We mathematically model the uptake of phosphorus by a soil community consisting of a plant and two bacterial groups: copiotrophs and oligotrophs. Four equilibrium states emerge, one for each of the species monopolising the resource and dominating the community and one with coexistence of all species. We show that the dynamics are controlled by the ratio of chemical adsorption to bacterial death permitting either oscillatory states or quasi-steady uptake. We show how a steady state can emerge which has soil and plant nutrient content unresponsive to increased fertilization. However, the additional fertilization supports the copiotrophs leading to community reassembly. Our results demonstrate the importance of time-series measurements in nutrient uptake experiments.
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2020.110530