Erica McGale

   Department of Molecular Ecology
 Phone:+49 (0)3641 57 1131Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
 Fax:+49 (0)3641 57 1102Hans-Knöll-Straße 8
  emailD-07745 Jena

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My research explores the functional effects of a key gene that controls a water-wasting phenotype in N. attenuata plants: mitogen-activated protein kinase 4 (MPK4). I use plants stably silenced in MPK4 expression (irMPK4) and by growing these plants with EV (empty vector, Wt-like) plants in pairs, populations, and communities at different abundances, I examine the productivity of each population’s individuals as well as the population as a whole. My research focuses on the performance of these populations under drought stress, and/or while interacting with arbscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). I'm interested in the effect of MPK4 on how a plant responds to drought tolerance and recovery through changes in photosynthetic rates, efficiencies, and structures, as well as through metabolomic accumulation in leaves, branches and roots. Below ground interactions between plants, facilitated by a fungus such as AMF, are key to how irMPK4 plants can affect community drought response and recovery, and I seek to define some of the responsible mechanisms.
last updated on 2018-01-10