Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 504034
Title Towards a multidimensional root trait framework: a tree root review
Author(s) Weemstra, M.; Mommer, L.; Visser, Eric J.W.; Ruijven, J. van; Kuyper, T.W.; Mohren, G.M.J.; Sterck, F.J.
Source New Phytologist 211 (2016)4. - ISSN 0028-646X - p. 1159 - 1169.
Department(s) Forest Ecology and Forest Management
Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Abstract The search for a root economics spectrum (RES) has been sparked by recent interest in trait-based plant ecology. By analogy with the one-dimensional leaf economics spectrum (LES), fine-root traits are hypothesised to match leaf traits which are coordinated along one axis from resource acquisitive to conservative traits. However, our literature review and meta-level analysis reveal no consistent evidence of an RES mirroring an LES. Instead the RES appears to be multidimensional. We discuss three fundamental differences contributing to the discrepancy between these spectra. First, root traits are simultaneously constrained by various environmental drivers not necessarily related to resource uptake. Second, above- and belowground traits cannot be considered analogues, because they function differently and might not be related to resource uptake in a similar manner. Third, mycorrhizal interactions may offset selection for an RES. Understanding and explaining the belowground mechanisms and trade-offs that drive variation in root traits, resource acquisition and plant performance across species, thus requires a fundamentally different approach than applied aboveground. We therefore call for studies that can functionally incorporate the root traits involved in resource uptake, the complex soil environment and the various soil resource uptake mechanisms – particularly the mycorrhizal pathway – in a multidimensional root trait framework.
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