Investigating the Occurrence and Variability of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi in the Arid Grasslands of Masai in the Lowlands of Lake Turkana, Kenya.

Lukelysia Nyawira Mwangi
Lukelysia Nyawira Mwangi
Lowlands of lake Turkana, Kenya
project abstract

My research proposal focuses on investigating the presence and variability of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) within the arid grasslands of Masai, situated in the lowlands of Lake Turkana, Kenya. The area comprises a distinctive ecological zone characterized by vast expanses of open grassy terrain and minimal tree cover. The average temperatures in the region can soar above 30°C (86°F) during the hottest months, with occasional peaks reaching even higher. Rainfall in this arid environment is sparse, often falling below 300mm, resulting in limited vegetation and water resources. The grasslands are inhabited by a range of hardy plant species adapted to arid conditions, and they provide vital grazing grounds for indigenous wildlife, including herbivores and migratory species. The region's unique climate and topography create an environment where mycorrhizal fungi could play a crucial role in supporting plants' health and productivity, making it an intriguing focal point for ecological research.

This study aims to quantitatively assess AMF species, compare their community composition across diverse geographical sites and habitats, evaluate their impact on plant productivity, and identify key factors influencing AMF community distribution. Employing a combination of soil sampling, DNA extraction, PCR, sequencing, statistical analysis, and mapping.