PhD Ainhoa Martinez-Medina
I am a molecular ecologist interested in plant multitrophic interactions between aboveground and belowground food webs. I am particularly fascinated by how root associated microbes as arbuscular mycorrhizal and Trichoderma fungi impact on how plants interact with other community members, at different trophic levels. I thereby study the full range of processes involved; from the underlying molecular and chemical mechanisms to the ecological effects on herbivores, their natural enemies and pollinators.
I am also interested on how root and shoot herbivorous reciprocally interact via induced plant responses, and how do plants manage to defend themselves against diverse enemies.
A new Grant from the Programme for Attracting Scientific Talent
MY LATEST RESEARCH
Tripartite interactions between beneficial microbes, plants and arthropods
All plant species establish symbioses with soil microbes, as arbuscular mycorrhizal or Trichoderma fungi. The complex interplay of such fungal symbionts with their hosts affects multiple plant traits such as growth rate and defence status.
I seek to understand how root fungal symbionts are able to boost defense responses their host plants, making them more resistant or tolerant to pathogens and pests. I thereby study the full range of processes involved; from the underlying molecular and chemical mechanisms to the ecological effects on herbivores and their natural enemies.
Plant-mediated impact of shoot herbivory on root interaction with parasitic nematodes
In natural and agricultural ecosystems, plants suffer herbivory by aboveground and belowground herbivores at the same time. Root herbivores may influence the communities of herbivores associated with the leaves. Reverse interactions, on the other hand, have received little attention so far. By using Solanum species, I study the impact of shoot herbivory on root interaction with root knot nematodes. I take an ecometabolomics approach to understand how plants integrate simultaneously induced responses, and how this affects nematodes parasitism.