Jessil Ann Pajar
For my PhD project I aim to identify plant signaling mechanisms that mediate the interactions between above and belowground herbivores. Specifically, I study the interactions between and among root-knot and root-lesion nematodes belowground, a specialist aphid aboveground, and Brassica nigra as the common host plant.
A few of the questions that I want to address are as follows:
1. Do root-knot and root-lesion nematodes affect each other in a simultaneous infection?
2. How does B. nigra respond to single and simultaneous nematode infections?
3. How does B. nigra’s response to nematode infections affect aphid performance aboveground?
To answer these, I perform laboratory and greenhouse-based herbivore performance assays, gene expression analyses as well as targeted and untargeted metabolomic analyses of root- leaf- and phloem samples.