Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Plant-Soil Interaction Discussion group

Date: 16 February 2021
Time: 15:30 - 17:00
Location: Online


The Plant and Soil Interactions discussion group offers a platform to discuss the current and cutting edge research in plant and soil science. Meetings are aimed at facilitating networking and collaboration between young scientists researching many aspects of how soil and plants interact. Topics of the meetings are related to plant and soil research and are chosen according to the current interests of the group, e.g. topics involving nutrient and carbon cycling, plant interactions with soil biota or connections between the above and belowground communities. Meetings have a varying format which is chosen to fit the topic: e.g. debate on experimental set ups and scientific methods used in plant and soil science, lectures and discussion with invited speakers, or critical review of current literature. We aim to create a place that facilitates the exchange of knowledge, experience and feedback between young researchers in plant and soil science. What do you want to discuss?

Update 2020-2021

The plant-soil interaction discussion group would like to start a series of online seminars. The aim is a small scale discussion platform with fellow PhD students and postdocs in the field of plant-soil interactions.

You can discuss your research proposal, get feedback on you experimental set-up, discuss preliminary data or share results from a recently accepted manuscript. A literature review or recently published paper that you think is interesting is also possible to present/discuss: anything you think is interesting and related to the topic.

Please let us know if you want to give a talk at one of these dates and stay tuned for more updates.

We like to create a community (we share our work or discuss other things like interesting papers, all related to the field of plant-soil interactions, but we expect attendance on a regular basis and contribution to the meetings). We feel this has added value, especially during this time with working a lot of from home. We have discovered that use a team within MS Teams is very handy (then meetings are automatically in the agenda's, we can share documents etc). If you want to join this team/community, you can use this link: It probably does not work for people without a WUR address (we can add you manually - let us know!)


Future seminars

  • 16 February 2021, 15.30-17.00
    Alessandro Montemagno: “Litter double standards: Rare Earth Elements and nutrients release and sequestration operated by litter in forest ecosystems”
    Rocio Fernandez Aguilar: “Linkages between supporting, regulating and provisioning ecosystem services provided by tropical rangelands in an agro-forest frontier”

Past seminars

  • 12 January 2021, 15.30-17.00
    Rocio Fernandez Aguilar – “Linkages between supporting, regulating and provisioning ecosystem services provided by tropical rangelands in an agro-forest frontier”
    Makrina Diakaki – “Soil is a source of seed-colonizing bacteria and influences germination and plant growth”
    The first is based on experimental work, the second is a presentation of the article: Rodríguez, C. E., Antonielli, L., Mitter, B., Trognitz, F., & Sessitsch, A. (2020). Heritability and Functional Importance of the Setaria viridis Bacterial Seed Microbiome. Phytobiomes Journal, 4(1), 40-52.
  • 17 November 2020, 15.30-17.00
    Hannah Vos (Soil Biology, WUR): Do earthworms affect phosphorus uptake of grass?
    Alessandro Montemagno (Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology): Litter double standards: Rare Earth Elements and nutrients release and sequestration operated by litter in forest ecosystems
  • 20 October 2020, 15.30-17.00: Thomas Awio and Mirjam Breure: Micronutrients in tropical agriculture
  • 29 September 2020, 15.30-17.00
  • 27 November 2018: Dr. Ciska Veen (NIOO-KNAW): The role of specialized decomposers for litter breakdown and plant growth.
  • 28 February 2018: Dr. Peter Bakker (assistant professor of the University of Utrecht) can explain us all about ISR by presenting his work about the effects of induced resistance on the rhizosphere microbiome.
  • 13 November 2017: Wim van der Putten (Terrestrial Ecology, NIOO, Wageningen) guide us through years of plant-soil research, and will present how his perspective on plant-soil feedback changed during his career and where we should go with future research.
    His presentation will be followed by an interactive discussion on future plant-soil feedback research. As always, we will provide some drinks and snacks to fuel our minds.
  • 25 September 2017: about intercropping. In this session, Wopke van der Werf, Crop system analysis, WUR, will present his research on how intercropping can enhance crop ecosystem services in agricultural systems.
    After, we will go to visit a cover crop experiment at the Unifarm to see how is possible to set up an experimental trial to study plants’ combinations in time.
    Which ecosystem services can be enhanced by intercropping? ..and what about the mechanisms involved in these interactions?
  • 12 June 2017: we will discuss about an important soil property called “Disease suppressiveness”. In this session, Joeke Postma, Biointeraction and plant health, WUR, will present her research on the influence of soil management on soil disease suppressiveness in agricultural systems.
    After, we will go to visit a disease suppressive experiment at the Unifarm to see in practice how it is possible to study such phenomenon. For more information see the attached poster.
    Can soil help plants to cope with pathogen presence? What is the origin of this property, biotic or abiotic soil characteristics? Can we alter it? How can we measure it?
  • 23 May 2017: PSI Special: Field Trip to Jülich Forschungszentrum.
  • 3 May 2017: "Coping with extremes: Drought". In this session we will listen to a presentation of Annelein Meisner from Lund Univeristy entitled: The effect of drought and re-wetting on soil microbes and discussion about plant-soil interactions.
    After the talk we will discuss together with Lisette Bakker how to perform a drought experiment and the implications of methods used. For more information you can take a look at the attached poster.
  • 17 March 2017: During this meeting we will talk about plant breeding for nitrogen use efficiency with Prof. dr. ir. Edith Lammerts van Bueren (Plant breeding, WUR & Louis Bolk institute) and about the effect of breeding process on microbial assemblages with Juan Perez-Jaramillo (NIOO KNAW). After the two talks there will be room for discussion while enjoying some drinks!"
  • 17 February 2017: Johannes Postma (researcher at Forschungszentrum Jülich): "How root architectural traits influence resource acquisition and plant growth: Simulation studies with OpenSimRoot"
    Interactive part: "Connecting structure-function models to root architecture in the field"
  • 10 November 2016: Prof.dr. Ellis Hofland: "Plant root exudates: what are they, what are their functions and how can we collect them?" 
  • 21 October 2016: PSI special in Amsterdam with Vincent Merckx from Naturalis (Leiden). Vincent Merckx will enlighten us on the symbioses of plants with mycorrhizal fungi. His talk will be combined with a visit to Micropia, a museum on the World of Microbes. > Read more and register
  • 20 September 2016: Paula Harkes: "The effect of alien plant species on the rhizosphere food web"
     and Janna Barel: "Legacy effects of cover crop mixtures in rotation"
  • 13 July 2016: Diego Abalos (post-doc at S Quality, WUR)
  • 22 June 2016: Rutger Wiltschut and Stefan Geissen - Methodological developments to decipher soil nematode communities
  • 19 May 2016: André Braga Junqueira (Soil Quality, WUR) - Smallholder farmers' perceptions and use of soil heterogeneity in plant cultivation systems
  • 20 April 2016: Oene Oenema (Alterra) - What chemical and physical soil properties should every researcher measure?
  • 16 March 2016: Dr. Ana Pineda (NIOO-KNAW) - Plant-insect interactions shaped by beneficial soil microbes
  • 2 March 2016: Interactions between insects, plants and soil
  • 3 February 2016: The PSI kick-off meeting with Olga Kostenko (NIOO-KNAW) - The importance of plant soil interactions


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