Ectomycorrhiza (ECM) is a symbiosis between trees and fungus where carbon from the tree is exchanged for nutrients that the fungus has been taking up from the soil. The symbiosis with ECM gives the tree a much larger root area and makes it able to take up previously inaccessible nutrients.
Some nutrients are bound up in minerals in the soil and hard to access for the tree, if the tree isnt able to take up these nutrients they might end up in a nutrient deficient state. Since the trees arent able to take up the nutrients bound in minerals they need some assistance in taking up these important nutrients. These assistance can be provided by the ECM fungi which has been found to have the ability to weather minerals. With increase nitrogen fertilization phosphorus has become one of the major limiting nutrients for trees in the boreal forest.
In my project we want to determine what role ECM plays in this nutrient acquisition, especially in phosphorus deficient forest soils. We want to determine how carbon allocation below ground to ECM is regulated during different nutrient deficiencies. We also want to analyse how the community structure differs following a change in carbon allocation below ground.