The phyllosphere, which lato sensu consists of the aerial parts of plants, and therefore primarily, of the set of photosynthetic leaves, is one of the most prevalent microbial habitats on earth. Phyllosphere microbiota are related to original and specific processes at the interface between plants, microorganisms and the atmosphere. Recent -omics studies have opened fascinating opportunities for characterizing the spatio-temporal structure of phyllosphere microbial communities in relation with structural, functional, and ecological properties of host plants, and with physico-chemical properties of the environment, such as climate dynamics and trace gas composition of the surrounding atmosphere. This review will analyze recent advances, especially those resulting from environmental genomics, and how this novel knowledge has revealed the extent of the ecosystemic impact of the phyllosphere at the interface between plants and atmosphere. Highlights • The phyllosphere is one of the most prevalent microbial habitats on earth. • Phyllosphere microbiota colonize extreme, stressful, and changing environments. • Plants, phyllosphere microbiota and the atmosphere present a dynamic continuum. • Phyllosphere microbiota interact with the dynamics of volatile organic compounds and atmospheric trace gasses.
Keywords: aerial plant organs; environmental genomics; global change; phyllosphere–atmosphere interface; plant–microorganism interactions; volatile organic compounds.