Coming from different backgrounds, including mycology, plant pathology, forestry, and evolutionary biology, our lab members share a mutual interest in the microorganisms, especially fungi, associated with plants.
Plant-fungal symbioses are common in nature. However, these symbiotic relationships could be dynamic, ranging from mutualistic, commensal, to parasitic. The outcomes of these interactions are often based on the communication and benefits exchanged between the plant host and the associated fungi. The plant-fungal interactions not only determine the mycobiome (i.e. fungal communities) of plants, the long-term co-evolution between them also shape the biodiversity of both plant and fungi. Plant and fungi together play critical roles in global nutrient cycling and ecosystem functioning. Therefore, understanding plant-fungal interaction is fundamental for us to prepare for the ever-changing environment.
We use integrated approaches to study plant-microbial association. In particular, we implement next-generation sequencing (i.e. amplicon sequencing, metagenomics, metatranscriptomics) in combination with bioassay experiments, as well as data collected from phenotypes and environmental variables. With this information, we aim to understand the following questions in the forest and agricultural systems in Taiwan or nearby regions.
-Community Ecology: How do plant diversity and distribution shape the associated microbial community?
-Functional Ecology: What are the functionalities of different microbial assemblies in association with plants? What are the environmental factors that influence microbial functionalities?
-Fungal systematics: Are there fungal diversity hidden in association with plants, if so, how are they related to other lineages of fungi evolutionarily?
Current projects in the lab involve:
1) Bryophytes associated microorganisms in the cloud forest
2) Fern mycorrhiza
3) Floral microbiome
For more information, please visit: https://kohsuanchen.wixsite.com/fungi/
We welcome people with different research backgrounds (e.g. computational biology, botany, soil biology etc.) to join us. We are routinely looking for undergraduate interns and PhD students through the Summer Intern and TIGP programs.