Empirical and theoretical challenges in aboveground-belowground ecology

W.H. van der Putten, R.D. Bardgett, P.C. de Ruiter, W.H.G. Hol, K.M. Meyer, T.M. Bezemer, M.A. Bradford, S. Christensen, M.B. Eppinga, T. Fukami, L. Hemerik, J. Molofsky, C. Schaedler, C. Scherber, S.Y. Strauss, M. Vos, D.A. Wardle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A growing body of evidence shows that aboveground and belowground communities and processes are intrinsically linked, and that feedbacks between these subsystems have important implications for community structure and ecosystem functioning. Almost all studies on this topic have been carried out from an empirical perspective and in speciWc ecological settings or contexts. Belowground interactions operate at diVerent spatial and temporal scales. Due to the relatively low mobility and high survival of organisms in the soil, plants have longer lasting legacy eVects belowground than aboveground. Our current challenge is to understand how aboveground–belowground biotic interactions operate across spatial and temporal scales, and how they depend on, as well as inXuence, the abiotic environment. Because empirical capacities are too limited to explore all possible combinations of interactions and environmental settings, we explore where and how they can be supported by theoretical approaches to
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Succession
  • Sustainable crop protection
  • Invasion
  • Global change
  • Temporal and spatial models


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