Professor Ian Anderson

Ian AndersonProfessor Ian Anderson is the Director of the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment. His research interests centre on the molecular ecology of soil microorganisms and he has particular interest in soil fungi, including those that form symbiotic mycorrhizal associations with the roots of plants.

A significant portion of his current research is investigating the effect of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and climate change on the structure and activity of eucalypt forest soil microbial communities, with a view to understanding their potential role in increasing soil carbon sequestration. This research is primarily funded through a prestigious Life Sciences Research Award from the NSW Office for Science and Medical Research.

Tree Root, 3D Render IllustrationIan is a key collaborator on the development of innovative approaches, based on fluorescent in-situ hybridisation (FISH) and laser microdissection microscopy, to determine the nature of the interaction between basidiomycete fungi and roots of Australian Ericaceae.

This research uses a state-of-the-art PALM laser microdissection microscope facility established within the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment for microbial and plant sciences research.

He continues to work closely with his former colleagues at both The James Hutton Institute (formerly The Macaulay Institute) and Aberdeen University in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Areas of Research / Teaching Expertise

Plant-microbe interactions; microbial ecology; molecular ecology

Toadstool  Mushroom

Awards and Recognition

  • Awarded Research Fellowship by the International Bureau of the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), 2010.
  • Awarded Australian Academy of Science – International Science Linkages award, 2010.
  • Profiled in The (Sydney) Magazine, The Sydney Morning Herald – People to Watch 2010. Issue #82, February 2010.
  • Awarded ProSPER.Net-Scopus 2009 Asia Pacific Young Scientist of the Year in the area of agriculture and natural resources. He was presented with the award at the ProSPER.Net-Scopus Symposium entitled "Sustainable Development: Emerging Issues and New Leaders" at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok on 3 June, 2009.
  • Awarded NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award for his excellence in research achievements and passion for communicating science. Ian will be a role model for high school students who are thinking seriously about their senior subject choices, their tertiary education and future careers. Benefactor: the Australian Institute for Policy and Science, 2008.
  • Editorial Board Member FEMS Microbiology Ecology.
  • Member British Mycological Society.
  • Regular reviewer for numerous international journals including New Phytologist, Mycorrhiza, Plant and Soil, Global Change Biology, Environmental Microbiology, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Mycological Research and Ecology Letters.
  • Regular reviewer of grant proposals to numerous international agencies including the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), UK, the European Union (EU), National Science Foundation (NSF), USA, and Israel Science Foundation (ISF).

Grants / Current Projects

Carbon storage: Identifying microbial drivers and key modulators in grain cropping systems
Co-researchers: Brajesh Singh and Ian Anderson
Partner/Funding Body: Grains Research and Development Corporation (ACRG)
Period: 2012-2014

Cotton Adapting To Climate 
Co-Researchers: Dr Jeff Powell, Professor John Cairney, Professor Matthias Rillig
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council, Discovery Grant
Period: 2013-2015 

Switching partners: a driving force for tree productivity in a changing environment?
Co-Researchers: Dr Jeff Powell, Professor Matthias Rillig
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council, Discovery Grant
Period: 2013-2015

Synthetic natural gas and biochar from biomass for energy services in remote communities and soil carbon sequestration
Co-Researchers: Professor Dongke Zhang, Professor Zhihong Xu, Professor John Cairney, Dr Chengrong Chen, A/Professor Hong Yang, Professor Vishnu K Pareek
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council, Linkage Grant
Period: 2010-2015

The Hawkesbury Forest Experiment: providing the missing information for decision support system
Co-Researchers: Professor M Adams, Associate Associate Professor O Atkin, Doctor C Barton, Professor J Cairney, Professor D Eamus, Professor S Linder, Doctor B Medlyn, Doctor M Riegler, Doctor B Singh
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council, Linkage Grant
Period: 2010-2011

New insights into the eucalypt: Pisolithus symbiosis via bioinformatics analysis of transcriptomic and genomic data
Partner/Funding Body: Office for Science & Medical Research: Life Sciences Research Award
Period: 2010-2011

Plant : fungal symbioses in Australian forests - new perspectives using laser microdissection
Co-Researchers: Professor John Cairney
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council, Discovery Grant
Period: 2010-2013

How will different mycorrhizal fungal species respond to climate change?
Co-Researchers: Professor John Cairney
Partner/Funding Body: University of Western Sydney International Research Initiatives Scheme
Period: 2009-2010

Climate change impacts on carbon sequestration in Australian forests: the role of soil microbial diversity
Partner/Funding Body: Office for Science & Medical Research: Life Sciences Research Award
Period: 2008-2012

Future climate change: consequences for decomposition and pathways of carbon flow through rhizosphere fungal communities
Co-Researchers: Professor John Cairney, Dr Zhihong Xu, Dr Colin Campbell
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council, Linkage International Grant
Period: 2008-2011

