Bridging mycorrhizal genomics, metagenomics & forest ecology

6th New Phytologist Workshop

Bridging mycorrhizal genomics, metagenomics & forest ecology


INRA-Nancy, November 15 & 16, 2012

Thanks to all of our organisers, speakers and participants who helped to make the 6th NPW such a great success. A meeting report summarising the workshops and its main outcomes has been published in issue 198:2 of New Phytologist and can be read for free here:


Aim and Scope


Fungi are key players in microbial association in forests. Most plants rely on symbiotic fungi in obtaining nutrients from soil. A better understanding of the mycorrhizal fungi present in forests and their evolutionary adaptive history in the face of changing conditions will create tools to predict how they are likely to adapt to future climate change.

Genomics is a rapidly developing field that offers tools for exploration of biological interactions on a molecular level through analysis of genomes and transcriptomes of plant and fungal species. The new metagenomics approach opens a door to look at complex interactions in plant–microbial communities and their dynamics in response to environmental changes. In order to understand microbial interactions in forests, we need to know gene functions encoded in genomes of individual organisms and their responses to ecological changes, analyze changes in gene functions upon interactions of fungi with trees and each other, reconstruct gene regulation and metabolic flux in complex soil communities.

Genome sequences of the poplar tree and its mycorrhizal symbionts inspired new larger scale genome projects to sequence a diversity of fungi within each lifestyle (mutualists, decomposers, pathogens) and soil metagenomes that produce catalogs of reference genomes of fungi. Each of the genome projects is self-contained, has its own research focus, and is driven by its own group of PIs. For questions beyond the scope of individual genome projects, in order to get a better understanding of tree–fungal interactions, their impact on forest ecology, we propose to start developing a larger research network from scientists around the worlds to start discussions about these more complex global problems.

The workshop will be designed (through presentations, round tables and general discussions) to stimulate interaction among the different communities (genomicists, molecular ecologists, physiologists, forest ecologists) making use of the mycorrhizal genome resources. The workshop will host max. 20 consortium PI’s and representative young scientists to discuss progress, participation from different groups, and consolidation of efforts in analysis with other genome projects.


Organising committee:

Francis Martin, Igor Grigoriev & David Hibbett




Francis Martin email: fmartin(at) or np-symposia(at)