Journal cover Journal topic
Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Journal topic
Volume 7, issue 11
Biogeosciences, 7, 3731–3740, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-7-3731-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Modeling soil system: complexity under your feet

Biogeosciences, 7, 3731–3740, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-7-3731-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  18 Nov 2010

18 Nov 2010

Modelling and quantifying the effect of heterogeneity in soil physical conditions on fungal growth

R. Pajor, R. Falconer, S. Hapca, and W. Otten R. Pajor et al.
  • The SIMBIOS Centre, University of Abertay Dundee, Kydd Building, Dundee, DD1 1HG, UK

Abstract. Despite the importance of fungi in soil ecosystem services, a theoretical framework that links soil management strategies with fungal ecology is still lacking. One of the key challenges is to understand how the complex geometrical shape of pores in soil affects fungal spread and species interaction. Progress in this area has long been hampered by a lack of experimental techniques for quantification. In this paper we use X-ray computed tomography to quantify and characterize the pore geometry at microscopic scales (30 μm) that are relevant for fungal spread in soil. We analysed the pore geometry for replicated samples with bulk-densities ranging from 1.2–1.6 g/cm3. The bulk-density of soils significantly affected the total volume, mean pore diameter and connectivity of the pore volume. A previously described fungal growth model comprising a minimal set of physiological processes required to produce a range of phenotypic responses was used to analyse the effect of these geometric descriptors on fungal invasion, and we showed that the degree and rate of fungal invasion was affected mainly by pore volume and pore connectivity. The presented experimental and theoretical framework is a significant first step towards understanding how environmental change and soil management impact on fungal diversity in soils.

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