• Telefoon:+31 20 59 87074
  • Kamernr:h-120
  • E-mail:toby.kiers@vu.nl
  • Onderdeel:faculteit der aard- en levenswetenschappen (subafdeling dierecologie)
  • Functie:Scientific Staff

Research interests

My research investigates how cooperation between species (mutualism) evolves and persists. Why do partners provide services to a host at a cost to themselves? My experimental approach utilizes physiological manipulations to force individuals to 'cheat' - I then monitor partner response to evaluate if (and how) punishment is enacted.

Using this approach, we can study cooperation in diverse systems, including the legume-rhizobia symbiosis and the mycorrhizal symbiosis. 

Current research is exploring the feasibility of extending conclusions derived from laboratory manipulations to other mutualistic systems in the field, such as obligate-pollination mutualisms and ant-plant mutualisms. 

More generally, I am interested in understanding how mutualisms are responding to a rapidly changing world. My ultimate aim is to link environmental changes with the evolutionary dynamics of these widespread partnerships

For Kiers lab website see: http://tobykiers.com/

Selected Publications

Kiers, E.T., M. Duhamel, Y. Beesetty, J.A. Mensah, O. Franken, E. Verbruggen, C.R. Felbaum, G.A. Kowalchuk, M.M. Hart, A. Bago, T.M. Palmer, S.A. West, Ph. Vandenkoornhuyse, J. Jansa and H. Bücking (2011). Reciprocal rewards stabilize cooperation in the mycorrhizal symbiosis. Science 333: 880-882.

Denison, R.F. and E.T. Kiers (2011). Life histories of symbiotic rhizobia and mycorrhizal fungi. Current Biology 21: 775-785.

Kiers, E.T., Palmer, T.M., Ives, A.I., Bruno, J. & Bronstein, J.L. (2010). Mutualisms in a changing world: an evolutionary perspective. Ecology Letters: 13, 1459-1474

Kiers E.T., Leakey R.R.B., Izac A.M., Heinemann J.A., Rosenthal E., Nathan D. & Jiggins J. (2008). Agriculture at a crossroads. Science: 320, 320-321.

Kiers, E.T., Rousseau, R.A., West, S.A. & Denison, R.F. (2003). Host sanctions and the legume rhizobium mutualism. Nature: 425, 78-81.

Research project:

Mutualism Evolution
We use experimental evolution and phylogenic analysis to identify how mutualisms respond to radical changes in their environment. Our aim is to identify the evolutionary selection pressures that shape symbiont communities and ultimately to identify approaches to conserve mutualisms in the face of environmental change.

Mechanisms stabilizing cooperation
Cooperate or defect? We use theory and empirical work to identify factors, such as punishment and reciprocal trade, that help stabilize cooperation among species. Model systems include plant-microbe mutualisms (Global), pollination mutualisms (Japan), and ant-plant mutualisms (Kenya).

Agricultural development
We are interested in the accessibility and conservation of plant and microbial genetic resources, and strategies to promote innovation in farming systems. We ask how can evolutionary theory be applied to agricultural systems using a 'Darwinian Agriculture' framework.

Toby Kiers-Picture 1-project 

© Copyright Dana Hamers



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Laatste wijzigingen Nevenwerkzaamheden: Amsterdam, 15 december 2014
© Copyright Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam