Disturbance is a major factor in determining ecosystem composition such as plant or fungal species composition. The loss of or change in disturbance regime might have detrimental effects on e.g. plant diversity or threaten specific species, as well as effect the functioning of ecosystems. Altering disturbance or mimicking natural disturbance regimes is with success used as a restoration tool for many different types of ecosystems.
The knowledge of species distribution and diversity of AM fungi is very scarce today. Some consider everything present everywhere and others find local variation in the species present. Whether this being due to propagule limitation, host-specificity or interspecific competition is unknown. The use of molecular identification methods will heavily increase the possibilities to increase our knowledge in this field.
The terrestrial part of the carbon cycle is primarily driven by the interplay between plants and soil organisms such as mycorrhizal fungi, saprophytic fungi, bacteria and soil animals. The processes determining the carbon flow velocity and allocation between these organism groups is complex and well worth studying in larger detail. The knowledge could then be used to increase grasslands potential to retain carbon.
My project focuses on the role of disturbance in calcareous grasslands in Scania. There remains only small fragmented areas of this habitat type, why restoration treatment studies need to be performed in these areas. Disturbance effects on vegetation composition, both species richness and functional richness/composition is studied for restoration purposes. Mychorrhizal fungi species composition and diversity and possible disturbance effects on these organisms will be studied with molecular methods. Finally, carbon cycling with focus on carbon allocation and retention in soil organisms will be studied using stable isotope techniques.
Last modified 6 Dec 2012