Marcel G.A Van der Heijden

Marcel G.A Van der Heijden
Agroscope · Plant Soil Interactions

About

276
Publications
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Introduction
Marcel G.A van der Heijden works at the department of Agroecology and Environment, Agroscope and heads the Plant-Soil-Interactions Group. He is also associated to the University of Zurich and Utrecht as professor. Marcel does research in Botany, Ecology, Agriculture and Microbiology. Current projects include the Swiss 'Farming System and Tillage Experiment (FAST) and various projects focusing on the microbiome/mycorrhiza management for agricultural sustainability and studies investigating the link between soil biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

Publications

Publications (276)
Article
The intensive use of pesticides and their subsequent distribution to the environment and non-target organisms is of increasing concern. So far, little is known about the occurrence of pesticides in soils of untreated areas─such as ecological refuges─as well as the processes contributing to this unwanted pesticide contamination. In this study, we an...
Article
Pesticides are widely applied in agriculture to combat disease, pests, and weeds, leading to long-lasting contamination of agricultural soils with pesticide residues. While classical risk assessment experiments have repeatedly addressed immediate pesticide effects, we employ an ecological approach to investigate how pesticide residues persisting in...
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Full-text available
Phosphorus (P) acquisition is key for plant growth. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) help plants acquire P from soil. Understanding which factors drive AMF-supported nutrient uptake is essential to develop more sustainable agroecosystems. Here we collected soils from 150 cereal fields and 60 non-cropped grassland sites across a 3,000 km trans-Eur...
Article
The concept of one health highlights that human health is not isolated but connected to the health of animals, plants and environments. In this Review, we demonstrate that soils are a cornerstone of one health and serve as a source and reservoir of pathogens, beneficial microorganisms and the overall microbial diversity in a wide range of organisms...
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Litter decomposition is a fundamental process in soil carbon dynamics and nutrient turnover. However, litter decomposition in arable systems remains poorly explored, and it is unclear whether different management practices, such as organic farming, conservation agriculture can mitigate drought effects on litter decomposition. Thus, we examined the...
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Soil fungi are fundamental to plant productivity, yet their influence on the temporal stability of global terrestrial ecosystems, and their capacity to buffer plant productivity against extreme drought events, remain uncertain. Here we combined three independent global field surveys of soil fungi with a satellite-derived temporal assessment of plan...
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Microbial inoculants containing arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are potential tools in increasing the sustainability of our food production systems. Given the demand for sustainable agriculture, the production of such inoculants has potential economic value and has resulted in a variety of commercial inoculants currently being advertised. However...
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Agricultural production is under threat of water scarcity due to increasingly frequent and severe drought events under climate change. Whether a change in cropping systems can be used as an effective adaptation strategy against drought is still unclear. We investigated how plant water uptake patterns of a field-grown pea–barley (Pisum sativum L. an...
Article
The degradation of soil from agricultural land is a major threat to food security and a driver of global changes. Soil conservation systems are thus being promoted and/or adopted worldwide. In this on-farm study conducted in Switzerland, we compared the effect of three cropping systems – conventional with tillage, conventional without tillage (i.e....
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The aboveground impacts of climate change receive extensive research attention, but climate change could also alter belowground processes such as the delicate balance between free-living fungal decomposers and nutrient-scavenging mycorrhizal fungi that can inhibit decomposition through a mechanism called the Gadgil effect. We investigated how clima...
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For decades, conservation tillage has been promoted as a measure to increase carbon stocks in arable soils. Since organic farming improves soil quality and soil carbon storage, reduced tillage under organic farming conditions may further enhance this potential. Therefore, we assessed soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks of reduced tillage compared with...
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Background Soil microbial communities are major drivers of cycling of soil nutrients that sustain plant growth and productivity. Yet, a holistic understanding of the impact of land-use intensification on the soil microbiome is still poorly understood. Here, we used a field experiment to investigate the long-term consequences of changes in land-use...
Article
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are plant symbionts that promote plant growth and provide important plant and ecosystem functions. These abilities have great economical potential which has resulted in an increasing number of commercially available AMF inoculants. Here, we present the results of a global study in which we evaluate the effectivene...
Article
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and terrestrial plants form one of the most important and ubiquitous symbioses on the planet. Although the central role of AM fungi in rhizosphere processes is well established, the extent of their influence on the development of the whole soil microbial community is less well characterized. We assessed the tempora...
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Archaeal communities in arable soils are dominated by Nitrososphaeria, a class within Thaumarchaeota comprising all known ammonia‐oxidizing archaea (AOA). AOA are key players in the nitrogen cycle and defining their niche specialization can help predicting effects of environmental change on these communities. However, hierarchical effects of enviro...
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We carried out a 4-year manipulative field experiment in a semiarid shrubland in southeastern Spain to assess the impacts of experimental warming (W), rainfall reduction (RR), and their combination (W + RR) on the composition and diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) communities in rhizosphere soil of H. syriacum and G. struthium shrubs...