Selected Publications

Young sprout on a black background

Book Chapters

Pickles BJ, Genney DR, Anderson IC, Alexander IJ, (2009) Spatial ecology of ectomycorrhizas: analytical strategies, in Mycorrhizas in Functional Processes and Ecological Impact (Eds. C Azcon-Aguilar, JM Barea, S Gianinazzi & V Gianinazzi-Pearson), Springer, Berlin, pp 155-165

Anderson IC (2006) Molecular ecology of ectomycorrhizal fungal communities: new frontiers, in Molecular Approaches to Soil, Rhizosphere and Plant Microorganism Analysis (Eds. JE Cooper & JR Rao), CABI, Wallingford, UK, pp 183-197

Journal Articles

Beck S, Powell JR, Drigo B, Cairney JWG, Anderson IC, (2015) 'The role of stochasticity differs in the assembly of soil- and root-associated fungal communities', Soil Biology and Biochemistry,vol.80, pp 18-25

Aguilar-Trigueros CA, Powell JR, Anderson IC, Antonovics J, Rillig MC, (2014) 'Ecological understanding of root-infecting fungi using trait-based approaches', Trends in Plant Science, vol.19, no.7, pp 432-437

Anderson IC, Genney DR, Alexander IJ, (2014) 'Fine-scale diversity and distribution of ectomycorrhizal fungal mycelium in a Scots pine forest', New Phytologist, vol.201, no.4, pp 1423-1430

Curlevski NJA, Drigo B, Cairney JWG, Anderson IC, (2014) 'Influence of elevated atmospheric CO2 and water availability on soil fungal communities under Eucalyptus saligna', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.70, pp 263-271

Anderson, IC (2013) 'Prof. John William Gibson Cairney, 1959-2012 Obituary', New Phytologist, vol.197, no.3, pp 694-695

Anderson IC, Drigo B, Keniry K, Ghannoum O, Chambers SM, Tissue DT, Cairney JW, (2013) 'Interactive effects of preindustrial, current and future atmospheric CO2 concentrations and temperature on soil fungi associated with two Eucalyptus species', FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol.83, no.2, pp 425-437

Powell JR, Anderson IC, Rillig MC, (2013) 'A new tool of the trade: plant-trait based approaches in microbial ecology', Plant and Soil, vol.365, no.s 1-2, pp 35-40

Trivedi P, Anderson IC, Singh BK, (2013) 'Microbial modulators of soil carbon storage: integrating genomic and metabolic knowledge for global prediction', Trends in Microbiology, vol.21, no.12, pp 641-651

Verbruggen E, Veresoglou SD, Anderson IC, Caruso T, Hammer EC, Kohler J, Rillig MC, (2013) 'Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi - short-term liability but long-term benefits for soil carbon storage?', New Phytologist, vol.197, no.2, pp 366-368

Drigo B, Anderson IC, Kannangara GSK, Cairney JWG, Johnson D, (2012) 'Rapid incorporation of carbon from ectomycorrhizal mycelial necromass into soil fungal communities', Soil Biology & Biochemistry, vol.49, pp 4-10

Johnson D, Martin F, Cairney JWG, Anderson IC, (2012) 'The importance of individuals: Intraspecific diversity of mycorrhizal plants and fungi in ecosystems', New Phytologist, vol.194, no.3, pp 614-628

Pickles BJ, Genney DR, Anderson IC, Alexander IJ, (2012) 'Spatial analysis of ectomycorrhizal fungi reveals that root tip communities are structured by competitive interactions', Molecular Ecology, vol.21, no.20, pp 5110-5123

Van der Linde S, Holden E, Parkin PI, Alexander IJ, Anderson IC, (2012) 'Now you see it, now you don't: The challenge of detecting, monitoring and conserving ectomycorrhizal fungi', Fungal Ecology, vol.5, no.5, pp 633-640

Villarreal-Ruiz L, Neri-Luna C, Anderson IC, Alexander IJ, (2012) 'In vitro interactions between ectomycorrhizal fungi and ericaceous plants', Symbiosis, vol.56, no.2, pp 67-75

Curlevski NJA, Artz RRE, Anderson IC, Cairney JWG, (2011) 'Response of soil microbial communities to management strategies for enhancing Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) establishment on heather (Calluna vulgaris) moorland', Plant and Soil, vol.339, pp 413-424

Macdonald CA, Anderson IC, Bardgett RD, Singh BK, (2011) 'Role of nitrogen in carbon mitigation in forest ecosystems', Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, vol.3, no.5, pp 303-310

Curlevski NJA, Xu ZH, Anderson IC, Cairney JWG, (2010) 'Converting Australian tropical rainforest to native Araucariaceae plantations alters soil fungal communities' Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.42, no.1, pp 14-20

