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#ICOM12

Workshop Details

WORKSHOPS

Thanks to the incredible amount of high-quality workshop proposals received, we were able to compile thrilling workshos for the ICOM 12, consisting of 7 different workshops.

Details about each workshop can be seen below.

Date & Time: August 5, Monday & 14:30 – 16:00

Organiser: Joanna Weremijewicz, USA

Chairs: Joanna Weremijewicz, USA & Nils Henriksson, Sweden

Speakers:

Nils Henriksson, Sweden

Stav Livne-Luzon, Israel

Jan Jansa, Czechia

Ylva Lekberg, USA

Joanna Weremijewicz, USA


Workshops Details:

Within plant communities, common mycorrhizal networks (CMNs) interconnect many different individuals and move growth-limiting resources belowground, but what governs the exchange between hosts and CMNs? Ultimately, how resources like carbon, mineral nutrients, and water, are partitioned among hosts affects whether plant interactions will be competitive, neutral, or facilitative. This workshop seeks to identify any emerging trends in our understanding of the role of CMN functioning within plant communities. We will examine which plants receive the most resources from CMNs and what drives these patterns. Because the functions of CMNs are often generalized, we will distinguish the biologically meaningful roles of CMNs formed by different mycorrhiza types.

Additionally, we will discuss gray areas and areas of misconception within CMN research, and consider how experiment design may affect our interpretations of CMN functioning.

Date & Time: August 5, Monday & 16:00 – 17:30

Organiser: Adriana Corrales, Colombia

Chairs: Adriana Corrales, Colombia & Clara Qin, USA

Speakers:

Inaki Odriozola, Czechia

Justin D. Stewart, The Netherlands

Laura van Galen, Switzerland

Clara Qin, USA

Mohammad Bahram, Sweden

Workshops Details:

Knowledge about the biogeographic patterns of mycorrhizal fungi is crucial to understand their evolutionary history, ecological role, invasion potential, and future responses to global change. With the widespread use of environmental sequencing and incorporation of these data in global databases we are accumulating evidence of the biogeographic patterns of this group of fungi. More recently, we attempt to understand the underlying mechanisms behind these biogeographical patterns. This symposium aims to bring together researchers working on novel questions, to build general conclusions and identify key questions and challenges related with mycorrhizal fungi biogeography and macroecology.

Date & Time: August 6, Tuesday & 14:00 – 15:30

Organiser: Cameron Egan, USA

Chairs: Cameron Egan, USA & Bethan Manley, UK

Speakers:

Cameron Egan, USA

Camille Delavaux, Switzerland

Bethan Manley, UK

Nicolas Corradi, Canada & Vasilis Kokkoris, The Netherlands

Workshops Details:

Current approaches in the study of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) focus on leveraging molecular techniques and associated high-throughput technologies to unravel their diversity. These approaches combine amplicon sequencing of specific genes with sequence databases to enable the identification of AMF taxa in environmental samples. While these techniques have increased our understanding of AMF diversity across a variety of ecosystems, variation on approaches and pipelines exists within the research community.

The future of AMF ecology is intricately tied to advancements in the understanding and implementing AMF genomics to deepen our understanding of the functional diversity in natural communities and populations. As high-throughput sequencing technologies continue to evolve, the field is poised to unravel the genomic intricacies of AMF, with a particular emphasis on functional and population genomics. For example, meta-transcriptomic studies, enabled by advancements in RNA-sequencing and bioinformatics, have the potential to uncover which AMF and which genes are actively used depending on environmental contexts. Similarly, genome-based analyses of single spores could provide insights into the level of intra/inter-population genetic diversity found across natural ecosystems, and would help determine taxonomic boundaries in AMF.

This workshop aims to provide participants with an overview of current and future opportunities to understand AMF diversity. It brings together diverse perspectives and expertise in AMF ecology and genetics, and will include presentations and discussions of pertinent topics in AMF molecular ecology such as: identification of AMF from environmental samples, genetic marker choice, sample processing and bioinformatics, database usage, and urgent needs to produce culture collections.

Date & Time: August 6, Tuesday & 15:30 – 17:00

Organiser: Pedro Madeira Antunes, Canada

Chairs: Pedro Madeira Antunes, Canada & Sidney Stürmer, Brazil

Carlos A. Aguilar-Trigueros, Germany

Petr Kohout, Canada

Vasilis Kokkoris, The Netherlands

Coline Deveautour, France

Christopher Fernandez, USA

Workshops Details:

Mycorrhizal fungi pose a complex challenge for understanding their functional outcomes within ecosystems, one that may not be overcome by relying on taxonomy alone. Traits, diverse attributes at morphological, physiological, and genetic levels, influence mycorrhizal fungal ecological roles. Consequently, connecting traits to precise functional outcomes might provide a pathway for more accurate outcome predictions of the symbiosis and overall decreased uncertainty, a concept often attributed to “context dependency”.

This workshop aims to contribute to the creation of a trait-based framework for mycorrhizal fungi. We will delve into identifying measurable mycorrhizal traits and discuss their ramifications onto host plants, soil processes, and the fungi themselves, encompassing aspects such as nutrient dynamics, survival, soil structure, and competitive abilities. Additionally, we intend to scrutinize existing methodologies and experimental designs for measuring traits, discussing ways to enable data aggregation and subsequent incorporation into predictive models.

Specifically, prior to our discussions, Dr. Carlos Aguilar-Trigueros explores allometric relationships in spore traits, investigating their ecological implications. Dr. Petr Kohout explores AM fungal niche spaces, using a database to predict species’ responses to environmental shifts. Dr. Pierre-Luc Chagnon cautions against regarding interaction network positions as reliable traits. Dr. Vasilis Kokkoris examines neglected molecular and extraradical hyphal network traits, linking them to AM fungal functions. Dr. Coline Deveautour’s research reveals spore traits’ responses to environmental stress, and Dr. Christopher Fernandez proposes using soil nutrient pool preferences for a trait-based framework of ectomycorrhizal fungal distribution and function.

