Janina Dierks
© Barbara Frommann

Jun. Prof. Dr. Janina Dierks

INRES - Sustainable Crop Production

Auf dem Hügel 6
D-53121 Bonn

Room 1.011

+49 228 73-5150


2019 – Ph.D. Environmental Systems Science (Sustainable Agroecosystems), ETH Zürich, Switzerland
2014 – M.Sc. Biology (Ecosystem Ecology), Boise State University, Idaho, U.S.A.
2011 – B.Sc. Forestry & Soil Science, Humboldt State University, California, U.S.A.

With my research I aim to work towards enhanced resilience of agroecosystems on the basis of plant-soil feedbacks, with a specific focus on the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis. During the course of my and MSc degree, I have assessed to what extent plants affect AM fungi (i.e. community structure, abundance, and functioning) and in turn, to what extent AM fungi impact plants (growth, carbon transfer, and nitrogen and phosphorus uptake) and soil functioning (decomposition, aggregation, and nutrient retention). I provided insight into the functional relationship between agroforestry trees, AM fungi, soil fertility, and maize performance, within a maize-based subsistence farming system in sub-Saharan Africa. I am particularly interested in using isotopic labeling to trace the flow of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus between AM fungi and crops within agroecosystems to learn more about the mechanisms underpinning the AM symbiosis. As a postdoc in the Agroecology Lab at UC Berkeley, I examined the effect of resident versus introduced AM fungi on tomato crop performance and response to water deficit.

With my research, I seek to harness the critical role that soil microbes and plant-soil interactions play in nutrient cycling and crop nutrition as well as crop resilience to perturbation (e.g. drought, pests). As such I endeavor to taking a holistic approach to sustainable crop production. My overarching long-term goal is to better understand how to best design and manage agroecosystems for optimized functioning and high adoption potential.

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