Almost all plant tissues harbor microorganisms. These microbial communities are hyperdiverse, and we are currently far from a proper understanding of their structure, dynamics and functional role. The phyllosphere (the surface of plant leaves) is a microbial habitat of particular relevance owing to its situation at the interface between the host plant and the atmosphere. Phyllosphere microorganisms can modulate the resistance of plants against multiple stresses (such as drought, pests or diseases) and could hence play a non-negligible role in plant response to global change.
We study phyllosphere microbial communities within an evolutionary ecology framework. We combine network ecology, environmental genomics and plant physiology to analyze the dynamics of microbial communities and networks, and assess their influence on plant performance and ecosystem functions. We also study the microbiota of other aboveground plant organs and tissues (wood, seeds) to better understand the transmission routes of the plant microbiota.
We have three main goals:
- To better understand the protective role of the phyllosphere microbiota against multiple stresses
- To decipher the transmission routes of the plant microbiota
- To apply our findings to plant health management (biocontrol, biomonitoring)