Diversity of oomycetes and protists in intimate association with Arabidopsis
Like humans, plants live in close association with microorganisms. Some of these are pathogens or opportunists that degrade plant derived material whereas others live in symbiosis or mutualism with the plant. Specific adaptations exist for endophytes colonizing plant roots or other organs of which some can stimulate plant growth and development or reduce plant stress. In our project, we study the underexplored oomycete and protist microbiome of Brassicaceae using Next Generation Sequencing. This technology has revolutionized our knowledge of microbial diversity enabling the detection of so far unknown organisms. Firstly, current metabarcoding methods for the two groups will be tested and improved followed by a comparison of oomycete and protist presence in different organs in contrast to bulk soil. Based on our findings we will study specific interactions between plants and their microbiome in more detail with the aim to manipulate microbial populations for the benefit of the plant.
Keywords expertise: plant associated microbiome, microbial diversity, ecology, microeukaryotes, endophytes