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Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services$
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Diana H. Wall, Richard D. Bardgett, Valerie Behan-Pelletier, Jeffrey E. Herrick, T. Hefin Jones, Karl Ritz, Johan Six, Donald R. Strong, and Wim H. van der Putten

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199575923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575923.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 October 2019

From Genes to Ecosystems: Plant Genetics as a Link between Above- and Belowground Processes

From Genes to Ecosystems: Plant Genetics as a Link between Above- and Belowground Processes

Chapter:
(p.82) Chapter 2.2 From Genes to Ecosystems: Plant Genetics as a Link between Above- and Belowground Processes
Source:
Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services
Author(s):

Jennifer A. Schweitzer

Michael D. Madritch

Emmi Felker-Quinn

Joseph K. Bailey

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575923.003.0009

An important component of biodiversity is the genetic diversity embedded within species. Ecologists have long known that species' identity matters, as it determines the species' role in community interactions and ecosystem processes. However, intraspecific genetic variation – the variation within a species – is also fundamentally important to evolution and ecology. Consequently, ecologists are increasingly aware that genetic variation within a species merits much more attention than it has historically been accorded. Contemporary ecological interactions between plants and soils can result in specific community and ecosystem responses that may feed back to influence trait variation within and among plant populations. This chapter addresses several key issues regarding the importance of a ‘genes to ecosystem’ approach in considering plant–soil linkages, first examining how plant functional traits bridge plant species interactions with soil community dynamics. Second, it considers the role of plant genetic variation on soil communities, and then examines some of the mechanisms by which plant genetic variation affects ecosystem processes. The chapter subsequently explores how plant–soil feedbacks may be strong evolutionary drivers of change in plant functional traits at local and landscape scales, and concludes by considering some key directions for further research. Taken together, it highlights the genetic linkages between plants and soils (i.e., ‘the extended phenotype’) that may have important, but hitherto little appreciated, evolutionary implications.

Keywords:   aboveground linkages, belowground linkages, functional traits, genetic variation, intraspecific variation, plant–soil feedbacks, plant–soil linkages, soil communities, agents of selection

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