Joint CEH-LEC seminar: ‘The games that mushrooms play'

Tuesday 19 March 2019, 1:00pm to 2:00pm


Training Rooms 1 & 2, Gordon Manley Building, LEC Blue Zone (LEC 3), Lancaster University - View Map

Open to

Alumni, External Organisations, Postgraduates, Staff, Undergraduates


Registration not required - just turn up

Event Details

Game theory offers a means to explore mutualistic interactions such as mycorrhizal symbioses. In game theory, players use strategies which result in benefits and may or may not have costs. In Dr Petra Guy's application the players are the plants and the mycorrhizal fungi. How will the game play out?

We decide on their strategies depending on the question we would like to answer. For example, a plant strategy might be to interact with a specialist mycorrhizal fungus or a generalist. In each case, the interaction will confer benefits and may come with costs. For example, is there a cost to the plant in differentiating between fungal species?

In this talk I will first outline the mycorrhizal symbiosis, discuss the different types of mycorrhizal fungi but with the emphasis on ectomycorrhizas since they will be the subject of my modelling. Specialism within ectomycorrhizal symbioses will then be introduced.

The second part of the talk will introduce game theory with some examples of how game theoretic models have been used to model mutualisms. Finally, I will present some questions concerning which models might be appropriate for our problem and how we might populate our game theory matrices.

Using these models, we plan to explore why some mycorrhizas and some plants are specialists and others are generalists. Since ectomycorrhizas are the dominant mycorrhizas in woodland, understanding the factors influencing their contribution is important for the success of reforestation schemes, forest management and woodland management and protection.

For more information please contact Dr Simon Smart ( in CEH Lancaster.

All students, staff and colleagues are encouraged to attend.

Join the conversation #LECSeminar!

Contact Details

Name Dr Simon Smart (CEH)