Exploring the role and diversity of mycorrhizal fungi in tropical forests

OCTF seminar followed by drinks – all welcome

In this talk, Dr Brearley will discuss his below-ground work on the role and diversity  of ectomycorrhizal (EcM) fungi in dipterocarp-dominated forests of South-east Asia.  The talk will start with examining the importance of EcMs in influencing organic nitrogen nutrition of dipterocarp seedlings.  The role of an EcM network in supporting light-limited seedlings is then evaluated. Various techniques for enumerating EcM fungi are compared and the influence of environmental disturbances such as logging and elevational patterns on EcM communities are unravelled.

Francis Brearley is Senior Lecturer in Ecology at Manchester Metropolitan University where his work focusses on the importance and linkages between above- and below-ground processes in tropical forests with a focus on South-east Asia. He has been conducting ecological research in South-east Asian forests since 1998 with an undergraduate project at the University of Stirling. Since obtaining his PhD from the University of Sheffield in 2003; his research has included studies on the diversity and dynamics of both above- and below-ground components of tropical forests and how they may be affected by human disturbance. He has published 50 papers including a number of high-impact collaborative papers on soil fungi (Science), soil bacteria (Nature Microbiology), forest diversity (PNAS) and forest carbon dynamics (Nature Communications). He has students working on plant-soil interactions in Malaysia and Indonesia and is leading the development of a scientist-led Indonesian forest-monitoring network with over 40 colleagues from the UK and Indonesia.