Profiles

Pil Rasmussen

Pil Rasmussen

Doktorand

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Works at Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences
Telephone 08-16 34 15
Email pil.rasmussen@su.se
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 20 A
Room N 402
Postal address Institutionen för ekologi miljö och botanik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

PhD student in the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.

My work focuses on the linkage between above- and belowground organisms, with a main focus on root-associated fungi. Specifically, I look into spatial patterns of soil microbes; dispersal abilities of soil microbes; how abiotic (e.g. climate, soil pH and nutrients) and biotic  factors (e.g. plant genotype and root-associated fungi) can affect soil microbes; and what consequences belowground microbes can have on aboveground communities.  

In my group is Ayco Tack (my supervisor), Maria Faticov, Laura van Dijk, Alvaro Gaytan, and Etsuko Nonaka.

 

Teaching

I've been teaching on the Ecology I (BSc) and Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions (MSc level) courses.

 

Other activities

I was chairman of the PhD council and a science communicator in our communication group, but I'm now focusing on writing my thesis which I will defend on 30th November 2018.

 

 

From a blogpost I wrote for the Nessling Foundation who funds my PhD position:

Soil- the treasure chest of the ecosystem services

What happens in the soil can have a huge impact on ecosystems and ecosystem services, such as plant biodiversity, agricultural pests and invasive species. Soil communities consists of a vast number of different organisms; bacteria, fungi, nematodes, worms and insects and many more. My work focuses mainly on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and nematodes.

Nematodes, also called roundworms, are found in a lot of different environments; sea and fresh water and in soil from the tropics to the polar regions, some of these even lead a parasitic lifestyle. Nematodes are easily affected by changes in the soil, especially due to agricultural practices such as cultivation and addition of fertilizers and pesticides. This makes them great indicators of disturbances in the soil.

Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are a very important symbiosis between fungi and plant roots, and this symbiosis is found in more than 80% of all plants living today. AM fungi provide the plants with a lot of benefits; the main one is providing the plant with nutrients in exchange for sugar, but they have also been shown to protect the plant against drought, herbivores and pathogens. Therefore, it is not an understatement to say that AM fungi are critical to plant performance.

Very little is known about how human mediated effects on the climate, such as changes in temperature, nutrient enrichment, drought etc. affect AM fungi and nematodes, and even more importantly, how changes in these organisms can affect the performance of above ground organisms and interactions. This is exactly what I am investigating.

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. Pil U. Rasmussen (et al.). Ecological Entomology 42 (6), 793-802

    1. While both arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and plant and insect genotype are well known to influence plant and herbivore growth and performance, information is lacking on how these factors jointly influence the relationship between plants and their natural herbivores. 2. The aim of the present study was to investigate how a natural community of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi affects the growth of the perennial herb Plantago lanceolata L. (Plantaginaceae), as well as its interaction with the Glanville fritillary butterfly [Melitaea cinxia L. (Nymphalidae)]. For this, a multifactorial experiment was conducted using plant lines originating from multiple plant populations in the angstrom land Islands, Finland, grown either with or without mycorrhizal fungi. For a subset of plant lines, the impact of mycorrhizal inoculation, plant line, and larval family on the performance of M. cinxia larvae were tested. 3. Arbuscular mycorrhizal inoculation did not have a consistently positive or negative impact on plant growth or herbivore performance. Instead, plant genetic variation mediated the impact of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on plant growth, and both plant genetic variation and herbivore genetic variation mediated the response of the herbivore. For both the plant and insect, the impact of the arbuscular mycorrhizal community ranged from mutualistic to antagonistic. Overall, the present findings illustrate that genetic variation in response to mycorrhizal fungi may play a key role in the ecology and evolution of plant-insect interactions.

Show all publications by Pil Rasmussen at Stockholm University

Last updated: July 20, 2018

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