Almost all boreal and temperate forest tree species live in symbiosis with ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi. The trees transfer carbon to the fungi in exchange for nutrients and water. Up to half of the photoassimilated carbon can be transported through the tree roots to the fungal mycelium in the soil, which makes the fungi a potentially important carbon sink. However if there are a lot of available nutrients (such as nitrogen) in the soil, the allocation of carbon should be an unnecessary energy cost for the trees since they can take up more nutrients by themselves and thereby need less help from the fungi.
The aim of my PhD is to further analyze the role of ectomycorrhizal fungi in the carbon sequestration of boreal forests, and how ectomycorrhizal colonization affects nitrogen leakage. My largest projects involves:
Clemmensen, Bahr et al. (2013). Roots and associated fungi drive long-term carbon sequestration in boreal forest. Science, 339(6127), 1615-1618.