Plants play a central role in the sustainability of life on earth. Their function is strongly influenced by their intimate interaction with deleterious and beneficial organisms, including microbes and insects. Recently, traditional barriers between the fields of plant-microbe and plant-insect interactions have been breached, demonstrating that plant-microbe-insect interactions have far reaching consequences for the functioning and evolution of the organisms involved.

The aim of this group is to bring together molecular and ecological researchers from this emerging field. The objective is to give impetus to research on ecological and evolutionary implications of such three-way interactions, building on recent advances in unravelling the molecular basis of plant responses to both microbes and insects. The linking of scales from the cellular to the community level is a key goal of the group: this will provide an innovative, interdisciplinary and vital step to increase our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning plant-insect-microbe interactions. We aim to discuss the major progresses in the field of plant-microbe-insect research, to train a critical mass of qualified researchers, enhancing future human resources, and to analyse the impact of this integrative approach on sustainable agriculture and environmental protection.

Several members of the group contributed to a Special Feature on Plant-Microbe-Insect interactions published in Functional Ecology in June 2013. Read more.