Modelling fungal growth in heterogeneous soil: analyses of the effect of soil physical structure on water distribution and fungal colonisation

Wilfred Otten, Ruth E. Falconer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Abstract

Fungi play a pivital role in soil ecosystems contributing to plant productivity. The underlying soil physical and biological processes responsible for fungal colonistaion are interrelated and, at present, poorly understood. If these complex processes can be understood then this knowledge can be managed with an aim to providing more sustainable agriculture. Our understanding of microbial dynamics in soil has long been hampered by a lack of a theoretical framework and difficulties in observation and quantification. We will demonstrate how the spatial and temporal dynamics of fungi in soil can be understood by linking mathematical modelling with novel techniques that visualise the complex structure of the soil. The combination of these techniques and mathematical models opens up new possibilities to understand how the physical structure of soil affects water distribution which subsequently impacts on fungal colony dynamics. We will quantify, using X ray tomography, soil structure for a range of artificially prepared microcosms. We characterise the soil structures using soil metrics such as porosity, pore size distribution, and the connectivity of the pore volume. We use Lattice Boltzmann methods to predict the distribution of water in these soil microcosms. Furthermore we will use the individual based fungal colony growth model of Falconer et al. 2005, which is based on the physiological processes of fungi, to assess the effect of soil structure on water dynamics and microbial dynamics by qualifying biomass distributions. We demonstrate how soil structure can critically affect fungal colony growth and species interactions and how the distribution of water also effects this with consequences for biological control and fungal biodiversity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication1st International Conference and Exploratory Workshop on Soil Architecture and Physico-Chemical Functions "CESAR"
EditorsLis Wollesen de Jonge, Per Moldrup, Anders Lindblad Vendelboe
Place of PublicationDenmark
PublisherAarhus University
Pages91-100
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)8791949599
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010
Event1st International Conference and Exploratory Workshop on Soil Architecture and Physico-Chemical Functions - Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University, Research Centre Foulum, Tjele, Denmark
Duration: 30 Nov 20102 Dec 2010
Conference number: 1st
https://djfextranet.agrsci.dk/sites/cesar/public/Pages/front.aspx

Conference

Conference1st International Conference and Exploratory Workshop on Soil Architecture and Physico-Chemical Functions
Abbreviated titleCESAR
CountryDenmark
CityTjele
Period30/11/102/12/10
Internet address

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    Otten, W., & Falconer, R. E. (2010). Modelling fungal growth in heterogeneous soil: analyses of the effect of soil physical structure on water distribution and fungal colonisation. In L. Wollesen de Jonge, P. Moldrup, & A. Lindblad Vendelboe (Eds.), 1st International Conference and Exploratory Workshop on Soil Architecture and Physico-Chemical Functions "CESAR" (pp. 91-100). Aarhus University. http://h1st International Conference and Exploratory Workshop on Soil Architecture and Physico-Chemical Functions