Dr. Stephanie Socher

Dr. Stephanie Socher
Senior Scientist; custodian

Hellbrunnerstr. 34, Room E.E. 010, 5020 Salzburg
Tel.: +43 (0) 662 / 8044-5533
E-Mail:

Projects:

Immortal titans: does a germline exist in the titan arum?


1.1.2021-31.12.2023
Dr. Anja Hörger, Dr. Stephanie Socher, Danae Laina MSc
Barrierefreiheit: Kurzbeschreibung des Bildes
Titan arum in bloom (picture: S. Haigermoser).

During reproduction, every organism transmits genetic material to their offspring including mutations that may have occurred during the organism’s lifetime. In case those mutations have a deleterious effect, the fitness of the offspring can be reduced drastically. In most animal species, a germline with reduced mutation rate has evolved as a strategy to avoid the transmission of potentially deleterious mutations to the next generation.
Although a developmentally defined germline segregating early during development exists in most animal species, gametes of plants are thought to be derived at a late developmental stage. They are therefore thought to carry the mutations occurring in vegetative tissue and to consequently transmit them to the next generation. Recent studies, mainly performed on short-lived plant species, such as the thale cress or tomato, challenge this view. It is still unclear however, if this suggested germline is ubiquitous in plants, particularly in long-lived species. This is possibly because mutation rates per generation are generally low and it would be necessary to follow several offspring generations to detect significant differences between cell lineages. In most long-lived species, this is hardly feasible because of long generation times.
Our study aims to solve this controversy by investigating the existence of an early segregating germline in a long-lived plant species. Amorphophallus titanum Becc., the titan arum, holds the record as the largest unbranched inflorescence with a height of up to three meters when flowering. Endemic to the island of Sumatra (Indonesia) and cultivated in botanical gardens since 1878, the titan arum is a flagship species in botanical gardens. The plant alternates between vegetative and reproductive phases, which are associated with a period of extremely fast inflorescence growth. After a growing period of 25-46 days, the plant flowers for only two days and emits a strong scent resembling carrion material, which attracts pollinating insects. The flowering of A. titanum is a spectacular event as the plant is challenging to cultivate and flowering events are rare and unpredictable.
Making use of this incredibly fast period of growth, we want to assess the mutation rate in cell lineages with vegetative and reproductive functions by comparing the genome of different tissues of a single plant during flowering. We assume that the number of cell divisions after the rapid inflorescence growth in A. titanum is comparable to the number of cell divisions usually found after several generations and use this species as a natural model system for accelerated mutation rates.
This will allow us to test whether differences in mutation rates exist in vegetative and reproductive tissue in A. titanum indicating the existence of an early segregating germline in this species. In addition, our study will provide a powerful genomic resource for future studies, for example into gigantism in plants.
Funded by:
1000 Ideas Programme,
Barrierefreiheit: Kurzbeschreibung des Bildes


 Barrierefreiheit: Kurzbeschreibung des Bildes
Taking samples of a titan arum in bloom, Palmengarten Frankfurt (picture: R. Fuchs).


Publications:
U. Ruprecht, S.A Socher, S. Dötterl, Unexpected occurrence of Cladosporium spp. on the inner side of the spathe of the titan arum, Amorphophallus titanum. Acta Mycologica (In Press)
J. Müller, S. Boch, D. Prati, S.A. Socher, U. Pommer, D. Hessenmöller, P. Schall, E.D. Schulze, M. Fischer, Effects of forest management on bryophyte species richness in Central European forests, Forest Ecology and Management 432 (2019) 850–859. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2018.10.019.
  V. Busch, V.H. Klaus, C. Penone, D. Schäfer, S. Boch, D. Prati, J. Müller, S.A. Socher, Ü. Niinemets, J. Peñuelas, N. Hölzel, M. Fischer, T. Kleinebecker, V. Busch, V.H. Klaus, C. Penone, D. Schäfer, S. Boch, D. Prati, J. Müller, S.A. Socher, Ü. Niinemets, J. Peñuelas, N. Hölzel, M. Fischer, T. Kleinebecker, Nutrient stoichiometry and land use rather than species richness determine plant functional diversity, Ecology and Evolution 8 (2018) 601–616. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3609.
  N.K. Simons, T. Lewinsohn, N. Blüthgen, F. Buscot, S. Boch, R. Daniel, M.M. Gossner, K. Jung, K. Kaiser, J. Müller, D. Prati, S.C. Renner, S.A. Socher, I. Sonnemann, C.N. Weiner, M. Werner, T. Wubet, S. Wurst, W.W. Weisser, Contrasting effects of grassland management modes on species-abundance distributions of multiple groups, Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 237 (2017) 143–153. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2016.12.022.
  M.M. Gossner, T.M. Lewinsohn, T. Kahl, F. Grassein, S. Boch, D. Prati, K. Birkhofer, S.C. Renner, J. Sikorski, T. Wubet, H. Arndt, V. Baumgartner, S. Blaser, N. Blüthgen, C. Börschig, F. Buscot, T. Diekötter, L.R. Jorge, K. Jung, A.C. Keyel, A.-M. Klein, S. Klemmer, J. Krauss, M. Lange, J. Müller, J. Overmann, E. Pašalić, C. Penone, D.J. Perović, O. Purschke, P. Schall, S.A. Socher, I. Sonnemann, M. Tschapka, T. Tscharntke, M. Türke, P.C. Venter, C.N. Weiner, M. Werner, V. Wolters, S. Wurst, C. Westphal, M. Fischer, W.W. Weisser, E. Allan, Land-use intensification causes multitrophic homogenization of grassland communities, Nature 540 (2016) 266–269. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature20575.
R. Havinga, A. Kool, F. Achille, J. Bavcon, C. Berg, C. Bonomi, M. Burkart, D. de Meyere, J.’t. Hart, M. Havström, P. Keßler, B. Knickmann, N. Köster, R. Martinez, H. Ostgaard, B. Ravnjak, A.-C. Scheen, P. Smith, P. Smith, S.A. Socher, V. Vange, The Index Seminum Seeds of change for seed exchange, Taxon 65 (2016) 333–336. https://doi.org/10.12705/652.