Curlevski NJA, Xu Z, Anderson IC, Cairney JWG, (2010) 'Soil fungal communities differ in native mixed forest and adjacent Araucaria cunninghamii plantations in subtropical Australia', Journal of Soils and Sediments, vol.10, pp 1278-1288

Curlevski NJA, Xu Z, Anderson IC, Cairney JWG, (2010) 'Diversity of soil and rhizosphere fungi under Araucaria bidwillii (Bunya pine) at an Australian tropical montane rainforest site', Fungal Diversity, vol.40, pp 12-22

Grelet G-A, Johnson DJ, Vrålstad T, Alexander IJ, Anderson IC, (2010) 'New insights into the mycorrhizal Rhizoscyphus ericae aggregate: spatial structure and co-colonisation of ectomycorrhizal and ericoid roots', New Phytologist, vol.188, pp 210-222

Johnson D, Anderson IC, Williams A, Whitlock R, Gime JP, (2010) 'Plant genotypic diversity does not beget root-fungal species diversity', Plant and Soil, vol.336, pp 107-111

Pickles BJ, Genney DR, Potts J, Lennon J, Anderson IC, Alexander IJ, (2010) 'Spatial and temporal ecology of Scots pine ectomycorrhizas', New Phytologist, vol.186, pp 755-768

van der Linde S, Alexander IJ, Anderson IC, (2010) 'Do stipitate hydnoid fungi have the ability to colonise new native pine forest?', Fungal Ecology, vol.3, pp 89-93

Artz RRE, Reid E, Anderson IC, Campbell CD,  Cairney JWG, (2009) 'Long term repeated prescribed burning lowers laccase activity yet increases fungal laccase diversity in forest soils', FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol.67, pp 397-410

Bastias BA, Anderson IC, Rangel-Castro JI, Parkin PI, Prosser JI, Cairney JWG, (2009) 'Influence of repeated prescribed burning on incorporation of 13C from cellulose by forest soil fungi as determined by RNA stable isotope probing', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.41, no.3, pp 467-472

Curlevski NJA, Chambers SM, Anderson IC, Cairney JWG, (2009) 'Identical genotypes of an ericoid mycorrhiza-forming fungus occur in roots of Epacris pulchella (Ericaceae) and Leptospermum polygalifolium (Myrtaceae) in an Australian sclerophyll forest', FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol.67, no.3, pp 411-420

Grelet G-A, Johnson DJ, Paterson E, Anderson IC,  Alexander IJ, (2009) 'Reciprocal carbon and nitrogen transfer between an ericaceous dwarf shrub and fungi isolated from Piceirhiza bicolorata ectomycorrhizas', New Phytologist, vol.182, pp 359-366

Grelet G-A, Meharg AA, Duff EI, Anderson IC, Alexander IJ, (2009) 'Small genetic variation between ericoid mycorrhizal symbionts matters for Vaccinium N uptake', New Phytologist, vol.181, pp 708-718

Pickles BJ, Genney DR, Anderson IC, Alexander IJ, (2009) 'Spatial ecology of ectomycorrhizas: analytical strategies', in Mycorrhizas, Functional Processes and Ecological Impact, (Eds) Azcon-Aguilar C, Barea JM, Gianinazzi S, Gianinazzi-Pearson V, Springer, Berlin, pp 155-165

Robinson CH, Szaro TM, Izzo AD, Anderson IC, Parkin PI, Bruns TD, (2009) 'Spatial distribution of fungal communities in a coastal grassland soil', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol. 41, pp 414-416

van der Linde S, Alexander IJ, Anderson IC, (2009) 'Spatial distribution of sporocarps of stipitate hydnoid fungi and their belowground mycelium', FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol.69, no.3, pp 344-352

Anderson IC, Parkin PI, Campbell CD, (2008) 'DNA- and RNA-derived assessments of fungal community composition in soil amended with sewage sludge rich in cadmium, copper and zinc', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.40, no.9, pp 2358-2365

Izumi H, Anderson IC, Killham K, Moore ERB, (2008) 'Diversity of predominant endophytic bacteria in European deciduous and coniferous trees', Canadian Journal of Microbiology, Vol.54, no.3, pp 173-179

Izumi H, Cairney JWG, Killham K, Moore E, Alexander IJ, Anderson IC, (2008) 'Bacteria associated with ectomycorrhizas of slash pine (Pinus elliottii) in south-eastern Queensland, Australia', FEMS Microbiology Letters, vol.282, no.2, pp 196-204

van der Linde S, Alexander I, Anderson IC, (2008) 'A PCR-based method for detecting the mycelia of stipitate hydnoid fungi in soil', Journal Of Microbiological Methods, vol.75, no.1, pp 40-46

