This project aims to identify the linked properties of ecosystems that allow them to remain healthy, in terms of crop production, microbial communities, landscape properties and environmental setting. It will determine the evolutionary drivers of resilience to pests, both above and below-ground.
Ecosystem health emerges from interactions among plant communities, microbes in and on plant tissue and
soil (the phytobiome), external stressors, and the broader ecosystem context at increasing scales. For example, soil biota profoundly influences plant performance and resistance to disease. Conversely, above-ground biota can influence soil mutualists, pathogens and pests.
The relative role of these factors in driving individual plant health are poorly understood, and the effects can differ according to the plant and microbial taxa involved. This uncertainty makes it difficult to manage ecosystems towards enhanced health and bioprotection outcomes