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Sex-Specific Interactions in Arbuscular Mycorrhizas in an Ecological Community Context


The importance of below-ground organisms for plant growth, plant community dynamics and ecosystem processes is widely
recognised. Among them, arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses are key elements as they mediate plant resource acquisition.
The effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on plant fitness have been extensively studied in sexually monomorphic plants,
but plant populations with separate sexes are relatively common in nature. Usually sexes differ in their resource needs and
allocation patterns. Because arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses mediate resource acquisition and allocation patterns
through imposing both costs and benefits to the plants, it is not surprising that sex-specific interactions between arbuscular
mycorrhizal fungi and sexually dimorphic plants occur. This is an extremely novel field of research. Most available studies
on this topic have been exclusively focused on two trophic levels, neglecting the fact that plants live in complex multi-trophic
scenarios, where both mutualistic and antagonistic relationships interact both above- and below-ground.

The aim of this research project is to explore and understand plant – arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal interactions in a more
realistic multi-trophic context. The essence of the project lies in the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach as it will
cover plant and insect ecology, fungal ecology and genetics, and chemical ecology. Implementation of this project has
scientific importance for the improvement of our understanding of complex multi-trophic interactions in plants and has
potentially enormous economic significance for agriculture as it includes pollination ecology and herbivory.

Besides the scientific importance of the proposed project itself, this project will significantly enhance the applicant’s career
by acquiring up-to-date techniques and other significant skills and provide expertise on mycorrhizal research for the host

Call for proposal

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Brayford Pool
LN6 7TS Lincoln
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 183 454,80