Ksenia Karbysheva, a postgraduate student at the Biological Institute of TSU, is one of two Russian participants who will compete in the tripartite Science Slam in Berlin. This scientific battle of researchers from Russia, Germany, and the United States on June 19 will be the final stage of the annual German-Russian forum aimed at developing scientific and technical ties between the countries.
The young scientist won the right to represent Russia in the Science Slam by her victory in an Internet contest conducted by the German side. In Berlin, this TSU biologist will present the results of scientific work on the conservation of Siberian forests.
- Germany is very careful about its natural resources, and apparently, that's why the organizers were very interested in my area of research, - says Ksenia Karbysheva. - My presentation at the Science Slam will be devoted to ectomycorrhiza - plant-fungal symbiosis. Underground, between the mushrooms and trees, there is complex interaction, and some species of fungi can survive only in alliance with trees. In European countries, these processes are actively studied, but there is very little data on the Siberian cedar and its symbionts.
The young scientist of BI TSU decided to fill this gap, since Siberian cedar is one of the most significant species of forest ecosystems in Russia, with high economic value and great ecological significance. She studies mushrooms, with which the Siberian cedar co-exists especially willingly, and explains the patterns of their interaction. Such research is valuable also to understand the principles of the functioning of different parts of forest ecosystems and the reasons for the disappearance of some species and the appearance of others.
As Ksenia Karbysheva notes, the Siberian forests are still poorly understood. They store many secrets, but those who want to open them need to hurry because the taiga in Russia is shrinking. According to official data, from 2000 to 2013 the area of intact forests in the Russian Federation has decreased by seven percent.
Scientists are looking for new approaches to solving this problem. For example, with new knowledge of the symbiosis of fungi and conifers obtained through research, it will be possible to create effective and ecologically safe biotechnologies for the restoration of the taiga.