Leigh-Anne Kemp

Name: Leigh-Anne Kemp

Project title: The role of soil fertility in the function of mycorrhizal associations.

Where based: The James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie

Contact links:




As an undergraduate I studied BSc Hons Geography and Environmental Science at Dundee University. I undertook an internship over a summer at The James Hutton Institute assisting with projects focusing on how Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi improve plant tolerances to abiotic and parasitic stresses. I developed a keen interest in climate change induced plant – soil interactions, focusing on mycorrhizal associations. My dissertation project looked at how plant – AM fungi associations tolerate multiply abiotic stresses. Following on from this I decided to study a PhD which allows me to expand upon and develop my interests while tying in other soil science.

Project description:

Most plant species form mutualistic associations with soil-borne mycorrhiza. Host plants provide carbon to the fungi, in return for improved ability to forage and uptake organic and inorganic nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Much less is known about the role mycorrhiza play in soil carbon dynamics. It is not fully understood how a soil fertility gradient might change whether mycorrhiza store or release carbon.

During this project I plan to compare the differences between how arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and ectomycorrhizal fungi react to changes in nutrient availability in soil and how this impacts plant – mycorrhiza relationships and soil carbon priming.