Monica Fernandez-Aparicio Ruiz

Monica Fernandez-Aparicio Ruiz

AgreenSkills session, year: 2nd session, 2013

Receiving laboratory: Agroécologie Agroecology Dijon, France

Country of origin : Spain




Mobility project

Understanding the functional basis of ecosystem service delivery by cover crops

Agricultural ecosystem services are under considerable strain from declines in diversity driven by a plethora of drivers of change, including biological invasions, climate change and change in management practice. Recent research has demonstrated that networks of species interaction that provide ecosystem services may be strongly shaped by parasitic interactions that affect their stability and resilience. Understanding these mechanisms will be crucial if we are to develop agricultural management strategies to cope with future change. Broomrape is invasive, parasitic weed and extremely difficult to control chemically. The cover crop system, semis direct sous couvert, is both a model system for agricultural ecosystem services and a practical, economically important system across northern Europe. Cover plants, used in the semis direct sous couvert system, could be used to control broomrape by harnessing the ecosystem services provided by the cover plant network. It is my aim that by studying broomrape in a system of cover plants, I will develop new agro-ecological theory not only for how networks of cover plants respond to invasion by a parasitic weed but also for how we might manipulate networks to predictively engineer ecosystems to deliver multiple ecosystem services including high yield and weed and parasitic weed regulation, without resorting to chemical herbicides.

Biography & research interests

I am an agronomist with broad interest in management of diseases and weeds. Regarding weeds I have made a special focus on parasitic weed biology and control. The life cycle of these weeds incorporate extraordinary adaptations for parasitism. Parasitic seed germination is triggered by root exudates. Following host-induced germination, the parasitic seedling must rapidly undertake host root penetration and vascular connection as it has not photosynthetic competence. My research targets this vulnerable period by discovering factors that interrupt the communication with the host at the pre-attachment stage. The results of my research are reported in 56 IF articles, 4 book chapters, 50 congress presentations, and additional 18 no-IF articles. I performed my PhD thesis at IAS-CSIC & University of Cordoba, Spain. During this period I performed several scientific missions at various research institutes in Denmark, France, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia. My PhD research was mainly based on control of parasitic plants and foliar diseases based on breeding for resistance, allelopathy and biological control. The University of Córdoba (Spain) honoured me with the doctorate extraordinary award-2008. During my postdoctoral period I worked in 3 different countries, USA, Japan and France.  My work during this period also deals with parasitic plants specifically with studies of host-parasite chemical communication, molecular characterization of parasitism, and cultural and biological control.

Selected publications

* Fernández-Aparicio, M., J.C. Sillero & D. Rubiales. 2007. Intercropping with cereals reduces infection by Orobanche crenata in legumes. Crop Protection, 26: 1166-1172.

* Fernández-Aparicio M., F. Flores & D. Rubiales. 2009. Recognition of root exudates by seeds of broomrape (Orobanche and Phelipanche) species. Annals of Botany, 103: 423-431.

* Fernández-Aparicio, M., J.M. García-Garrido, J.A. Ocampo & D. Rubiales. 2010. Colonization of pea roots by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi reduces broomrape seed germination. Weed Research, 50: 262-268.

* Fernández-Aparicio M., Kisugi T, Xie X., Rubiales D, K. Yoneyama. 2014. Low strigolactone root exudation: a novel mechanism of broomrape (Orobanche and Phelipanche spp.) resistance available for faba bean breeding. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 62 :7063-7071