Dr. Andreas Menzel
Phd project: Effects of the mycorhizal symbiosis on plant distributions and alien plant invasions at a large spatial scale
Almost 90% of all vascular plant species form associations with mycorrhizal fungi and mycorrhizas are of crucial importance for the organisation of terrestrial plants across all hierarchical levels and biomes. Despite this close and ubiquitous relationship, mycorrhizal traits are rarely considered in plant ecology, especially in large-scale analyses of plant community assemblage and species distributions.
Three groups of plant species can be distinguished according to their mycorrhizal status: (1) obligate plant species that are always found to be colonised by mycorrhizal fungi, (2) facultative plant species that are colonised under some environmental conditions, but not colonised under others, and (3) non-mycorrhizal plant species, which are never found to be colonised by mycorrhizal fungi.
(1) We investigate whether plant species assemblages at the German country scale are composed of different proportions of species regarding their mycorrhizal status, and whether the variation of these proportions are linked to geographical varation of ecological and environmental factors.
(2) We are interested in the effects of the mycorrhizal symbiosis on the invasion success of alien plant species in Germany. It is still debated, whether alien plants benefit from being mycorrhizal or if engaging in the symbiosis constrains their establishment and spread in new regions. We compare whether the representation of plant species with different mycorrhizal status is different at several stages of the invasion process. Furthermore, we study trait interactions of mycorrhizal status and other morphological plant functional traits to potentially unravel trade-offs in alien plants' carbon economy and their relation to invasion success.
Personal research interest
Generally, my personal research interest is focused on understanding the (functional) assembly of communities, detached from organism identity. Therefore, community ecology, macroecology, spatial ecology, biodiversity research and their corresponding theoretical backgrounds are my main interests. I like working with large data sets to unravel patterns that are related to these topics.
Menzel A, Hempel S, Klotz S, Moora M, Pyšek P, Rillig MC, Zobel M, Kühn I (2017): 'Mycorrhizal status interacting with morphological traits help explain invasion success of alien plant species', 8th Biennial Conference of the International Biogeography Society, Tucson.
Menzel A, Hempel S, Klotz S, Moora M, Pyšek P, Rillig MC, Zobel M, Kühn I (2016): 'Mycorrhizal status interacting with morphological traits help explaining invasion success of alien plant species', 9th International Conference on Biological Invasions NEOBIOTA, Vianden.
Menzel A, Hempel S, Götzenberger L, Klotz S, Moora M, Pyšek P, Rillig MC, Zobel M, Kühn I (2015): 'Mycorrhizal status helps explaining invasion success of neophyte plant species in Germany', 13th Conference of the European Ecological Federation, Rome.
Menzel A, Hempel S, Götzenberger L, Manceur MA, Michalski SG, Moora M, Rillig MC, Zobel M, Kühn I (2013): 'What are the environmental drivers of arbuscular mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plant species?', 43rd Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Potsdam.
Menzel A, Rzanny M, Voigt W (2012): 'Optimization of biodiversity experiments by spatial analysis of arthropod distribution patterns', 42nd Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Lüneburg.
Menzel A, Hempel S, Götzenberger L, Manceur MA, Moora M, Rillig MC, Zobel M, Kühn I (2015): 'Large-scale distribution patterns of arbuscular mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plant species', 7th Biennial Conference of the International Biogeography Society, Bayreuth.