Dr T. M . (Martijn) Bezemer (17 May 1971) has received a Innovational Research Incentive grant (VIDI) from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (VWO) to study aboveground and belowground multitrophic interactions in natural ecosystems.
The Innovational Research Incentives Scheme is directed at individual researchers at various stages of their careers. The aim of the scheme is to promote innovation in academic research. It gives creative and talented researchers the opportunity to conduct their own research and so gain entry to or promotion within institutions conducting academic research in The Netherlands. Vidi grants are targeted at researchers who have completed their doctorates and already spent some years conducting post-doctoral research, thereby demonstrating the ability to generate new ideas and bring them independently to fruition. They will be given the opportunity to develop their own innovative lines of research and themselves to appoint one or more researchers to assist them in the task.
Project summary: Recently, ecologists have become aware that, despite being separated in space, aboveground and belowground organisms can influence each other via changes in plant quality and plant defense compounds. Most aboveground-belowground studies have been with individuals of root and shoot associated organisms and isolated plants. In nature, however, plants are associated with multitrophic communities, but how aboveground – belowground interactions are expressed under natural conditions is not known. Moreover, in natural conditions plants usually coexist in mixed plant communities and interactions between plants and multitrophic communities are also influenced by interactions that occur on other plants. My aim is to elucidate to what extent aboveground and belowground communities associated to individual plants are influenced by host plant quality and by the surrounding multitrophic community.