Wilson MJ, Certini G, Campbell CD, Anderson IC, Hillier S, (2008) 'Does the preferential microbial colonisation of ferromagnesian minerals affect mineral weathering in soil?', Naturwissenschaften, vol.95, no.9, pp 851-858

Anderson IC, Bastias BA, Genney DR, Parkin PI, Cairney JWG, (2007) 'Basidiomycete fungal communities in Australian sclerophyll forest soil are altered by repeated prescribed burning', Mycological Research, vol.111, no.21, pp 482-486

Anderson IC, Cairney JWG, (2007) 'Ectomycorrhizal fungi: exploring the mycelial frontier', FEMS Microbiology Reviews, vol.31, no.4, pp 388-406

Anderson IC, Parkin PI, (2007) 'Detection of active soil fungi by RT-PCR amplification of precursor rRNA molecules', Journal of Microbiological Methods, vol.68, no.2, pp 248-253

Artz RRE, Anderson IC, Chapman SJ, Hagn A, Schloter M, Potts JM, Campbell CD, (2007) 'Changes in fungal community composition in response to vegetational succession during the natural regeneration of cutover peatlands', Microbial Ecology, vol.54, no.3, pp 508-522

Bastias BA, Anderson IC, Xu ZH, Cairney JWG, (2007) 'RNA- and DNA-based profiling of soil fungal communities in a native Australian eucalypt forest and adjacent Pinus elliotti plantation', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.39, no.12, pp 3108-3114

Bougoure DS, Parkin PI, Cairney JWG, Alexander IJ, Anderson IC, (2007) 'Diversity of fungi in hair roots of Ericaceae varies along a vegetation gradient', Molecular Ecology, vol.16, no.21, pp 4624-4636

Fransson PMA, Anderson IC, Alexander IJ, (2007) 'Ectomycorrhizal fungi in culture respond differently to increased carbon availability', FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol.61, no.2, pp 246-257

Fransson PMA, Anderson IC, Alexander IJ, (2007) 'Does carbon partitioning in ectomycorrhizal pine seedlings under elevated CO2 vary with fungal species?', Plant and Soil, vol.291, no.s 1-2, pp 323-333

Izumi H, Moore ERB, Killham K, Alexander IJ, Anderson IC, (2007) 'Characterisation of endobacterial communities in ectomycorrhizas by DNA and RNA based molecular methods', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.39, pp 891-899

Saari TA, Saari SK, Campbell CD, Alexander IJ, Anderson IC, (2007) 'FragMatch – a program for the analysis of DNA fragment data', Mycorrhiza, vol.17, no.2, pp 133-136

Genney DR, Anderson IC, Alexander IJ, (2006) 'Fine scale distribution of pine ectomycorrhizas and their extramatrical mycelium', New Phytologist, vol.170, no.2, pp 381-390

Izumi H, Anderson IC, Alexander IJ, Killham K, Moore ERB, (2006) 'Diversity and expression of nitrogenase genes (nifH) associated with ectomycorrhizas of Corsican pine (Pinus nigra)', Environmental Microbiology, vol.8, no.12, pp 2224-2230

Izumi H, Anderson IC, Alexander IJ, Killham K, Moore ERB, (2006) 'Endobacteria in some ectomycorrhiza of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris)', FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol.56, no.1, pp 34-43

Singh BK, Nazaries L, Munro S, Anderson IC, Campbell CD, (2006) 'Multiplex-terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism for rapid and simultaneous analysis of different components of the soil microbial community', Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol.72, no.11, pp 7278-7285

EucalyptusJohnson D, Ijdo M, Genney DR, Anderson IC, Alexander IJ, (2005) 'How do plants regulate the function, community structure and diversity of mycorrhizal fungi?', Journal of Experimental Botany, vol.56, no.417, pp 1751-1760

Rangel-Castro JI, Killham K, Ostle N, Nicol GW, Anderson IC, Scrimgeour CM, Ineson P, Meharg A, Prosser JI, (2005) 'Stable isotope probing analysis of the influence of liming on root exudate utilization by soil microorganisms', Environmental Microbiology, vol.7, no.6, 828-838

Saari SK, Campbell CD, Russell J, Alexander IJ, Anderson IC, (2005) 'Pine microsatellite markers allow roots and ectomycorrhizas to be linked to individual trees', New Phytologist, vol.165, no.1, pp 295-304

Anderson I, Cairney J, (2004) 'Diversity and ecology of soil fungal communities: increased understanding through the application of molecular techniques', Environmental Microbiology, vol.6, no.8, no.8, pp 769-779

Villarreal-Ruiz L, Anderson IC, Alexander IJ, (2004) 'The interaction between an isolate from the Hymenoscyphus ericae aggregate and roots of Pinus and Vaccinium', New Phytologist, vol.164, no.1, pp 183-192

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Eucalyptus Leaf