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Almost all land plants form symbiotic associations with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). Individual plants usually are colonized by a wide range of phylogenetically diverse AMF species. The impact that different AMF taxa have on plant growth is only partly understood. We screened 44 AMF isolates for their effect on growth promotion and nutrient...
Article
Microbial communities are the main catalysts of ecosystem carbon dynamics. The contribution of sub-soil microorganisms to relatively stable fine-fraction carbon content may be critical for soil carbon sequestration. Here we assessed bacterial, fungal and archaeal communities at three different soil depths (over 90 cm) in a 25-year old crop-tillage...
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Plant-soil feedbacks refer to effects on plants that are mediated by soil modifications caused by the previous plant generation. Maize conditions the surrounding soil by secretion of root exudates including benzoxazinoids (BXs), a class of bioactive secondary metabolites. Previous work found that a BX-conditioned soil microbiota enhances insect res...
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The excessive application of chemical fertilizers in intensively managed agricultural fields worldwide has resulted in soil degradation and biodiversity loss. This has contributed to a growing interest in sustainable management, such as organic farming. Until now, studies addressing the impact of conventional and organic management on soil biodiver...
Preprint
Full-text available
Agricultural production is under threat of water scarcity due to increasingly frequent and severe drought events under climate change. Whether a change in cropping systems can be used as an effective adaptation strategy against drought is still unclear. We investigated how plant water uptake patterns of a field-grown pea-barley (Pisum sativum L. an...
Preprint
Phosphorus (P) acquisition is key for global food production. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) help plants acquire P and are considered key for the design of sustainable agroecosystems. However, how the functioning of AMF varies across agricultural soils and responds to management practices is still unknown. Here, we collected soils from 150 cere...
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Full-text available
Ecosystems provide multiple services to humans. However, agricultural systems are usually evaluated on their productivity and economic performance, and a systematic and quantitative assessment of the multifunctionality of agroecosystems including environmental services is missing. Using a long-term farming system experiment, we evaluated and compar...
Article
Full-text available
The aboveground impacts of climate change receive extensive research attention, but climate change could also alter belowground processes such as the delicate balance between free-living fungal decomposers and nutrient scavenging ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF) that can inhibit decomposition through a mechanism called the Gadgil effect. We investigated...
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Full-text available
Key message Overexpression of genes involved in coumarin production and secretion can mitigate mycorrhizal incompatibility in nonhost Arabidopsis plants. The coumarin scopoletin, in particular, stimulates pre-penetration development and metabolism in mycorrhizal fungi. Abstract Although most plants can benefit from mutualistic associations with ar...
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Background Plants influence their root and rhizosphere microbial communities through the secretion of root exudates. However, how specific classes of root exudate compounds impact the assembly of root-associated microbiotas is not well understood, especially not under realistic field conditions. Maize roots secrete benzoxazinoids (BXs), a class of...
Preprint
Background: Archaeal communities in arable soils are dominated by Nitrososphaeria, a class within Thaumarchaeota comprising all known ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA). AOA are key players in the nitrogen cycle and defining their niche specialization can help predicting effects of environmental change on these communities. However, hierarchical effec...
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Full-text available
Theoretical and empirical advances have revealed the importance of biodiversity for stabilizing ecosystem functions through time. Despite the global degradation of soils, whether the loss of soil microbial diversity can destabilize ecosystem functioning is poorly understood. Here, we experimentally quantified the contribution of soil fungal and bac...
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Full-text available
Arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi (AMF) are beneficial soil fungi that can promote the growth of their host plants. Accurate quantification of AMF in plant roots is important because the level of colonization is often indicative of the activity of these fungi. Root colonization is traditionally measured with microscopy methods which visualize fungal stru...
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While soil erosion drives land degradation, the impact of erosion on soil microbial communities and multiple soil functions remains unclear. This hinders our ability to assess the true impact of erosion on soil ecosystem services and our ability to restore eroded environments. Here we examined the effect of erosion on microbial communities at two s...
Article
Climate change is expected to lead to adverse impacts on global agricultural production, as it influences plant disease occurrence and severity at spatial and temporal scales (Howden et al., 2007). Furthermore, climate change also affects plant growth by reduced water availability and other abiotic stress factors. Recent studies have shown that cli...
Article
Pesticides are applied in large quantities to agroecosystems worldwide. To date, few studies assessed the occurrence of pesticides in organically managed agricultural soils, and it is unresolved whether these pesticide residues affect soil life. We screened 100 fields under organic and conventional management with an analytical method containing 46...
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Full-text available
In natural ecosystems, positive effects of plant diversity on ecosystem functioning have been widely observed, yet whether this is true in cropping systems remains unclear. Here we assessed the impact of crop diversification on soil microbial diversity, soil multifunctionality (SMF) and crop yields in 155 cereal fields across a 3,000 km north–south...
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Soils store significant amounts of carbon (C) and thus can play a critical role for mitigating climate change. Crop roots represent the main C source in agricultural soils and are particularly important for long-term C storage in agroecosystems. To evaluate the potential of different farming systems to contribute to soil C sequestration and thus cl...
