CALL FOR PAPERS: Special Issue Rhizosphere spatiotemporal organisation: an integrated approach linking above and belowground

Plant and Soil is seeking submissions for a Special Issue entitled Special Issue Rhizosphere spatiotemporal organisation: an integrated approach linking above and belowground guest edited by Doris Vetterlein, Andrea Carminati, Ingrid Kögel-Knabner, Patrick Bienert, Andrea Schnepf and Kornelia Smalla. Submissions close on 31 December 2021.

Special issue papers accepted for publication in the special issue will be available online very soon after acceptance, and before inclusion in the special issue. All manuscript will be peer-reviewed by 2-3 independent reviewers and handled by the Guest Editors, in collaboration with the Journal’s Section Editors.

Resilience of soils, i.e., their ability to maintain functions or recover after disturbance, is closely linked to the root-soil interface, the soil’s power house. However, the limited observability of key processes at the root-soil interface has so far limited our understanding of how such resilience emerges. Recently, it was hypothesize that resilience emerges from self-organized spatiotemporal patterns which are the result of complex and dynamic feedbacks between physical, chemical, and biological processes occurring in the rhizosphere. It is proposed that the combination of modern experimental and modeling techniques, with a focus on approaches providing the spatial context (imaging techniques, guided sampling), allows for understanding the complex feedbacks between plant resource acquisition, microbiome-related plant health, soil carbon sequestration, and soil structure development. It is the aim to identify parameter patterns (along roots and with increasing distance from the root surface) as well as the underlying processes and feedback loops in their true 2D and 3D geometry along time. This applies across different scientific disciplines from soil physics/chemistry/microbiology to plant genomics/physiology and across different scales from the nano/microscopic scale of the root soil interface, over the radial profiles around single roots, up to the root architecture and plant scale. It is the goal of this special issue to move beyond reductionist approaches, i.e. to address systems with plant growing in soil. We particularly welcome approaches which address in detail what we gain and loose moving from reductionist systems (hydroponics, gel plates, pot experiments with standardized substrates), to the field scale (soil structure, depth profile, growing period, environmental conditions); from bulk investigations or altered geometry (whole root system, rhizobox- and compartment-system approaches), to spatially resolved approaches allowing for radial geometry of transport processes and realistic root length density.

This special issue will gather rhizosphere studies addressing spatio-temporal parameter patterns, their relevance for plant health, growth, water and nutrient availability and uptake as well as carbon sequestration and soil structure development. It welcomes studies that will improve our understanding of feedback processes not only below ground, but including above and belowground interaction. Of particular interest are approaches combining state-of-the-art technologies from different disciplines (plant metabolomics and Illumina sequencing of the microbiome; root gene expression analysis and X-ray computed tomography of soil and root structure; Positron emission spectroscopy and stable isotope probing within the microbiome, Nano-Sims investigations related to root activity, ... to name a few). We also favour manuscripts picking up recent experimental findings related to the rhizosphere, using modeling approaches for extrapolation and simulation of scenarios across scales.

Important Submission Information:

To submit a manuscript for this special issue, authors should follow the steps below:

a. Authors submit their paper through the following website

b. In the “Select an Article Type” step, authors must select “Special Issue S90 – Rhizosphere spatiotemporal organization” from the dropdown menu.

c. In the “Enter Comments” step, authors must type the following comment in the box: “This manuscript is intended for Special Issue S90 - Rhizosphere spatiotemporal organization”. Other comments related to the manuscript may be added after the aforementioned paragraph.


If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact the Editor in Chief ( or the Managing Editor (

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