Soil microbes and community coalescence

Matthias C. Rillig, Anika Lehmann, Carlos A . Aguilar-Trigueros, Janis Antonovics, Tancredi Caruso, S. Hempel, Johannes Lehmann, Kriszta Valyi, Erik Verbruggen, Stavros D. Veresoglou, Jeff R. Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)
680 Downloads (Pure)


Community coalescence is a recently introduced term describing the interaction of entire communities and their environments. We here explicitly place the concept of community coalescence in a soil microbial context, exploring intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of such coalescence events. Examples of intrinsic events include the action of earthworms and the dynamics of soil aggregates, while extrinsic events are exemplified by tillage, flooding, litter-fall, outplanting, and the addition of materials containing microbial communities. Aspects of global change may alter the frequency or severity of coalescence events. We highlight functional consequences of community coalescence in soil, and suggest ways to experimentally tackle this phenomenon. Soil ecology as a whole stands to benefit from conceptualizing soil biodiversity in terms of dynamic coalescent microbial assemblages.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Early online date11 Jan 2016
Publication statusEarly online date - 11 Jan 2016


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