S. Soliveres, P. Manning, D. Prati, M.M. Gossner, F. Alt, H. Arndt, V. Baumgartner, J. Binkenstein, K. Birkhofer, S. Blaser, N. Blüthgen, S. Boch, S. Böhm, C. Börschig, F. Buscot, T. Diekötter, J. Heinze, N. Hölzel, K. Jung, V.H. Klaus, A.-M. Klein, T. Kleinebecker, S. Klemmer, J. Krauss, M. Lange, E.K. Morris, J. Müller, Y. Oelmann, J. Overmann, E. Pašalić, S.C. Renner, M.C. Rillig, H.M. Schaefer, M. Schloter, B. Schmitt, I. Schöning, M. Schrumpf, J. Sikorski, S.A. Socher, E.F. Solly, I. Sonnemann, E. Sorkau, J. Steckel, I. Steffan-Dewenter, B. Stempfhuber, M. Tschapka, M. Türke, P. Venter, C.N. Weiner, W.W. Weisser, M. Werner, C. Westphal, W. Wilcke, V. Wolters, T. Wubet, S. Wurst, M. Fischer, E. Allan, Locally rare species influence grassland ecosystem multifunctionality, Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. ,. B,. Biol. Sci. 371 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2015.0269.

S. Soliveres, F. van der Plas, P. Manning, D. Prati, M.M. Gossner, S.C. Renner, F. Alt, H. Arndt, V. Baumgartner, J. Binkenstein, K. Birkhofer, S. Blaser, N. Blüthgen, S. Boch, S. Böhm, C. Börschig, F. Buscot, T. Diekötter, J. Heinze, N. Hölzel, K. Jung, V.H. Klaus, T. Kleinebecker, S. Klemmer, J. Krauss, M. Lange, E.K. Morris, J. Müller, Y. Oelmann, J. Overmann, E. Pašalić, M.C. Rillig, H.M. Schaefer, M. Schloter, B. Schmitt, I. Schöning, M. Schrumpf, J. Sikorski, S.A. Socher, E.F. Solly, I. Sonnemann, E. Sorkau, J. Steckel, I. Steffan-Dewenter, B. Stempfhuber, M. Tschapka, M. Türke, P.C. Venter, C.N. Weiner, W.W. Weisser, M. Werner, C. Westphal, W. Wilcke, V. Wolters, T. Wubet, S. Wurst, M. Fischer, E. Allan, Biodiversity at multiple trophic levels is needed for ecosystem multifunctionality, Nature 536 (2016) 456–459. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature19092.

P. Manning, M.M. Gossner, O. Bossdorf, E. Allan, Y.-Y. Zhang, D. Prati, N. Blüthgen, S. Boch, S. Böhm, C. Börschig, N. Hölzel, K. Jung, V.H. Klaus, A.M. Klein, T. Kleinebecker, J. Krauss, M. Lange, J. Müller, E. Pašalić, S.A. Socher, M. Tschapka, M. Türke, C. Weiner, M. Werner, S. Gockel, A. Hemp, S.C. Renner, K. Wells, F. Buscot, E.K.V. Kalko, K.E. Linsenmair, W.W. Weisser, M. Fischer, Grassland management intensification weakens the associations among the diversities of multiple plant and animal taxa, Ecology 96 (2015) 1492–1501. https://doi.org/10.1890/14-1307.1.

