Sirgi Saar " Plant-soil interactions: the effects of root exudates and soil legacies on plant growth and litter decomposition" | University of Tartu
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Contacts of UT units

Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5341
Faculty address: 
Jakobi 2 - 116-121, 51014, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
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    + 372 737 5341
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 116 - 121, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of History and Archaeology
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    Jakobi 2, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
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    Jakobi 2, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics
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    Jakobi 2, III, rooms 309-352, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Cultural Research
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    Ülikooli 16, 51003, Tartu
  • School of Theology and Religious Studies
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    (+372) 737 5301
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18-310, 50090, Tartu
  • College of Foreign Languages and Cultures
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    Lossi 3, 51003, Tartu
  • Viljandi Culture Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 435 5232
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    Posti 1, 71004, Viljandi
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5957
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Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
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    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Education
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    Salme 1a, room 29, 50103, Tartu
  • Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
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    Lossi 36, roomm 301, 51003, Tartu
  • School of Economics and Business Administration
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  • Institute of Psychology
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  • Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine
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Faculty of Science and Technology
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Vanemuise 46-208, 51014, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
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    Vanemuise 46 - 208, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Computer Science
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  • Estonian Marine Institute
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  • Institute of Physics
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  • Institute of Chemistry
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  • Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences
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  • Youth Academy
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    Lossi 38, 51003, Tartu
  • Estonian Genome Center
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    Riia 23b, 51010, Tartu
  • Museum
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    Lossi 25, 51014, Tartu
  • University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden
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    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51014, Tartu
Support Units
  • Administrative Office
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    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • University Office in Tallinn
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    Faculty address: 
    Teatri väljak 3, 10143 Tallinn
  • Estates Office
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    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • Finance Office
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    Jakobi 4, 51014, Tartu
  • Information Technology Office
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  • Marketing and Communication Office
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  • Office of Academic Affairs
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    Ülikooli 18, 50090, Tartu
  • Office of Research and Development
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  • Rector's Strategy Office
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  • Student Council
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  • University of Tartu Press
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  • Tartu University Hospital
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  • View all other units

Sirgi Saar " Plant-soil interactions: the effects of root exudates and soil legacies on plant growth and litter decomposition"

Date: 
26.10.2017 - 13:15

Sirgi Saar  will defend her doctoral thesis titled "Plant-soil interactions: the effects of root exudates and soil legacies on plant growth and litter decomposition" on 26 October at 13.15.

Supervisor: 
Professor Kristjan Zobel, University of Tartu, Institute Ecology and Earth Science
Research Fellow Marina Semchenko, University of Manchester (Suurbritannia)

Opponent:
Associate Professor Gordon McNickle, PhD, Purdue University (USA)

Description of the problem
Despite being sessile, plants display remarkable behaviour. Plants react to environmental cues through changes in traits altering their phenotype. Author of this thesis researched how plants recognise their relatives, distinguish them from unrelated plants and different species and what is the outcome of such recognition.

Result and benefit
It was found that kin recognition is mediated through compounds exuded by roots, which in turn are recognised by roots of other plants. As a result of kin recognition plants placed less roots towards cues of their relatives. Kin selection allows them to invest more in reproduction at an expense of competition. More roots were diverted towards non-relative conspecific cues from the same population that can be interpreted as aggressive occupation of space and resources whereas conspecific cues from different population elicited lesser response which may be explained with coevolution. Plants did not specifically react to the interspecific cues, suggesting that root exudates convey information about relatedness, community and species identity. Trait changes arising from kin recognition can affect nutrient cycling and growth of plants in next generation: plants grown in soil previously inhabited by kin groups that also included the root litter contained less nitrogen, compared to stranger groups, and root litter originating from related plants decomposed slower. This effect was probably caused by lower genetic diversity among relatives which makes them more susceptible to pathogen attack and requires reinforcement of defense-related root morphology and production of more recalcitrant roots. Lower nitrogen concentration in root litter of relatives and next generation plants shows that kin recognition can impact nutrient cycling in ecosystems. The practical application of kin recognition in plants can manifest in agriculture if plant varieties are bred to compete less with their neighbours and produce higher crop yield.

Location: 
Lai 40-218
Event category: