Are bromeliad roots absorptive? A preliminary study on fungal association in bromeliads

Durée : 2015 - 2016
Programme : LabEx CEBA
Portée : Nationale
Endophytic fungi
Fungal diversity
Mineral nutrition
Plant performance
Species interaction

One critical challenge for plants is to maintain an adequate water and nutrient supply under fluctuating environmental conditions. In canopy habitats, epiphytic plants have evolved remarkable morphological and physiological adaptations for attaining and retaining water and nutrients. Whereas the benefits of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) to plants growing on the forest floor are well described, little is known about the associations AMF form with plants in the forest canopy. Bromeliads are one of the most diverse groups of epiphytes found in the entire tropical and subtropical zones of the Americas. A unique feature of this family is that many species are capable of absorbing water and nutrients directly from atmospheric sources thanks to their foliar trichomes, reducing the roots to a purely mechanical support function, attaching the plant to the substrate. FUN-BROM aims to characterize the occurrence and diversity of fungal associations in bromeliad roots and to consider the extent of the role of roots and fungi in plant performance. We propose to analyze patterns of fungal diversity according to the ecological types and ontogeny of the bromeliads by combining morphological and Next Generation Sequencing approaches. Moreover, we will conduct in situ and greenhouse experiments in order to characterize the role of roots and fungal associations in bromeliad performance. FUN-BROM project will give us a new highlight of fungal diversity in bromeliads and more generally in an understudied forest compartment. Discovering fungal associations may challenge the current perception of bromeliad nutrition and understanding the diversity of nutritional pathways and mechanisms of alternation between them is crucial to construct predictions of bromeliad responses to climate change.


  • UMR EcoFoG