S. Soliveres, F.T. Maestre, W. Ulrich, P. Manning, S. Boch, M.A. Bowker, D. Prati, M. Delgado-Baquerizo, J.L. Quero, I. Schöning, A. Gallardo, W. Weisser, J. Müller, S.A. Socher, M. García-Gómez, V. Ochoa, E.-D. Schulze, M. Fischer, E. Allan, S. Soliveres, F.T. Maestre, W. Ulrich, P. Manning, S. Boch, M.A. Bowker, D. Prati, M. Delgado-Baquerizo, J.L. Quero, I. Schöning, A. Gallardo, W. Weisser, J. Müller, S.A. Socher, M. García-Gómez, V. Ochoa, E.-D. Schulze, M. Fischer, E. Allan, Intransitive competition is widespread in plant communities and maintains their species richness, Ecology Letters 18 (2015) 790–798. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12456.

E. Allan, O. Bossdorf, C.F. Dormann, D. Prati, M.M. Gossner, T. Tscharntke, N. Blüthgen, M. Bellach, K. Birkhofer, S. Boch, S. Böhm, C. Börschig, A. Chatzinotas, S. Christ, R. Daniel, T. Diekötter, C. Fischer, T. Friedl, K. Glaser, C. Hallmann, L. Hodac, N. Hölzel, K. Jung, A.M. Klein, V.H. Klaus, T. Kleinebecker, J. Krauss, M. Lange, E.K. Morris, J. Müller, H. Nacke, E. Pasalic, M.C. Rillig, C. Rothenwöhrer, P. Schall, C. Scherber, W. Schulze, S.A. Socher, J. Steckel, I. Steffan-Dewenter, M. Türke, C.N. Weiner, M. Werner, C. Westphal, V. Wolters, T. Wubet, S. Gockel, M. Gorke, A. Hemp, S.C. Renner, I. Schöning, S. Pfeiffer, B. König-Ries, F. Buscot, K.E. Linsenmair, E.-D. Schulze, W.W. Weisser, M. Fischer, Interannual variation in land-use intensity enhances grassland multidiversity, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111 (2014) 308–313. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1312213111.

M.M. Gossner, E. Pašalić, M. Lange, P. Lange, S. Boch, D. Hessenmöller, J. Müller, S.A. Socher, M. Fischer, E.-D. Schulze, W.W. Weisser, Differential responses of herbivores and herbivory to management in temperate European beech, PLoS ONE 9 (2014) e104876. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0104876.

N. Herold, I. Schöning, J. Gutknecht, F. Alt, S. Boch, J. Müller, Y. Oelmann, S.A. Socher, W. Wilcke, T. Wubet, M. Schrumpf, Soil property and management effects on grassland microbial communities across a latitudinal gradient in Germany, Applied Soil Ecology 73 (2014) 41–50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2013.07.009.

M. Lange, M. Türke, E. Pašalić, S. Boch, D. Hessenmöller, J. Müller, D. Prati, S.A. Socher, M. Fischer, W.W. Weisser, M.M. Gossner, Effects of forest management on ground-dwelling beetles (Coleoptera; Carabidae Staphylinidae ) in Central Europe are mainly mediated by changes in forest structure, Forest Ecology and Management 329 (2014) 166–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2014.06.012.

E.K. Morris, T. Caruso, F. Buscot, M. Fischer, C. Hancock, T.S. Maier, T. Meiners, C. Müller, E. Obermaier, D. Prati, S.A. Socher, I. Sonnemann, N. Wäschke, T. Wubet, S. Wurst, M.C. Rillig, Choosing and using diversity indices: insights for ecological applications from the German Biodiversity Exploratories, Ecology and Evolution 4 (2014) 3514–3524. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.1155.

N.K. Simons, M.M. Gossner, T.M. Lewinsohn, S. Boch, M. Lange, J. Müller, E. Pašalić, S.A. Socher, M. Türke, M. Fischer, W.W. Weisser, Resource-mediated indirect effects of grassland management on arthropod diversity, PLoS ONE 9 (2014) e107033. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0107033.

L. Weiss, H. Pfestorf, F. May, K. Körner, S. Boch, M. Fischer, J. Müller, D. Prati, S.A. Socher, F. Jeltsch, Grazing response patterns indicate isolation of semi-natural European grasslands, Oikos 123 (2014) 599–612. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0706.2013.00957.x.

