#CPDSeptember – Mycorrhizal Associations as Friends & Foes to Woodland Expansion

Mycorrhizal Associations as Friends and Foes to Woodland Expansion

Hosted by: Dr Andy Taylor from The James Hutton Institute

About the Speaker

Andy is a Principal ecologist, working within the Ecological Sciences Group at The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen. He also holds a Senior Lecturer position at the University of Aberdeen. He has 35 years’ experience in investigating fungal ecology, particular mycorrhizal fungal/plant interactions and has published over 100 articles on fungal, plant and animal ecology. Andy did his undergraduate and PhD degrees at the University of Aberdeen. and followed these with post-docs in Germany, Sheffield, Germany and then a long stint in the Department of Forest Ecology and Pathology in Uppsala, Sweden.

His research has focused on the detection, identification and functioning of fungi in (semi-) natural and anthropogenically influenced ecosystems. He has used a very broad range of techniques and approaches to investigate fungal communities across diverse ecosystems and continents. The main emphasis has been on ectomycorrhizal fungi – the essential below ground symbionts of most temperate and boreal tree species. He has had a key role in the development of species level concepts of functionality within fungal communities using natural abundance of stable isotopes, physiological enzyme expression and molecular approaches.  The identification and taxonomy of fungi have been keen interests and used to examine how soil fungal communities are structured at local, regional and larger geographic scales. Recent research has focused on the taxonomic and functional characterisation of fungal communities associated with ectomycorrhizal plant species, mainly trees, in Scotland using next generation sequencing approaches. The potential use of mutualistic fungi to enhance plant establishment and growth in agricultural and forestry systems is also being investigated.

Session Outline

All our forest trees rely on mycorrhizal fungi for nutrient uptake and the majority of terrestrial land plants depend on soil fungi associated with their roots for nutrient uptake. Join us for this #LunchtimeLecture where Dr Andy Taylor will discuss the importance of mycorrhizal associations in plant establishment, survival and growth.

Here is an insight into what you will learn & discuss:

  • Outplanted trees are often devoid of mycorrhizal fungi due to the unnatural conditions of nurseries – the trees must therefore acquire suitable fungi in order to survive
  • Different ecosystems are often dominated by particular mycorrhizal associations – they can be effectively closed systems (e.g. Heathlands)
  • Trees planted into closed systems will struggle to establish if they do not form the appropriate association – or if suitable fungal inoculum is not available
  • Established plants (native or planted) will act as reservoirs of inoculum for future plantings
  • Distance to sources of inoculum is a major factor in determining inoculum availability
  • Planting trees which are already colonised by mycorrhizal fungi will have a better chance at establishing and surviving in situations where appropriate fungi are absent.

Who Should Attend

This event will be of particular interest to those with an interest in nature-based solutions for enhanced establishment and expansion of woodlands, plant and fungal interactions and ecology.


Taking place on Zoom, the presentation will be around 45 minutes and will be followed by an interactive Q&A session.

This #LunchtimeLecture is part of the Institute’s #CPDSeptember and will take place on Wednesday 23 September at 1pm.

Bookings are now open.