Here we report on a range of studies designed to understand the link between diversity and function in soils and in particular how plants and fertilisers might interact with microbial community dynamics in soils. The data presented indicate that although plants and fertilisers do impact on microbial community structure, the relationship between diversity, community structure and function remains complex and difficult to interpret using currently available chemical and molecular fingerprinting techniques. The paper assesses plants and management practices as drivers of change in soil and argues that whilst understanding diversity per se is unlikely to contribute to our understanding of function, an appreciation of what causes communities to change and also the relative importance of such drivers, could lead to new insights into the sustainable management and conservation of soils and natural resources.
O'Donnell, A. G., Seasman, M., Macrae, A., Waite, I., & Davies, JT. (2001). Plants and fertilisers as drivers of change in microbial community structure and function in soils. Plant and Soil, 232, 135-145. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1010394221729