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I am a soil ecologist and my research is focused on understanding how global change drivers impact ecosystem functioning. I am particularly interested in the interactions between above- and below-ground organisms and the ecosystem processes they drive.
Land-use intensification alters ecosystem functions in grasslands: insights from the soil fungal community (FORMAS)
Global change is altering ecosystems worldwide and affecting groups such as soil fungi that are key drivers of many ecosystem services. Land-use intensification in grassland causes nitrogen (N) enrichment and loss of plant diversity and changes in plant functional composition. Despite advances in our understanding of some of these processes, little is known about how they jointly and interactively affect soil fungal communities and their functioning.
The overall aim of this project is to characterize the response of the soil fungal community to these aspects of global change and its effects on important ecosystem functions and services. I have sampled soil fungal communities at the PaNDiv experiment that manipulates plant species richness and functional composition together with N addition and will determine the abundance and diversity of functional groups such as saprotrophs, pathogens and mycorrhizae. This research will provide mechanistic insights into how poorly studied fungal groups respond to global change and affect function, which will contribute to the design of more sustainable grassland management systems.
Impact of global change on phyllosphere microbiomes in grasslands (SNF)
Grasslands are strongly affected by land-use intensification, either directly from an increase in plant growth following nitrogen (N) enrichment, or indirectly via plant diversity loss and changes in plant functional composition. However, we have no information on how these different aspects of global change affect the composition and diversity of phyllosphere microbial communities, and whether different functional groups of microbes are affected differently. Moreover, we know very little in general about the impact of these phyllosphere microbiomes on plant communities and we know nothing about how changes in phyllosphere diversity or composition affects plant growth and ecosystem functioning.
The aim of this project is to increase our knowledge of how global change affects plant phyllosphere community structure, function and impact, and to elucidate the role of pathogen diversity as a driver of disease severity. To do so, we are developing the necessary methodology to characterize phyllosphere microbiomes of whole plant communities, using high-throughput sequencing, and will take advantage of the PaNDiv experiment to determine how plant species richness, functional composition, N addition and fungicide application alter phyllosphere microbiomes. This will be the first attempt to assess the effects of global change drivers on phyllosphere fungal communities.
Dr Anne Kempel and I doing field work at the PaNDiV experimental site
The effect of ecosystem engineers on ecosystem functioning
In Europe and particularly in Sweden, the wild boar population have increased and its Scandinavian population is currently expanding northwards outside its preferred forest habitats. I have been using two approaches, one experimental simulating rooting at different intensities and another by sampling natural rooted areas and adjacent intact soil and vegetation.
Artificial rooting plots simulating wild boar rooting at different intensities in a Norway spruce forest.
Are you interested to work on one of these topics? Just contact me: nadia.maaroufi[at]ips.unibe.ch
Projects: PaNDiv Experiment