We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher to work on the SolACE H2020 project (Solution for improving Agroecosystem and Crop Efficiency for water and nutrient use) funded by the European Union and supported by the Occitanie Region. The postdoctoral fellow will work at UMR Eco&Sols (https://www.umr-ecosols.fr/), a unit located at the Institute Agro of Montpellier campus (France, https://www.institut-agro.fr). The postdoctoral fellow will get a one-year position at INRAE.
The involved workpackage of the SolACE project aims to understand how crop management practices (durum wheat genotype mixtures here) can help to enhance stress resistance, by investigating above- and below-ground processes associated with nutrient use efficiency (AMF, nutrient availability). A greenhouse experiment based on the mycorrhizal response of 10 durum wheat genotypes and a field experiment based on the effect of genotype mixture on belowground traits related to nutrient acquisition (i.e. root morphology, AMF communities) were already carried out in 2021. These studies were achieved in collaboration with Hélène Fréville and Pierre Roumet of the UMR AGAP (GE2pop team, Montpellier).
Plants can be connected through common mycorrhizal networks (CMNs). CMNs can involve both con- and heterospecific plant individuals (Jakobsen & Hammer 2015). All connected plants invest carbon in the CMNs but the retribution rules, in terms of mineral nutrients provided by the mycorrhizal fungi, remain highly debated (Wipf et al. 2019). Thus, the role of CMN in plant interactions, i.e. competition vs facilitation for resource acquisition is still poorly understood. For instance, CMNs have been found to amplify intraspecific competition and to alter population size-class distribution within A. gerardii populations (Weremijewiccz and Janos 2013). This post-doc aims to investigate how the nutrient dynamics of the CMNs influence competition / facilitation in varietal mixtures vs monocultures of durum wheat.
Postdoctoral research fellow
The postdoctoral fellow will set up a greenhouse experiment to understand the role of CMN in nutrient allocation in monospecific vs binary mixtures of durum wheat. The latter will be done following an experimental approach inspired by Weremijewicz & Janos (2019), with or without CMN disruption. The study will focus on the carbon cost of the mycorrhizal association (13CO2 labelling), when grown with a con- or heterospecific neighbor, and possibly by assessing the sharing of an 15N source only accessible to hyphae. This work will be carried out in collaboration with Pierre-Emmanuel Courty (UMR Agroécologie, Dijon).
The C, N and P content of durum wheat and external mycorrhizal hyphae will be measured coupled with isotope ratio mass spectrometry measurements to determine the 13C and 15N contents at the Stable Isotopes Workshop of the UMR Biochemistry and Molecular Physiology of Plants in Montpellier. Abundance of intra- and extra-root colonization by mycorrhizal fungi will be evaluated.
The postdoctoral researcher will work with a Master student. In addition, the postdoctoral research will get involved in the organization of a seminar on durum wheat mixtures with national stakeholders (farmer, researcher, cooperative, student…).
Profile and skills
• Stable isotope probing experience
• Knowledge in soil and plant-associated AMF ecology
• Background with plant cultivation in greenhouse
• Strong organizational, rigor, autonomy and teamwork skills to collaborate in a multidisciplinary unit
• Comfortable with R
• Good writing skills in English (min level B2) to publish in international scientific journals
• Train and mentor Master student working on the same project
• Proficient oral communication skills
• One-year contract at INRAE
• Starting date: January 2022
• Location: Unité Mixte de Recherche Eco&Sols, 2 Place Pierre Viala, 34060 Montpellier
• Contract : 2371 € gross salary. Contribution to social security system.
How to apply
Candidate should send a cover letter (1-2 pages) and detailed CV including previous experience, list of publications and contact details of one reference to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com before the 31th of October 2021.
Jakobsen, I., & Hammer, E. C. (2015). Nutrient dynamics in arbuscular mycorrhizal networks. In Mycorrhizal networks (pp. 91-131). Springer, Dordrecht.
Weremijewicz, J., & Janos, D. P. (2019). Investigation of plant interactions across common mycorrhizal networks using rotated cores. JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), (145), e59338.
Weremijewicz, J., & Janos, D. P. (2013). Common mycorrhizal networks amplify size inequality in A ndropogon gerardii monocultures. New Phytologist, 198(1), 203-213.
Wipf, D., Krajinski, F., van Tuinen, D., Recorbet, G., & Courty, P. E. (2019). Trading on the arbuscular mycorrhiza market: from arbuscules to common mycorrhizal networks. New Phytologist, 223(3), 1127-1142.