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Enhancing biodiversity in cropping systems is suggested to promote ecosystem services, thereby reducing dependency on agronomic inputs while maintaining high crop yields. We assess the impact of several diversification practices in cropping systems on above- and belowground biodiversity and ecosystem services by reviewing 98 meta-analyses and perfo...
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1. Ecosystem stability is threatened by multiple global change factors such as drought and elevated nitrogen deposition. Yet, it is still poorly understood whether soil organisms can buffer against such perturbations. Here we focus on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), a common and widespread group of soil fungi. AMF form symbiotic associations wi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Theoretical and empirical advances have revealed the importance of biodiversity for stabilizing ecosystem functions through time. Yet despite the global degradation of soils, how the loss of soil microbial diversity can de-stabilizes ecosystem functioning is unknown. Here we experimentally quantified the contribution diversity and the temporal dyna...
Article
Full-text available
1. In recent years there has been an upsurge of studies on ecosystem multifunction-ality (EMF), or the ability of ecosystems to simultaneously provide multiple functions and/or services. The concept of EMF itself, the analytical approaches used to calculate it, and its implications depending on the spatial scale and field of study have been discuss...
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The fast-growing world population exerts great pressure on the land to produce enough nutritious food. It is projectedthat global population will be 50% greater than at present by 2050 and the demand for global grain will havedoubled[1]. The pressure further intensifies with the stresses resulting from climate change, associated extremeweather[2],...
Article
Cover crops are often recommended as a valuable practice to develop more sustainable cropping systems but, despite many benefits, their adoption in practice is still limited mainly because the effects on productivity and economic return are variable. Furthermore, it is still unclear under which combinations with other management practices (e.g. til...
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In der Schweiz gelangt nach wie vor zu viel Stickstoff und Phosphor in die Umwelt. Kritische Belastungsgrenzen für Stickstoffeinträge in die Umwelt sind vielerorts deutlich überschritten. Vor allem die Stickstoff- und Phosphorüberschüsse der Landwirtschaft und die Stickstoffemissionen des Verkehrs belasten die Umwelt und beeinträchtigen die Biodive...
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The soil microbiome is highly diverse and comprises up to one quarter of Earth’s diversity. Yet, how such a diverse and functionally complex microbiome influences ecosystem functioning remains unclear. Here we manipulated the soil microbiome in experimental grassland ecosystems and observed that microbiome diversity and microbial network complexity...
Article
The impact of organic and conventional crop management together with two variations of conservation tillage was evaluated on N supply and losses at the end of a 4-year Swiss crop rotation. Soil samples were taken from four cropping systems: conventional intensive tillage (C-IT), conventional no tillage (C-NT), organic intensive tillage (O-IT) and o...
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Reducing soil tillage can lead to many benefits, but this practice often increases weed abundance and thus the need for herbicides, especially during the transition phase from inversion tillage to non-inversion tillage. We evaluated if subsidiary crops (SCs, e.g., cover crops) can mitigate the effects of non-inversion tillage on weed abundance. Two...
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Droughts associated with climate change alter ecosystem functions, especially in systems characterized by low biodiversity, such as agricultural fields. Management strategies aimed at buffering climate change effects include the enhancement of intraspecific crop diversity as well as the diversity of beneficial interactions with soil biota, such as...
Article
To compare different cropping systems, it is crucial to describe explicitly the associated cropping practices. A set of 31 indicators and six composite indexes addressing farm structure, crop diversification, soil disturbance, organic matter inputs, nitrogen fertilisation, crop protection, and yield was used to describe 59 winter wheat fields belon...
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Phosphorus (P) is a limiting element for plant growth. Several root microbes, including arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), have the capacity to improve plant nutrition and their abundance is known to depend on P fertility. However, how complex root-associated bacterial and fungal communities respond to various levels of P supplementation remains i...
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Arable soils may act as a sink in the global carbon cycle, but the prediction of their potential for carbon sequestration remains challenging. Amongst other factors, soil aeration is known to influence root growth and microbial activity and thus inputs and decomposition of soil organic carbon. However, the influence of soil aeration on soil organic...
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Approximately 29% of all vascular plant species are unable to establish an arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis. Despite this, AM fungi (Rhizophagus spp.) are enriched in the root microbiome of the non‐host Arabidopsis thaliana and Arabidopsis roots become colonized when AM networks nurtured by host plants are available. Here, we investigated the...
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Root-associated microbes play a key role in plant performance and productivity, making them important players in agroecosystems. So far, very few studies have assessed the impact of different farming systems on the root microbiota and it is still unclear whether agricultural intensification influences the structure and complexity of microbial commu...
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Agricultural practices contribute considerably to emissions of greenhouse gases. So far, knowledge on the impact of organic compared to non-organic farming on soil-derived nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) emissions is limited. We investigated N2O and CH4 fluxes with manual chambers during 571 days in a grass-clover– silage maize – green manure...
Article
The impact of different arable farming practices on soil erosion is only partly resolved, and the effect of conservation tillage practices in organic agriculture on sediment loss has rarely been tested in the field. This study investigated rainfall-induced interrill sediment loss in a long-term replicated arable farming system and tillage experimen...