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Modelling of mycorrhizas

Most plants transfer carbon to mycorrhiza to increase their access to limiting nutrients. As such, mycorrhizas are increasingly being integrated into our understanding of how coupled carbon and nutrient cycles respond to global change. Recent data syntheses have showed that mycorrhizas drive ecosystem and global scale patterns of soil carbon and nutrient cycling as well as the ability of ecosystems to sustain productivity gains under elevated CO2. Despite their relevance, integrating mycorrhizal dynamics into predictive ecosystem models has remained a challenge. Empirically, this challenge reflects the difficulties in producing data that can inform and validate models. Models of mycorrhizas have been developed from the spatial scale of a single hypha up to global scale models that incorporate mycorrhizal effects. At different levels of complexity, they describe hyphal proliferation, colony development, and the exchange of nutrients and carbon between the partners. However, there remains a need for modelers to mine the complexity of fine scale models to generate the simplifications necessary to model mycorrhiza at larger scales. We invite contributions from both empiricists and modelers focused on efforts to produce datasets to inform models, generate conceptual frameworks that prioritize mycorrhizal function for model integration, and model mycorrhizal dynamics across multiple scales.

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