Thank you for your interest in my PhD research:
Optimal foraging theory for root proliferation in heterogenous soils. 

During this PhD project my aim is to develop a plant root foraging model. I am using the geometric framework from Simpson and Raubenheimer (1993), and I am testing whether plants invest their roots in order to take up the nutrients they need (in terms of phosphorus and nitrogen) in an optimal, cost efficient way. The cost is specified as Carbon investment, which besides root biomass could be reflected in root activity. Therefore we will be using the PETIS to real time image the carbon allocation when roots are reaching a nutrient rich patch. 

After having done a split root experiment and measure root biomass investment, I am now collaborating with Dr. Irving at the University of Tsukuba. Here in Tsukuba we can use radioisotopes to visualise and quantify carbon allocation the moment we change nutrient availability to some part of the roots. We will use stable isotopes to measure carbon allocation to the roots into a nitrogen rich patch in relation to phosphorus availability. 

Supervisors, Collaborations and Liaisons

Background reading:

  • Houston, A. I., Higginson, A. D., & McNamara, J. M. (2011). Optimal foraging for multiple nutrients in an unpredictable environment. Foraging for multiple nutrients, 14(11), 1101–1107.
  • McNickle, G. G., St Clair, C. C., & Cahill Jr, J. F. (2009). Focusing the metaphor: plant root foraging behaviour. Trends in Ecology & Evolution24(8), 419–426
  • Pyke, G. H., Pulliam, H. R., & Charnov, E. L. (1977). Optimal foraging: a selective review of theory and tests. Quarterly Review of Biology, 137–154

Life - Venus Flytraps Jaws of Death

Germinating Poa annua seed

Project Sunshine

Behaving plants

Subpages (2): Gallery Japan experiments