Key Goal: Investigate broad-scale impacts of Austropuccinia psidii on ecosystem functions
Once A.psidii establishes at a site, it will likely have impacts beyond host plant disease and death. For example, other microorganisms (e.g. bacteria and fungi) are likely to be impacted.
Some microorganisms may reduce in abundance while others may increase, and this in turn can have impacts on plant health.
It is important to understand whether plants with certain features (traits), such as large vs small leaves, are likely to be impacted differently.
Combined, changes in plant features and the microbial community could lead to changes in ecosystem functions, such as water fluxes into and out of the ecosystem, carbon storage in soils, and nutrient movements through landscapes.
We aim to develop a holistic understanding of the pathogen, host, and ecosystem changes, which will enable the best possible management approaches to be developed.
This research project will use several study sites in the North Island.