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Monica Fernandez-Aparicio Ruiz

Monica Fernandez-Aparicio Ruiz

session, year:
2013 2nd

Former fellow

Receiving laboratory:
Agroecology, Dijon

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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 dedicated my career to plant-pathogens with emphasis in biology and control of parasitic weeds. My work addresses the biology of crop invasion i.e.parasitic germination and haustorium initiation. Regarding their control, I am developing alternatives to conventional management leading to cropping systems inherently less susceptible to weed parasitism. I performed PhD at CSIC. The impact of this pre-doctoral period yielded 25 SCI articles, obtaining a Ph.D. extraordinary award. I joined the Parasitic Plant Genome Project (USA) funded by a fellowship of the Spanish Ministry of Education followed by a Marie Curie fellowship. This stay resulted in progress in the understanding of mechanisms through which plants acquired competence for plant-parasitism. After this period, I obtained financial support from Japan Society for Promotion of Science. During this period I studied control mechanisms based on low stimulation of parasitic germination and allelopathic interference. In 2014, I joined the Agroecology team at INRA-Dijon, France funded by AgreenSkills. From my activity in this department a proposal entitled “Amino Acid as Orobanchicicides. An Innovative Approach to Biocontrol Orobanche Weeds” was funded by SPE Division. The results are reported in many papers. I edited the Research Topic ‘Advances in Parasitic Weed Research’ in Frontiers.

Selected publications

Fernández-Aparicio, M, Bernard, A., Falchetto, et al., 2017. Investigation of Amino Acids As Herbicides for Control of Orobanche minor Parasitism in Red Clover. Frontiers In Plant Science, 8, 842. Doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.00842.

Fernández-Aparicio, M., Flores, F., Rubiales, D, 2016. The Effect of Orobanche crenata Infection Severity in Faba Bean, Field Pea, and Grass Pea Productivity. Frontiers In Plant Science, 7, 1409. Doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.01409.

Fernández-Aparicio, M., Reboud, X., Gibot-Leclerc, S, 2016. Broomrape Weeds. Underground Mechanisms of Parasitism and Associated Strategies for their Control: A Review. Frontiers In Plant Science, 7, 135. Doi: 10.3389/ fpls.2016.00135.

Yang, ZZ., Wafula, EK., Honaas, LA., Zhang, HT., Das, M., Fernandez-Aparicio, M., et al., 2015. Comparative Transcriptome Analyses Reveal Core Parasitism Genes and Suggest Gene Duplication and Repurposing as Sources of Structural Novelty. Molecular Biology & Evolution, 32 (3), 767-790.


Biodiversity, allelopathy, agroecological production, plant-insect interactions, host plant-parasitic plant interactions, weed dynamics, molecular ecology, design of management strategies