PhD Topic/Title: Fungal endophytes of carnivorous plants in the British Isles and their possible functions in host plant biology.
Fungal endophytes are plant symbionts which confer a wide variety of benefits to plant hosts including drought and temperature tolerance along with improved plant defence. Carnivorous plants attract, catch, and digest prey and assimilate the nutrients into their tissues. Fungal endophytes have been identified in various carnivorous plant species but whether they contribute directly to their hosts carnivorous lifestyle is currently unknown. Fungal Endophytes have been a source of many novel compounds such as antibiotics and anticancer drugs. Brandon’s PhD-research aims to identify whether carnivorous plants contain unique fungal endophyte species through eDNA and culturing approaches and explore whether these fungi have antimicrobial properties and aid in plant carnivory.