Soil-Plant Interaction (SPI)
From the plant perspective as a sessile organism, this all serves to optimize the acquisition of scarce resources or to avoid toxic ones with a minimal energy investment to allow for growth and reproduction. From the ecosystem perspective these processes do not only impact net primary production and decomposition, habitat quantity and quality for microorganisms, but also transport of water and chemicals in soil. Within the working group soil-plant interaction we develop methods for investigating in situ for the rhizosphere and bulk soil the dynamics of
physical characteristics (soil strength and structure),
hydrological characteristics (availability and distribution of water), and
chemical characteristics (concentration and distribution of nutrients and toxic elements).
On lab and field scale we try to quantify how changes in these characteristics feedback on plant growth and transport of water and chemicals. We work on several questions in the context of (i) efficient use of scarce resources (water, nutrients, K), (ii) cycling of nutrients for sustainable production (Si), (ii) availability of contaminants (As).