Date & Time: August 6, Tuesday & 15:30 – 17:00

Organiser: Björn Lindahl, Sweden

Chairs: Ylva Lekberg, USA & Björn Lindahl, Sweden

Speakers:

Mathias Mayer, Switzerland

Ylva Lekberg, USA

François Maillard, Sweden

Jennifer Bhatnagar, USA

Rachel Hestrin, USA

Workshop Details:

New methods provide unprecedented possibilities to analyse taxonomic composition of mycorrhizal communities. To understand the wider implication of community variation for soil processes, vegetation and crops we urgently need better understanding of how ecophysiological traits differ among fungal taxa. The obligate symbiotic lifestyle of most mycorrhizal fungi makes it impossible to study their physiology in isolation, and even for the minority of mycorrhizal fungi that may be cultivated in the lab the relevance of pure-culture experiments may be questioned. Establishment of mycorrhiza in the greenhouse is possible, but results are rarely transferable to field conditions. Therefore, methods to study the in situ roles of mycorrhizal fungi in their natural setting are in high demand.

We propose a workshop that focuses on methods to study the ecophysiology (“functioning”) of all sorts of mycorrhizal associations directly in the field with minimal disturbance of their delicate interactions. Central themes are measurements of mycelial proliferation and turnover, nutrient mobilisation, resource partitioning between mycorrhizal partners, effects on organic matter decomposition, and interactions with other soil biota. Methods include ingrowth meshbags/rotated cores, measurements of mycelial biomass, enzyme activity assays, isotope studies, statistical and modelling approaches, GMOs, and the potential of various omics-methods. The objective is to share our experience with various methods to encourage more in-situ experiments that can increase our knowledge of actual mycorrhizal functioning.

Date & Time: August 7, Thursday & 14:00- 15:30

Organisers: Alan Wanke, UK & Camille S Delavaux, Switzerland

Chairs: Alan Wanke, UK & Camille S Delavaux, Switzerland & Laura van Galen, Switzerland & Silvia Pressel, UK

Speakers:

Victor Rodriguez Morelos, UK

Nathan Howard, UK

David Johnson, UK

Martin Vohnik, Czechia

Alessandra Salvioli di Fossalunga, Italy

Alice Neves, Switzerland

Workshop Details:

Research on endomycorrhizas has largely focused on arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) associations, reflecting their global occurrence across more than 70% of plant species. This has, however, resulted in considerable knowledge gaps for other endomycorrhizal groups, namely ericoid (ERM) and orchid mycorrhizas (OrM), with several aspects of these associations, including molecular biology, physiology and ecology, poorly understood.  

Yet, ERM, although largely restricted to the flowering plant family Ericaceae and co-occurring leafy liverworts, are globally distributed and dominate Northern Hemisphere heathlands and boreal forest habitats, some of the largest terrestrial biomes, where they perform key roles in carbon and nutrient cycling. As such, a better understanding of their functional ecology, diversity and molecular basis of the symbiosis, is urgently needed.  Similarly, a deeper understanding of OrM is widely recognised as a key priority for the conservation of this hyper-diverse, globally threatened plant family.

Further, molecular advancements in microbial community profiling have revealed the presence of more diverse fungal endosymbionts co-colonising the roots of AM plants.   Mucoromycotina fine root endophytes (MFRE) have been detected in several non-vascular and vascular plants across a range of natural and agroecosystems. In the last decade, a rapidly growing body of research has confirmed MFRE mycorrhizal status and began to unravel the distinct physiological and ecological niches of MFRE compared to AM fungi.

With this workshop, we propose to bring together diverse researchers to present the latest advances on these important but understudied ‘other’ endomycorrhizas, to stimulate their future research and collaborations.

Date & Time: August 7, Thursday & 15:30 – 17:00

Organiser: César Marín, Chile

Chairs: César Marín, Chile & Nancy Collins Johnson, USA

Speakers:

César Marín, Chile

Sander van Otterdijk, The Netherlands

Letian Wang, China

James D. Bever, USA

Nancy Collins Johnson, USA

Workshop Details:

Multilevel Selection (MLS) occurs when natural selection operates simultaneously in at least two levels of the biological hierarchy (from molecules to ecosystems). Hundreds of studies have recognized MLS in natural and laboratory populations, and it may be a useful heuristic model for understanding the evolution of mycorrhizal symbioses. Historically, there has been a conflation of the units involved in natural selection and uncoupling them may be enlightening. We argue that recognizing three distinct units of natural selection may facilitate a MLS paradigm for the evolution of mycorrhizal symbioses. One unit interacts with the environment and leads to differential fitness (interactors), the second unit generates inheritance (replicators/reproducers/reconstitutors), and the third unit manifests accumulated or optimized adaptations (manifestors of adaptations). These three different evolutionary functions do not need to occur at the same level of the biological hierarchy. We suggest this tripartite framework of units of selection could help explain phenomena such as the unusual nuclear dynamics of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, their sporocarp formation, and the presence of a core, nutrient-mineralizing microbiome in the mycorrhizal hyphosphere. This workshop aims to explore how natural selection operates across the biological hierarchy in mycorrhizal systems, from nuclei to groups of plant holobionts and ecosystems. We anticipate that this workshop will illuminate debates regarding individuality and holobionts in mycorrhizal systems and help advance the development of theories and experimental systems to elucidate mechanisms of mycorrhizal evolution. This knowledge is necessary before mycorrhizal symbioses can be effectively managed in agriculture and ecosystem restoration.