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Interactions between introduced tree species and native mycorrhizal fungi in the UK


School of Biological Sciences

Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

"Mycorrhizal symbioses are one of the most extensive and important biotic interactions in terrestrial ecosystems, typically providing plants with improved access to nutrients in exchange for carbohydrates produced via photosynthesis. This project will focus on the impact of introduced commercial tree species on native communities of symbiotic ectomycorrhizal fungi, which are implicated in positive plant-soil feedbacks and enhancing plant migrations in response to past episodes of climate change. By moving organisms into novel geographic areas, human activity has generated ‘no-analogue’ associations between plants and fungi (i.e. combinations of species that have not previously existed). Using a combination of lab, field, and statistical approaches, this project will examine the identity, diversity, and function of symbiotic interactions between introduced North American tree species and native European fungi. The project will be based in the UK, but there may be opportunities for fieldwork in exotic plantations elsewhere in Europe, or in native forests in western Canada.
The supervisor is a Lecturer in Ecology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Reading. He has experience in applying experimental and modelling approaches in terrestrial ecology, and is particularly interested in both natural dispersal and assisted migration of tree species."

References

"Pither J, Pickles BJ, Simard SW, Ordonez A, Williams JW. (2018). Below-ground biotic interactions moderated the postglacial
range dynamics of trees. New Phytologist 220: 1148-1160.
Pickles BJ, Twieg BD, O'Neill GA, Mohn WW, & Simard SW. (2015). Local adaptation in migrated interior Douglas‐fir seedlings is mediated by ectomycorrhizas and other soil factors. New Phytologist 207: 858-871."

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