Inter- and Transdisciplinary Sessions
Disciplinary sessions AS–GM
Disciplinary sessions GMPV–TS

Session programme


SSS – Soil System Sciences

Programme group chair: Claudio Zaccone

SSS8 – Soil, Environment and Ecosystem Interactions

Programme group scientific officers: David C. Finger, Velibor Spalevic, Pablo Tittonell


There is no doubt that among many anthropogenic environmental stresses that are threatening the future of life on our planet, plastic pollution is one of the topics on top of the list. Since the beginning of the 21st century, there has been an accelerating trend in the research concerning the detection of microplastics and their negative impacts on the aquatic ecosystems and marine environments. However, studies concerning the role of plastics in polluting the terrestrial ecosystems, soils and plants are limited and numerous questions still need to be addressed.
The aim of this session is to bring together contributions on novel measurement techniques or analytical approaches to observe, detect or quantify plastics in soil-plant systems in any observational or process scales. Any studies highlighting how nano and microplastics accumulate or are transported in soil, contaminate groundwater, change chemical properties of the soil, affect soil biota or is adsorbed by plants roots are welcome. Presentations addressing how microplastics alter the rhizosphere condition by affecting the biological, chemical and physical properties of the soil are appreciated. One main purpose of this session is to gather researchers from the related disciplines to exchange experiences and finding innovative solutions for the current unknown problems and highlight the future research needs of the potential impacts of microplastics on soils and plants.

Co-organized by HS12
Convener: Mahyar NaseriECSECS | Co-conveners: Peter Fiener, Melanie BraunECSECS, Christina Bogner, Andrea Carminati, John Quinton, Wolfgang Durner
| Attendance Tue, 05 May, 08:30–10:15 (CEST)

Urban and peri-urban areas comprise a wide variety of soils, ranging from semi natural (e.g., urban forest) to highly disturbed soils (e.g., constructed areas), with great variability in short distances. This spatial variation represents a major challenge to investigate, classify and characterize the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil. Soil properties determine their ability to provide ecosystem services, such as food production, water regulation, carbon sequestration and recreation. Increasing human pressure in urban and peri-urban environments is a cause of soil degradation and compromise their ability to provide ecosystem services in quality and quantity, and build resilience to global changes. This session aims to discuss (i) methodologies to assess the spatiotemporal variability of urban and peri-urban soils, including the use of soil quality indices, (ii) soil ecosystem services; (iii) main soil threats leading to soil degradation, such as sealing, compaction, erosion, contamination/pollution and biological decline in soil quality; and (iv) strategies to enhance ecosystem functions and services of urban and peri-urban soils, particularly focused on nature-based solutions. Studies emphasising the role of soil to improve urban sustainable development, namely through the use of information about soil quality to support urban planning strategies and optimizing ecosystem services are very welcome. Discussion to promote a more efficient and sustainable use of soil and improving soil-related decision-making processes at international, national, regional and local levels are encouraged in this session.

Convener: Carla FerreiraECSECS | Co-conveners: Zahra KalantariECSECS, Paulo Pereira, Vesna Zupanc
| Attendance Fri, 08 May, 16:15–18:00 (CEST)

Ecosystems, their abiotic and biotic compartments as well as their internal processes and interactions can be interpreted as the result of numerous evolutionary steps during system development. Understanding ecosystem development can be regarded, therefore, as crucial for understanding ecosystem functioning.
Most of these basic ecosystem processes are not directly accessible and several of them become apparent only after disturbance (e.g. drought, heat waves) or anthropogenic system modifications when single ecosystem processes produce distinct signals. Thus, experiments are widely used for elucidating Critical Zone development, function and its links to ecosystem processes. In this part of the session we aim at creating an overview on experimental ecosystem development research infrastructures and model natural systems. Besides insights into flagship sites this session provides interdisciplinary contributions dealing with exemplary concepts of experimental ecosystem infrastructures and landscape observatories in Critical Zone research, concepts for monitoring Critical Zone processes in experimental landscape observatories, results of experiments and monitoring studies, as well as modelling approaches for explaining process linking Critical zone and ecosystem processes in responses to global changes.
The second part of the session focuses on spatial patterns of vegetation, soils and landforms which are recognized as sources of valuable information for inferring the state and function of ecosystems. This part of the session will focus on ecogeomorphological and ecohydrological aspects of landscapes, conservation of soil resources, and the restoration of ecosystem functions. Contributions will deal with theoretical, modelling and empirical studies addressing the organization of vegetation and coevolving soils and landforms, and particularly, the soil erosion-vegetation relationships that rule the formation of landscape-level spatial patterns. In addition, studies describing the implications of these spatial patterns of soils and vegetation for the resilience and stability of ecosystems under the pressure of climate change and/or human disturbances will be presented.
The conveners are happy to announce a solicited talk on "Dynamics and patterns of plant development in restored mining areas - practical examples" given by Carolina Martínez-Ruis from the University Institute of Research in Sustainable Forestry at the University of Valladolid (Spain).

