Towards Unraveling Macroecological Patterns in Rhizosphere Microbiomes

Trends Plant Sci. 2020 Oct;25(10):1017-1029. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2020.04.015. Epub 2020 May 25.


It is generally accepted that plants locally influence the composition and activity of their rhizosphere microbiome, and that rhizosphere community assembly further involves a hierarchy of constraints with varying strengths across spatial and temporal scales. However, our knowledge of rhizosphere microbiomes is largely based on single-location and time-point studies. Consequently, it remains difficult to predict patterns at large landscape scales, and we lack a clear understanding of how the rhizosphere microbiome forms and is maintained by drivers beyond the influence of the plant. By synthesizing recent literature and collating data on rhizosphere microbiomes, we point out the opportunities and challenges offered by advances in molecular biology, bioinformatics, and data availability. Specifically, we highlight the use of exact sequence variants, coupled with existing and newly generated data to decipher the rules of rhizosphere community assembly across large spatial and taxonomic scales.

Keywords: amplicon sequencing variants; macroecological patterns; meta-analysis of sequencing data; reference database; rhizosphere microbiome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Microbiota*
  • Plant Roots
  • Plants
  • Rhizosphere*
  • Soil Microbiology