Soils acts as domain for matter and energy fluxes, as reactor for various biogeochemical processes and as living space of soil biota including plants. A better understanding of the underlying mechanisms is often impaired by limited information on the spatial heterogeneity of the subsurface and limited insights into how processes occur in situ at the relevant temporal and spatial scales. There has been substantial progress in recent years to fill these knowledge gaps with non-invasive imaging methods that capture different features and operate on different scales. The practical applications range from identification and visualization of (i) biogeochemical processes in microhabitats, to (ii) soil-root interactions like water and nutrient uptake and (iii) the impact of pore morphology on water flow and solute transport in soil. Quantitative approaches are necessary to understand these fundamental processes and improve existing models accordingly. However, these are often lacking.
This session aims to bring together scientists from multiple disciplines to discuss new developments in imaging and quantitative analysis of various processes in soil and new approaches to model these processes. This includes:
Water and nutrient transfer across the soil, the soil-root interface and the plant tissue from the pore scale to the field scale.
Biogeochemical processes associated with microbial activity in hotspots like the rhizosphere as well as in disperse zones of soil.
Vadose zone hydrology, soil aeration and related two-phase flow problems and how they are governed by microscale heterogeneity.
Changes in soil structure, soil biota or their interactions due to root growth, atmospheric boundary conditions, land use management, etc.