The clonal plant microbiota : assembly rules, heritability and influence on host phenotype

Abstract : Plants live in association with a wide diversity of microorganisms forming the microbiota. The plant microbiota provides a variety of key functions that influence many aspects of plant's life comprising establishment, growth and reproduction. The present thesis aims at determining the assembly rules of the plant microbiota and its consequences for plant phenotype, adaptation and evolution. To fulfill this objective, we used different experimental approaches using either clonal plants as model organisms or grassland mesocosms for community-wide analyses. Our results demonstrated i) that Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi induce important phenotypic variations in clonal plants traits involved in space exploration and resources exploitation. These changes depended on the identity of the symbionts and altered the plants ability to produce plastic responses to environmental heterogeneity. ii) Plants have evolved a mechanism allowing the transmission of a part of their microbiota to their progeny, ensuring thus their habitat quality. iii) The plant community context is a major factor structuring local plant microbiota assembly. Particular plant species identity in the neighborhood increase or decrease the microbiota diversity and ultimately determine the focal plant performance. This thesis overall demonstrates the importance of symbiotic microorganisms in the understanding of the plant adaptation and evolution. From the knowledges acquired we developed a novel understanding of symbiotic interactions in clonal plants by extending the holobiont theory to the meta-holobiont theory.
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Nathan Vannier. The clonal plant microbiota : assembly rules, heritability and influence on host phenotype. Agricultural sciences. Université Rennes 1, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017REN1B027⟩. ⟨tel-01751340⟩

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