Newsletter fo the International Society of Root Research, July 2022

Dear Members of the International Society of Root Research,


We would like to welcome you to the ISRR newsletter, designed to stimulate global communication and advancement of plant root science and inform you about ongoing activities within the root research community and the ISRR. Feel free to share this newsletter with others, ISRR members and non-members.


Feature article: Root biology never sleeps – impressions from last year’s Joint Online meetings of ISRR11 (11th Symposium of the International Society of Root Research) and ROOTING2021 (9th International Symposium on Root Development) by student/postdoc ambassador Maria

The virtual ISRR11/Rooting2021 was a landmark event to advance root and rhizosphere research that gathered expertise and technological advances across multiple, complementary disciplines. The meeting provided an exceptional opportunity for networking and collaboration to push the frontiers of root research and has yielded fruitful interdisciplinary partnerships such as the EJP Soil WISH-ROOTS project consortium.

The ISRR11 Ambassador cohort successfully overcame the challenges of online communication to establish an enthusiastic, collaborative team of 21 ambassadors that benefited from a fantastic training programme including the organisation of a mini symposium, the publication of a meeting a report in New Phytologist (see below, Carley et al. 2022) and an online survey currently available on bioRxiv (Delory et al. 2022). For many of the ambassadors, the programme has had a significant impact on their professional career while developing long-term partnerships between the team but also with other researchers through the networking activities

By Maria Hernandez-Soriano


Feature publications

  • Freschet et al. 2021: “A starting guide to root ecology: strengthening ecological concepts and standardising root classification, sampling, processing and trait measurements”, New Phytologist (doi:10.1111/nph.17572)

Please nominate a recent publication from your group for featuring in the following newsletter!


Upcoming special issues on roots

  • Frontiers in Plant Science Research Topic on “Increasing crop yield: the interaction of crop plant roots with their environment” guest edited by Josefine Kant, Saoirse Tracy, Maria Hernandez-Soriano (FiPS special issue). Submissions are open until October 2022.
  • Plant & Soil special issue on “Below-ground storage organs” guest edited by Tobias Wojciechowski, Peter Gregory, Johannes Postma (P&S special issue). Submissions possible until January 2023.


TraitDivNet initiative seeking for participation

We recently combined aboveground and fine-root traits to characterize the functional space occupied by plants worldwide (Carmona et al. 2021). We found that aboveground and fine-root traits seem to be fundamentally decoupled, so that the aboveground phenotype of a species does not provide much information about its fine-root traits, selected species can be explored in this link:

The definition of a single, universal, trait space allows for global analyses of the commonalities and differences between species, ecosystems and communities. However, these analyses are not possible without collecting trait information for more species, since currently only ca. 0.1% of the species in the global flora can be placed into this space.

To fill these knowledge and data gaps, we are launching TraitDivNet, a collaborative research initiative to characterize the functional structure of plant communities at a global scale. Participants in TraitDivNet will sample one 10x10m plot and measure aboveground and fine-root traits for the most abundant species (in total, no more than 70 individuals per plot). Sampling can take place in 2022 or in 2023. The TraitDivNet coordinators have secured funding to cover the costs of chemical analyses. Participants will be offered co-authorship (one co-author per contributed plot) in the publications resulting from this effort. We foresee that trait-based ecology will be largely benefited by a many-fold increase in the number of species for which fundamental above- and belowground traits are characterised.

If you want to know more about the initiative, please visit our webpage (, where you can download the detailed protocols and data sheets. If you have any question or want to join the initiative, please contact us at, giving a brief description of the plot(s) you could sample (in terms of type of vegetation and a rough location).

Looking forward to a fruitful collaboration!

Carlos Perez Carmona and TraitDivNet Steering Committee


Interesting Meeting upcoming

  • 10th International Symposium on Root Development (Rooting 2023) in Gent, Belgium, on 18-23 May 2023 (conference website)

Please let us know if another interesting conference, ideally featuring a section about roots, is coming up so that we can promote the meeting on our website and in the next newsletters.


Follow ISRR News on Twitter account @RootScientists

News from ISRR members is featured on Twitter in an account hosted jointly with the International Plant Phenotyping Network (IPPN) Root Phenotyping Working Group. Have a look for insights into ongoing root research and phenotyping, shared by members of either group and feel free to tweet and retweet us!



If you would like to announce something or give feedback to the newsletter or the web site, please write an email to our official address ( Of course you can also retract your agreement to receiving this e-bulletin in the future.


Kind regards,

Dr. Josefine Kant (née Nestler) and Prof. Michelle Watt, ISRR President,

On behalf of the ISRR Executive and Executive Secretary Ulrike Mathesius