisms interact within a nested suite of discrete scales. Microorganisms form communities and physical structures at the smallest scale (microns), followed by the community of their predators organized in microfoodwebs (tens of microns), the functional domains built by ecosystem engineers (centimeters to meters), ecosystems, and landscapes. Ecosystem engineers, principally plant roots, earthworms, termites, and ants, play key… 

Functional consequences of realistic extinction scenarios in Amazonian soil food webs

Global biodiversity loss is creating a more urgent need to understand the role organisms play in ecosystem functioning and mechanisms of control. Decomposition of dead organic matter is a key

Introduction to the Special Issue on Soil Macrofauna as Ecosystem Engineers

S oil is a critical resource for agricultural production, food security, and the maintenance of almost all life processes. The ability of soils to support all or a part of these ecosystem services

Rhizosphere Spatiotemporal Organization–A Key to Rhizosphere Functions

It is proposed that the combination of modern experimental and modeling techniques, with a focus on imaging approaches, allows for understanding the complex feedbacks between plant resource acquisition, microbiome-related plant health, soil carbon sequestration, and soil structure development.

The Serendipitous Value of Soil Fauna in Ecosystem Functioning: The Unexplained Explained

  • M. Briones
  • Environmental Science
    Front. Environ. Sci.
  • 2018
Soil fauna is crucial to soil formation, litter decomposition, nutrient cycling, biotic regulation and for promoting plant growth. Yet soil organisms remain underrepresented in soil processes and in

KEYLINK: towards a more integrative soil representation for inclusion in ecosystem scale models. I. review and model concept

It is shown that the model representation of the soil food web, the impact of soil ecosystem engineers on soil structure and the related effects on hydrology and soil organic matter (SOM) stabilization are key issues in improving ecosystem-scale soil representation in models.

Earthworms Building Up Soil Microbiota, a Review

The objective of this review is to synthesize the existing literature concerning the influence of earthworms on the structure and function of soil microbial communities, as well as to understand how earthworm-induced changes in the soil microbiota would in turn impact soil processes, particularly those occurring in the rhizosphere and involved in plant growth and health.

Reviews and syntheses: The mechanisms underlying carbon storage in soil

Abstract. Soil organic matter (OM) represents a key C pool for climate regulation but also an essential component for soil functions and services. Scientific research in the 21st century has



Microbial diversity affects self-organization of the soil–microbe system with consequences for function

Using X-ray microtomography and controlled microcosms, evidence is provided that organization of pore-scale structure arises spontaneously out of the interaction between microbial activity, particle aggregation and resource flows in soil and that this capacity for self-organization has limits.

Plant species and soil type cooperatively shape the structure and function of microbial communities in the rhizosphere.

Physiological and molecular data on the factors that drive selection processes in the rhizosphere are presented and implications for agriculture, nature conservation and biotechnology will also be discussed.

Bioactive Molecules in Soil Ecosystems: Masters of the Underground

The major bioactive molecules present in below-ground ecosystems are described, and how these molecules affect microbial communities, nutrient availability and plant defense responses are discussed.

Ecosystem engineering in space and time.

This work focuses on how temporal, spatial and organizational scales usefully inform the roles played by ecosystem engineers and their incorporation into broader ecological contexts.

Microbial co-operation in the rhizosphere.

This article summarizes and discusses significant aspects of this general topic, including the analysis of the key activities carried out by the diverse trophic and functional groups of micro-organisms involved in co-operative rhizosphere interactions; a critical discussion of the direct microbe-microbe interactions which results in processes benefiting sustainable agro-ecosystem development.

Pre-Columbian agricultural landscapes, ecosystem engineers, and self-organized patchiness in Amazonia

This work shows that pre-Columbian farmers of the Guianas coast constructed large raised-field complexes, growing on them crops including maize, manioc, and squash, and shows how sustainability of food-production systems can be enhanced by engineering into them fallows that maintain ecosystem services and biodiversity.