Convener: Werner Gerwin | Co-conveners: Jose Rodriguez, Shayli Dor-Haim, Jan Frouz, Mariano Moreno de las Heras, Patricia Saco, Omer Yetemen
| Attendance Thu, 07 May, 16:15–18:00 (CEST)

The dynamics of the solid Earth and its surface are strongly affected by their interplays as well as biota and climate. These constant feedback systems operate at a variety of spatial and temporal scales that are regulated in a complex system of interactions. For instance, in the critical zone -the terrestrial surface environment ranging from the lower atmosphere to the solid parent material- interplays not only regulate manifold ecosystems and bio-geochemical cycles, but also shape the Earth’s surface at the interface between atmosphere and lithosphere, where soils develop. At much larger scales, plate tectonics and global geodynamics control the physiography, climate and hydrosphere, which in turn strongly affect the surface feedback processes via tectonic, biological, geochemical and hydrological processes. Ultimately, climate and tectonics are prominent macro-ecological drivers of landscape development. But even though the underlying geology and tectonic processes have long been recognized as driving parameters, this is much less so for biological processes. The driving force of microorganisms, plants and animals on the shape of land surfaces is still poorly understood.
Understanding the links between the solid Earth and the external spheres of the Earth has experienced a recent upswing due to advanced analytical techniques, but also thanks to fostered interactions between researchers from different disciplines. This session aims to bring together geoscientists, soil scientists, climatologists and biologists working at different spatial and temporal scales on the feedback interactions between geology, topography, soils, climate and biosphere at the surface of the Earth. The session covers a multitude of topics from the microbial to the geodynamics time and space scales.

Solicited speakers are:
Carina Hoorn, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Alexia Stokes, French National Institute for Agricultural Research – INRA, France
Veerle Vanacker, University of Louvain, Belgium

Co-organized by BG1/CL4/GD1/GM4/SSP2
Convener: Steffen SeitzECSECS | Co-conveners: Laurent Husson, Annegret LarsenECSECS, Carsten W. Mueller, Pierre Sepulchre, Kirstin ÜbernickelECSECS
| Attendance Fri, 08 May, 08:30–10:15 (CEST)

As an integral part of terrestrial ecosystems, soils play a crucial role in the provision of numerous ecosystem services. Soil ecosystem services are vital components to all aspects of life and support the production of ecosystem goods and services, such as food and fibre production, water storage and climate and natural hazards regulation, among many others. The provision of soil ecosystem services relies on soil characteristics, processes and functions. Moreover, healthy and diverse soils ensure biodiversity among soil biota (soil biodiversity), which in turn guarantees the provision of soil ecosystem services. Incorrect land uses such as intense land management may critically reduce the ecosystem services provided by soils and result in land degradation through erosion, sealing or pollution processes. Sustainable land management and the conservation and restoration of degraded ecosystems is therefore key to maintain functional soils that can provide multiple ecosystem services.
In this session, we welcome contributions covering inter and transdisciplinary research through observational, theoretical and applied studies, on soil ecosystem services and soil function in the context of a changing global environment. Topics of interest are (although not limited to): 1) Impacts of soil degradation on soil function and ecosystem services, 2) Soil conservation and restoration actions for maintaining ecosystem services (including research, management, education and policy), 3) Linking soil ecosystem services and soil function in the context of the SDGs.

A special issue of the session is planned in the journal "Geography and Sustainability "

This session is supported by the project A09.3.3-LMT-K-712-01-0104 Lithuanian National Ecosystem Services Assessment and Mapping (LINESAM) is funded by the European Social Fund according to the activity “Improvement of researchers” qualification by implementing world-class R&D projects. The session is also supported by "Young Elite Scientist Sponsorship Program by the China Association for Science and Technology
(2017–2019, awarded to Dr. Yang Yu)".

Convener: Paulo Pereira | Co-conveners: Miriam Muñoz-Rojas, Yang YuECSECS, Wenwu Zhao
| Attendance Wed, 06 May, 10:45–12:30 (CEST)

The changes in mineral and organo-mineral assemblages during pedogenesis are affected by chemical weathering and transformation of primary minerals over a wide range of time scales. The subsequent formation and transformation of secondary minerals are tightly linked to hydrological conditions and biological processes. Changes in mineral types, organo-mineral organisation and reactivities constrain the biogeochemical cycles of major elements (e.g., silicon, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulphur) and trace elements (e.g., iron, manganese, antimony, cadmium, molybdenum, and selenium) which are often intricately coupled and controls the release, transport, and immobilization of nutrients and toxic trace elements, especially in redox-dynamic soil environments. The distribution of elements in soil affects soil quality, biota, ecosystem health, and ultimately, Earth’s climate and life. In this session, we invite field, laboratory, and modelling studies from a molecular-level to ecosystem observations exploring:
(1) the mechanisms and rates of mineral weathering, formation, and transformation at different time scales, as well as the links to biogeochemical element cycling,
(2) the speciation, reactivity, and environmental fate of elements during soil wetting and drying, freezing and thawing, and changing water-flow regimes, and
(3) the impact of mineral weathering and redox oscillations on element turnover, climate, and biota.

