Long-term Research Goal and Ongoing Projects: Individuals in the lab are involved in a diversity of projects in plant and soil ecology. However, the long-term goal of my research program is to understand the structure and functioning of mycorrhizal symbioses in natural ecosystems.

More specifically, the aim is to understand how mycorrhizal fungi are distributed in space and time, to describe how they interact with each other and their environment, to determine their potential for influencing plant community structure, to assess their contribution to carbon and nutrient cycling, and to develop strategies for manipulating and managing the symbiosis in agriculture, forestry, and landscape rehabilitation.

My research group focuses on one group of mycorrhizal fungi (arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi – Phylum Glomeromycota), although we often include other fungi (mycorrhizal, saprobic, pathogenic), and other soil biota as well (e.g., bacteria, protists, fungi, invertebrates). We use two approaches in studying mycorrhizal ecology: (a) comparative and manipulative field studies and (b) controlled experiments under laboratory and greenhouse conditions.

Currently we are conducting projects in the following areas:

  1. Community assembly of mycorrhizal fungi
  2. Plant response to mycorrhizal fungi
  3. Diversity and functioning of mycorrhizas along elevation gradients
  4. The application of mycorrhizal fungi in landscape restoration
  5. Interactions between soil biota and invasive plants
  6. Mycorrhizas in urban environments
  7. Mycorrhizas in tree-based intercropping systems.

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