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Spatio-temporal dynamics of resource exchange between plants and competing root symbionts

Project Description

The vast majority of plant roots form mutualistic symbioses with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) whereby AMF supply their host plant with otherwise-inaccessible soil nutrients in return for carbon fixed through photosynthesis. However, plants rarely associate with mutualistic symbionts alone. Instead, parasitic and mutualistic symbionts may simultaneously occupy root systems, with potentially large impacts on plant growth and development. Such scenarios are particularly pertinent within agroecosystems where farmers need to balance resource trade-offs between promoting beneficial soil micro-organisms while suppressing parasites to sustainably enhance yields.
The effects of competing parasitic root symbionts on mycorrhizal carbon-for-nutrient exchange are unexplored, indeed the overarching question of whether or not plants can regulate provision of resources to “reward” beneficial partners and “sanction” parasites is hotly debated.
Together with advances in isotope tracing in CPS and PET/CT imaging available at the Experimental & Preclinical Imaging Centre (ePIC), this multidisciplinary project brings together emerging technologies across faculties at Leeds to resolve a long-standing, fundamental and pressing question: how do plants handle simultaneous, competing root symbionts? This project will use the latest technologies to investigate the temporal and spatial dynamics and mechanisms of plant resource exchange with mutualistic and parasitic root symbionts

Funding Notes

White Rose BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology
4 year fully-funded programme of integrated research and skills training, starting Oct 2019:
• Research Council Stipend
• UK/EU Tuition Fees
• Conference allowance
• Research Costs

At least a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent. We welcome students with backgrounds in biological, chemical or physical sciences, or mathematical backgrounds with an interest in biological questions.
EU candidates require 3 years of UK residency in order to receive full studentship

Not all projects advertised will be funded; the DTP will appoint a limited number of candidates via a competitive process.

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How good is research at University of Leeds in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 60.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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