Plant-microbe symbiosis widens the habitability range of the Daisyworld

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Estefanía Muñoz, Jorge Carneiro


Plant-microbe symbiosis is pervasive in the Earth's ecosystems and dates back to the early land colonisation by plants. Mutualistic partnership with rhizobia bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi promotes plant nutrition, growth and diversity, impacting important ecosystem functions. However, how the global behaviour and dynamical properties of an ecosystem are modified by plant-microbe symbiosis is still unclear. To tackle this theoretical question, we resorted to the Daisyworld as a toy model of the global ecosystem. We redesigned the original model to allow accounting for seed production, spreading, germination, and seedling development to mature seed-producing plants to describe how symbiotic and non-symbiotic daisy species differ in these key processes. Using the steady-state and bifurcation analysis of this model, we demonstrate that symbiosis with microbes broadens the habitability range of the Daisyworld by enhancing plant growth and/or facilitating plant access to otherwise uninhabitable nutrient-poor regions.



Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Mathematical model, Symbiosis, Ecosystem, global temperature


Published: 2022-05-04 08:58

Last Updated: 2022-05-04 15:58


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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Conflict of interest statement:

Data Availability (Reason not available):
It is a theoretical study, so we do not use any data

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