Co-organized by BG3/GM3
Convener: Klaus Kaiser | Co-conveners: Beatrice Giannetta, Anika KlotzbücherECSECS, Mélanie Davranche, Jörg Schaller, Cecile Gautheron, Julia Cooke, Julien Bouchez
| Attendance Thu, 07 May, 08:30–12:30 (CEST)

The need to predict ecosystem responses to anthropogenic change, including but not limited to changes in climate and increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations, is more pressing than ever. Global change is inherently multi-factorial and as the terrestrial biosphere moves into states without a present climate analogue, mechanistic understanding of ecosystem processes and their linkages with ecosystem function is vital to enable predictive capacity in our forecast tools.

This PICO session aims to bring together scientists interested in advancing our fundamental understanding of vegetation and whole-ecosystem processes. We are interested in contributions focused on advancing process- and hypothesis-driven understanding of plant ecophysiology, biodiversity and ecosystem function. We welcome studies on a range of scales from greenhouse and mesocosm experiments to large field manipulative experiments and process-based modelling. We encourage contributions of novel ideas and hypotheses in particular those from early stage researchers and hope the session can create an environment where such ideas can be discussed freely.

Co-organized by SSS8
Convener: Silvia CaldararuECSECS | Co-conveners: Martin De Kauwe, Richard NairECSECS, Victor Rolo
| Attendance Fri, 08 May, 10:45–12:30 (CEST)

The interactions between plants and the environment play a prominent role in terrestrial fluxes and biochemical cycles, but we still lack a general understanding of how these interactions impact plant growth and plant access to soil resources particularly under deficient conditions. The main challenge arises from the complexity of both soil and plants. To address such a knowledge gap, an improved understanding and predictability of plant-related transfer processes are urgently needed.
Emerging experimental techniques such as non-invasive imaging technique and system modeling tools have deepened our insights into the functioning of water and solute transport processes in the soil-plant system. Quantitative approaches that integrate across disciplines and scales constitute stepping stones to foster our understanding of fundamental biophysical processes at the frontier of soil and plants.
This session targets researchers investigating plant-related resource transfer processes across different scales (from the rhizosphere to the global scale) and welcomes scientists from multiple disciplines ranging from soil to plant sciences. We are specifically inviting contributions of:
- Measuring and modeling of water and solute fluxes across soil-plant-atmosphere continuum at different scales.
- Novel experimental and modeling techniques assessing below-ground plant processes such as root growth, root water, and nutrient uptake, root exudation, microbial interactions, and soil aggregation
- Measuring and modeling of soil-plant hydraulics
- Bridging the knowledge gap between biologically and physically oriented research in soil and plant sciences
- Identification of plant strategies to better access and use resources from soil under abiotic stress
- Mechanistic understanding of drought impact on transpiration and photosynthesis and their predictions by earth system model

Invited speakers:
1) Dr. Borjana Arsova
Theme: "From the root’s point of view: understanding the plant response to beneficial microbes, with primary aim of improved plant nutrient uptake”
2) Prof. Dr. Boris Rewald
Theme: " Root traits as key proxies to unravel plant and ecosystem functioning: entities, trait selection and outlook"

Public information:
How the session will work:

The session takes place as a text-based online chat on Tuesday 05 May 2020 from 14:00 to 15:45.

During the chat, we will invite the authors successively as appeared in our program ( the scheduled time may change as we are still expecting the authors to submit their presentations).
Based on the number of displays with submitted materials, we estimate about 5 minutes per display.

To facilitate the discussion of your display, we recommend you prepare Four highlights of your research in advance. Then paste it into your chat room when the convener invites you to present your abstract at a relevant point. These should cover:
• What is the main scientific question that your abstract addresses?
• What is the main methodology used in your abstract?
• What are your key findings?
• What is your main conclusion?

To get the discussions started quickly, we recommend you limit each highlight to at most 20 words.

Following your introduction, there will be an opportunity for those attending to ask questions and start a discussion about your work.

For the audience, we recommend having two windows of your internet browser open simultaneously: One for the chat and another for viewing the presentation uploaded by the presenters. The presenters may refer to some slides or figures included in the presentation during the text-based chat. We encourage you also to download and view the loaded presentations before the online chat.

Co-organized by SSS8
Convener: Mohsen ZarebanadkoukiECSECS | Co-conveners: Valentin CouvreurECSECS, John Koestel, Martin Bouda, Naftali Lazarovitch
| Attendance Tue, 05 May, 14:00–15:45 (CEST)