Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2012
Publication Date: 5/14/2013
Citation: Timlin, D.J., Ahuja, L.R. 2013. Simulation of soil-root growth interactions and associated processes: Synthesis and summary. In: Timlin, D.J., Ahuja, L.R., Editors. Advances in Agricultural Systems Modeling Transdisciplinary Research, Synthesis, and Applications 4. Madison, WI: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Series. p. 295-302. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Simulation modeling of above and below ground plant growth and development, and the associated environment, has become an important and increasingly mature discipline within the branches of Agricultural Sciences. Models, by definition, are abstractions of a system. These abstractions are based on the most recent, and state of the art, research results but they still represent incomplete knowledge of the target system. Among plant components, the processes involved in root growth and their activity in soils is least understood, especially on a quantitative level. The soil is an extremely heterogeneous and difficult to access environment and this complicates the study of roots. There has been a great deal of recent progress in quantifying relationships between soils and roots. In spite of this progress we are still far from developing comprehensive models of soil-root interactions at the same scale as our above ground models. This chapter synthesizes and summarizes current quantitative research on root growth and root processes reported in this volume. Research necessary to improve our ability to model below ground root processes include: 1) improve 1-D models to better account for soil properties, especially those affected by soil management, 2) further develop 2-D and 3-D models to quantify detailed soil rhizosphere-root interactions and better simulate root architecture, 3) expand quantitative information on how soil properties, especially those affected by crop management impact root growth and activity, 4) understand carbon and nutrient dynamics as related to plant exudates, 5) better understanding of the interactions between root architecture and soil properties, 6) better understanding of root behavior in mixed plant communities.