Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Reader in Molecular Ecology



+44 (0)20 8332 5332m.bidartondo Website




Jodrell Gate, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, TW9 3DS





Division of Biology & The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Research Interests

Martin works on the ecology and evolution of mycorrhizas, one of the dominant symbioses of terrestrial ecosystems.  The systems that he has studied include arbuscular, ectomycorrhizal, monotropoid and orchid mycorrhizas, and mycorrhiza-like associations of bryophytes.

Following his ground-breaking research on the evolutionary ecology of the diverse plants that cheat mycorrhizal mutualisms, his team has investigated:  1) the mycorrhizal ecology of heathlands first revealing the mechanisms of tree invasions and then uncovering nutritional links among vascular plants, fungi and non-vascular plants, 2) the environmental drivers of forest mycorrhizas at large scales, revealing the impacts of nitrogen pollution across European forests in collaboration with ICP Forests, and 3) the ecology and evolution of their newly discovered, yet ancient and globally-widespread, symbioses between lineages of plants and fungi.

Academic History:

Ph.D. 2001, University of California at Berkeley
B.S. 1996, University of Alaska at Fairbanks

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Merckx VSFT, Gomes SIF, Wapstra M, et al., The biogeographical history of the interaction between mycoheterotrophic Thismia (Thismiaceae) plants and mycorrhizal Rhizophagus (Glomeraceae) fungi, Journal of Biogeography, ISSN:1365-2699

Kowal J, Pressel S, Duckett JG, et al., 2016, Liverworts to the rescue: an investigation of their efficacy as mycorrhizal inoculum for vascular plants, Functional Ecology, Vol:30, ISSN:0269-8463, Pages:1014-1023

Spake R, van der Linde S, Newton AC, et al., 2016, Similar biodiversity of ectomycorrhizal fungi in set-aside plantations and ancient old-growth broadleaved forests, Biological Conservation, Vol:194, ISSN:0006-3207, Pages:71-79

Suz LM, Barsoum N, Benham S, et al., 2015, Monitoring ectomycorrhizal fungi at large scales for science, forest management, fungal conservation and environmental policy, Annals of Forest Science, Vol:72, ISSN:1286-4560, Pages:877-885

Field KJ, Pressel S, Duckett JG, et al., 2015, Symbiotic options for the conquest of land, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Vol:30, ISSN:0169-5347, Pages:477-486

Rimington WR, Pressel S, Duckett JG, et al., 2015, Fungal associations of basal vascular plants: reopening a closed book?, New Phytologist, Vol:205, ISSN:0028-646X, Pages:1394-1398

Suz LM, Barsoum N, Benham S, et al., 2014, Environmental drivers of ectomycorrhizal communities in Europe's temperate oak forests, Molecular Ecology, ISSN:1365-294X

Desiro A, Duckett JG, Pressel S, et al., 2013, Fungal symbioses in hornworts: a chequered history, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:280, ISSN:0962-8452

Bidartondo MI, Read DJ, Trappe JM, et al., 2011, The dawn of symbiosis between plants and fungi, Biology Letters, Vol:7, ISSN:1744-9561, Pages:574-577

Cox F, Barsoum N, Lilleskov EA, et al., 2010, Nitrogen availability is a primary determinant of conifer mycorrhizas across complex environmental gradients, Ecology Letters, Vol:13, ISSN:1461-023X, Pages:1103-1113

Collier FA, Bidartondo MI, 2009, Waiting for fungi: the ectomycorrhizal invasion of lowland heathlands, Journal of Ecology, Vol:97, ISSN:0022-0477, Pages:950-963

Bidartondo MI, Read DJ, 2008, Fungal specificity bottlenecks during orchid germination and development, Molecular Ecology, Vol:17, ISSN:0962-1083, Pages:3707-3716

Merckx V, Bidartondo MI, 2008, Breakdown and delayed cospeciation in the arbuscular mycorrhizal mutualism, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:275, ISSN:0962-8452, Pages:1029-1035

Bidartondo MI, Bruns TD, Blackwell M, et al., 2008, Preserving accuracy in GenBank, Science, Vol:319, ISSN:0036-8075, Pages:1616-1616

Bidartondo MI, 2005, The evolutionary ecology of myco-heterotrophy, New Phytologist, Vol:167, ISSN:0028-646X, Pages:335-352

More Publications