Terrestrial Research on Ecosystems & World-wide Education & Broadcast || An Innovative Graduate Training Program

Amanda Asay

 Name: Amanda Asay          Degree:  PhD Candidate


Born and raised in beautiful British Columbia, I have always enjoyed the great outdoors and the activities it provides, such as hiking and camping. After 4 years on the east coast, where I received a Bachelor of Science in Biology at Brown University in Providence, RI, I have returned to study interior Douglas-fir in the forests of BC which I grew up with.

Currently a PhD student with Dr. Suzanne Simard, I previously completed a Master of Science under her supervision in the fall of 2013. My scientific interests, during my time at UBC’s Faculty of Forestry, in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, have been focused on kin recognition/selection in interior Douglas-fir and the role mycorrhizal networks play in that interaction. A mycorrhizal network is a series of below-ground mutualistic connections via fungal hyphae and root systems of a plant community. The role of mycorrhizal association are wide reaching including resource acquisition and sharing as well as acting as signalling pathways, potentially for individual (genetic) recognition between individual plants which is where my research focuses. In this context, kin recognition/selection is the ability to detect and respond to the genetic identity of neighbouring trees. If the differential behaviour that results could be interpreted as beneficial to the related individuals as a group, it may be considered kin selection. I hope to provide some original results in this new and exciting field of forest ecology.

TerreWEB has also given me the opportunity to expand my interests into the science communication sector. In the fall of 2014 I was provided the opportunity to travel to Vilnius, Lithuania (photographed above) for an internship. There I worked with Benjamin River Productions on a documentary film, Intelligent Forest, currently in production. The film will include some of the new research in the field of plant communication and be presented as an immersive experience in a full dome venue. I was able to gain some experience as a consultant on the concepts relating to the science being portrayed and was introduced to the process of story building and other aspects that go into the production of a documentary film.

Thesis Topic:

Kin recognition/selection in interior Douglas-fir and the role mycorrhizal networks play in that interaction


Dr. Suzanne Simard


Asay AK, Pickles BJ, Dudley SA, Aitken SN, Durall DM, Simard SW. (2016) Evidence of kin recognition in conifers and the role of mycorrhizal networks (submitted).

Gorzelak MA, Asay AK, Pickles BJ, Simard SW. 2015. Inter-plant communication through mycorrhizal networks mediates complex adaptive behaviour in plant communities. AoB PLANTS 7: plv050–.

Pickles BJ, Wilhelm R., Asay AK., Hahn A., Simard SW, Mohn W. (2015) Mycorrhizae dominate belowground carbon assimilation and transfer among Douglas-fir seedlings. The ISME Journal (submitted).

Book chapters:

Simard S, Asay A, Beiler K, Bingham M, Deslippe J, He X, Philip L, Song Y. 2015. Resource Transfer Between Plants Through Ectomycorrhizal Fungal Networks. In: Horton TR, ed. Mycorrhizal Networks. Springer Netherlands, 133–176. Posters: Asay AK, Simard SW, Aitken SN, Durall DM, Dudley SA, Pickles BJ, Wilhelm R. (2014) Mycorrhizal facilitation of kin recognition in interior Douglas-fir, TerreWEB open house poster presentation, November 25, 2014.


Asay AK (2013-2016). Intelligent Forest. A Documentary Film. Scientific Advisor. Benjamin Rover Productions, Lithuania.


Next Scholar


Comments are closed.

Funding provided by :

Event Calendar

January 2020

Upcoming Events

  • No events.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | Advisory Committee / Steering Committee Login | TerreWEB Members Login | © 2020 University of British Columbia

Vancouver Web Design by Vancouver SEO Company Coronation Internet Marketing Ltd.