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Imaging, measurements and modelling of physical and biological processes in soils (co-organized)
Convener: John Koestel  | Co-Conveners: Andrea Carminati , Thomas Keller , Steffen Schlüter , Mathieu Javaux 
 / Wed, 20 Apr, 08:30–12:00  / 13:30–15:00
 / Attendance Wed, 20 Apr, 17:30–19:00

The morphology of pore networks governs many biological, physical and chemical properties and processes in soils. The structure-mediated distribution of water defines the pathways for energy and matter fluxes through soil as well as redox conditions in soil. The pore network affects several aspects of the soil ecosystem: Root growth patterns and functioning of roots, as well as abundance, distribution and type of soil macrofauna and microorganisms. At the same time, soil microorganisms and fauna actively modify soil structure to create their own microhabitats. Similarly, root growth displaces and rearranges soil particles, and root exudates, in particular mucilage, modify soil water retention and transport properties and create a hotspot for microbial activity in the rhizosphere. Interactions between the soil physical environment and biological processes are in the core of soil formation and structure. A genuine understanding of the interplay between soil structure and biotic/abiotic processes can be achieved with different approaches: (i) non-invasive imaging of structure and process behaviour at relevant scales, (ii) spatially resolved, mechanistic modelling of process behaviour including feedbacks with soil structure, (iii) controlled experiments on soil structure modification and its impact on process behaviour and (iv) combinations thereof.

This session is a forum for new developments on the characterization and understanding of soil structure dynamics and function (state, maintenance, formation and recovery after disturbance), its impact on soil physical and chemical soil properties and processes, and the interactions with roots, soil macrofauna and microorganisms. This session features new experimental and modelling approaches as well as new advances in imaging techniques.