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Population level variation in host plant response to multiple symbionts

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Title: Population level variation in host plant response to multiple symbionts
Author: Franklin, James
Department: Department of Integrative Biology
Program: Integrative Biology
Advisor: Maherali, Hafiz
Abstract: Multispecies symbiotic interactions are widespread in nature; however, few studies have explored the range of variation in symbiotic interactions within a species. One widespread multi-partner symbiosis takes place between legume plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AM) fungi, and rhizobium bacteria. Because the nutrients provided by each symbiont are complementary, and the symbionts share a common genetic pathway to initiate the interaction, it is expected plant response to AM fungi and to rhizobia are positively correlated. I grew 35 populations of Medicago truncatula with or without the presence of each symbiont in a fully factorial experiment. I found populations varied in their growth response to AM fungi but not rhizobia, and the growth response to each symbiont was weakly positively correlated. The evolution of plant response to AM fungi may be more labile than plant response to rhizobia and not likely constrained by the evolution of the plant response to rhizobia.
Date: 2017-08
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