P24 - Rhizosphere Modelling

Modelling self-organisation in the rhizosphere


All resources plants acquire from soil have to pass through the rhizosphere, i.e., that part of the soil in the vicinity of the roots that is influenced by root activities. This results in particular in radial gradients between root surface and bulk soil which are additionally shaped by the interplay of several interacting components (soil, roots, microorganisms, chemicals). The overall objective of this project is to use multiscale modelling to study the interplay between root architecture development and gradients of various rhizosphere components simultaneously. In our multiscale approach, we consider 1D radially symmetric rhizosphere gradients around each individual root segment and can thereby achieve a resolution much higher than the one at which the root system architecture is defined. Flow and transport are computed on both scales and coupled in a mass conservative way. This approach has proved to be accurate at reasonable computational cost, thus facilitating consideration of multiple components.
We will implement our models using the root architecture model CRootBox and DuMux, a simulator for flow and transport modelling in porous media. The models will be parameterised and evaluated based on experimental data acquired by different collaborating projects, including structural data on both root architecture and soil, data on plant water relations, exudates and nutrients as well as microbes in the rhizosphere. Our model results will contribute to the understanding of the rhizosphere as a self-organised system. In particular, we aim to predict parameter regimes in which different patterns represent stable, resilient systems.

Link to English scientific abstract

Link to German scientific abstract