Presentation Type

Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Cara Nelson

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Ecosystem Science and Restoration

Abstract

Rescue from the Rhizosphere: AMF-induced Drought Tolerance in Conyza

Kian Speck and Ylva Lekberg

Due to global climate change, increasing occurrences of drought are likely to negatively impact plant populations. Plants have evolved a variety of mechanisms and adaptations to deal with water stress, such as osmotic adjustment, waxy leaves, and symbioses with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). Although roughly 80% of all land plants form associations with AMF, little is known about the mechanisms underlying AMF-induced drought tolerance. A plant that seems to benefit immensely from fungal symbioses is Conyza canadensis, or Canadian horseweed. Conyza canadensis is capable of thriving in drought conditions yet lacks typical xeromorphic traits such as deep roots and water storage organs, but it is highly colonized by AMF. This is surprising given that C. canadensis is a ruderal annual and inhabits recently disturbed areas where AMF abundance is typically low. Therefore, Conyza presents an excellent opportunity to understand the mechanisms that underlie AMF-induced drought tolerance. The objective of this research is to understand (1) to what extent does AMF mitigate water stress in C. canadensis and (2) by which mechanisms does AMF do this. To answer these questions, we will assess differences in leaf water potential, total biomass, photosynthetic rate, non-structural carbohydrates, abscisic acid levels, and percent mycorrhizal colonization of roots between C. canadensis plants grown in a greenhouse with and without mycorrhizal inoculation under three different watering regimes (control, moderate stress, and severe stress). This study will add to a growing body of knowledge on AMF-induced drought tolerance and provide insight on the ecology of Conyza canadensis.

Category

Life Sciences

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Rescue from the Rhizosphere: AMF-induced Drought Tolerance in Conyza

Rescue from the Rhizosphere: AMF-induced Drought Tolerance in Conyza

Kian Speck and Ylva Lekberg

Due to global climate change, increasing occurrences of drought are likely to negatively impact plant populations. Plants have evolved a variety of mechanisms and adaptations to deal with water stress, such as osmotic adjustment, waxy leaves, and symbioses with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). Although roughly 80% of all land plants form associations with AMF, little is known about the mechanisms underlying AMF-induced drought tolerance. A plant that seems to benefit immensely from fungal symbioses is Conyza canadensis, or Canadian horseweed. Conyza canadensis is capable of thriving in drought conditions yet lacks typical xeromorphic traits such as deep roots and water storage organs, but it is highly colonized by AMF. This is surprising given that C. canadensis is a ruderal annual and inhabits recently disturbed areas where AMF abundance is typically low. Therefore, Conyza presents an excellent opportunity to understand the mechanisms that underlie AMF-induced drought tolerance. The objective of this research is to understand (1) to what extent does AMF mitigate water stress in C. canadensis and (2) by which mechanisms does AMF do this. To answer these questions, we will assess differences in leaf water potential, total biomass, photosynthetic rate, non-structural carbohydrates, abscisic acid levels, and percent mycorrhizal colonization of roots between C. canadensis plants grown in a greenhouse with and without mycorrhizal inoculation under three different watering regimes (control, moderate stress, and severe stress). This study will add to a growing body of knowledge on AMF-induced drought tolerance and provide insight on the ecology of Conyza canadensis.