FE Alan Knapp interviews Haldane Prizewinner Brian Steidinger

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Alan Knapp talks to Brian Steidinger, the winner of the 2015 Haldane Prize for Early Career Research, about his paper "Variability in potential to exploit different soil organic phosphorus compounds among tropical montane tree species" (Functional Ecology, 29:1, pp 121–130) Soil phosphorus is as essential as water for plant growth, but its low availability in some areas forces plants to develop different strategies to acquire it. Mycorrhizal associations, symbiotic associations between a fungus and a vascular plant, represent the most common strategy for access to the different pools of soil P by plants and it therefore seems reasonable to assume that different symbiotic fungal species will be differently able to exploit this non-renewable resource and that non-mycorrhizal species could have a competitive disadvantage. Brian Steidinger and his co-authors tested this hypothesis by comparing phosphatase enzyme activity and performance of five tropical tree species belonging to different functional groups: arbuscular mycorrhizal angiosperms, arbuscular mycorrhizal conifers, ectomycorrhizal angiosperms and non-mycorrhizal proteoid plants. - See more at: http://www.britishecologicalsociety.org/grants-awards/honours_awards_prizes/prize-for-the-best-paper-by-a-young-author/haldane-prize

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