Over the last century of plant research, whether plant interactions will be competitive, neutral, or facilitative has remained elusive. This enigma may persist because most investigations have failed to consider the role of ubiquitous common mycorrhizal networks formed by symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are symbiotic, root inhabiting fungi, that associate with the majority of plants in the world today. Consequently, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi can interconnect plants when hyphae from one root system forage for mineral nutrients throughout the soil, then encounter and colonize the roots of another plant, forming a common mycorrhizal network.
To understand how these fungi contribute to plants’ competitive abilities and consequent species dominance, my research investigates the influence of common mycorrhizal networks on plant mineral nutrition, plant interactions, and nutrient movement. To understand how being interconnected to neighbors affects plant individuals, my research incorporates the use of various cutting-edge tools such as stable isotopes, and in the future I plan to utilize in vitro root organ cultures, and Next Generation Sequencing
A second research interest of mine is in the science of teaching. I am interested in the role of course-based research experiences in student achievement, retention within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields, and interest in pursuing extracurricular research experiences. I am particularly interested in how course-based research experiences may influence students from underrepresented minority or first-generation backgrounds.
Indorf, J. L.*, Weremijewicz, J.*, Janos, D.P., Gaines, M.S. (2019). Adding Authenticity to Inquiry in a First-Year, Research-Based, Biology Laboratory Course. CBE—Life Sciences Education 18(3): ar38.
* these authors contributed equally to the work
Weremijewicz, J., & Janos, D. P. (2019). Investigation of Plant Interactions Across Common Mycorrhizal Networks Using Rotated Cores. JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), (145), e59338.
Weremijewicz, J., O’Reilly, L. D. S. L., & Janos, D. P. (2018). Arbuscular common mycorrhizal networks mediate intra-and interspecific interactions of two prairie grasses. Mycorrhiza, 28(1), 71-83.
Weremijewicz, J., Sternberg L da SL, Janos, D.P. (2016) Common mycorrhizal networks amplify competition by preferential mineral nutrient allocation to large host plants. New Phytologist. 212(2): 461-471.doi10.1111/nph.14041
Weremijewicz, J., and Janos, D.P. (2013) Common mycorrhizal networks amplify size inequality in Andropogon gerardii populations. New Phytologist. 198(1) 203-213.