S. Boch, D. Prati, J. Müller, S. Socher, H. Baumbach, F. Buscot, S. Gockel, A. Hemp, D. Hessenmöller, E.K.V. Kalko, K.E. Linsenmair, S. Pfeiffer, U. Pommer, I. Schöning, E.-D. Schulze, C. Seilwinder, W.W. Weisser, K. Wells, M. Fischer, High plant species richness indicates management-related disturbances rather than the conservation status of forests, Basic and Applied Ecology 14 (2013) 496–505. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2013.06.001.

V.H. Klaus, N. Hölzel, S. Boch, J. Müller, S.A. Socher, D. Prati, M. Fischer, T. Kleinebecker, Direct and indirect associations between plant species richness and productivity in grasslands: Regional differences preclude simple generalization of productivity-biodiversity relationships, Preslia 85 (2013) 97–112.

V.H. Klaus, T. Kleinebecker, D. Prati, M.M. Gossner, F. Alt, S. Boch, S. Gockel, A. Hemp, M. Lange, J. Müller, Y. Oelmann, E. Pašalić, S.C. Renner, S.A. Socher, M. Türke, W.W. Weisser, M. Fischer, N. Hölzel, Does organic grassland farming benefit plant and arthropod diversity at the expense of yield and soil fertility?, Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 177 (2013) 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2013.05.019.

H. Pfestorf, L. Weiß, J. Müller, S. Boch, S.A. Socher, D. Prati, I. Schöning, W. Weisser, M. Fischer, F. Jeltsch, Community mean traits as additional indicators to monitor effects of land-use intensity on grassland plant diversity, Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 15 (2013) 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ppees.2012.10.003.

S.A. Socher, D. Prati, S. Boch, J. Müller, H. Baumbach, S. Gockel, A. Hemp, I. Schöning, K. Wells, F. Buscot, E.K.V. Kalko, K.E. Linsenmair, E.-D. Schulze, W.W. Weisser, M. Fischer, Interacting effects of fertilization, mowing and grazing on plant species diversity of 1500 grasslands in Germany differ between regions, Basic and Applied Ecology 14 (2013) 126–136. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2012.12.003.

E. Solly, I. Schöning, S. Boch, J. Müller, S.A. Socher, S.E. Trumbore, M. Schrumpf, Mean age of carbon in fine roots from temperate forests and grasslands with different management, Biogeosciences 10 (2013) 4833–4843. https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-10-4833-2013.

N. Blüthgen, C.F. Dormann, D. Prati, V.H. Klaus, T. Kleinebecker, N. Hölzel, F. Alt, S. Boch, S. Gockel, A. Hemp, J. Müller, J. Nieschulze, S.C. Renner, I. Schöning, U. Schumacher, S.A. Socher, K. Wells, K. Birkhofer, F. Buscot, Y. Oelmann, C. Rothenwöhrer, C. Scherber, T. Tscharntke, C.N. Weiner, M. Fischer, E.K.V. Kalko, K.E. Linsenmair, E.-D. Schulze, W.W. Weisser, A quantitative index of land-use intensity in grasslands: Integrating mowing, grazing and fertilization, Basic and Applied Ecology 13 (2012) 207–220. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2012.04.001.

V.H. Klaus, T. Kleinebecker, S. Boch, J. Müller, S.A. Socher, D. Prati, M. Fischer, N. Hölzel, NIRS meets Ellenberg’s indicator values: Prediction of moisture and nitrogen values of agricultural grassland vegetation by means of near-infrared spectral characteristics, Ecological Indicators 14 (2012) 82–86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2011.07.016.

S.A. Socher, D. Prati, S. Boch, J. Müller, V.H. Klaus, N. Hölzel, M. Fischer, Direct and productivity-mediated indirect effects of fertilization, mowing and grazing on grassland species richness, J Ecol 100 (2012) 1391–1399. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2012.02020.x.

M. Türke, K. Andreas, M.M. Gossner, E. Kowalski, M. Lange, S. Boch, S.A. Socher, J. Müller, D. Prati, M. Fischer, R. Meyhöfer, W.W. Weisser, Are gastropods, rather than ants, important dispersers of seeds of myrmecochorous forest herbs?, Am. Nat. 179 (2012) 124–131. https://doi.org/10.1086/663195.

K. Birkhofer, T. Diekötter, S. Boch, M. Fischer, J. Müller, S. Socher, V. Wolters, Soil fauna feeding activity in temperate grassland soils increases with legume and grass species richness, Soil Biology and Biochemistry 43 (2011) 2200–2207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2011.07.008.

E. Heinze, S. Boch, M. Fischer, D. Hessenmöller, B. Klenk, J. Müller, D. Prati, E.-D. Schulze, C. Seele, S. Socher, S. Halle, Habitat use of large ungulates in northeastern Germany in relation to forest management, Forest Ecology and Management 261 (2011) 288–296. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2010.10.022.

V.H. Klaus, T. Kleinebecker, N. Hölzel, N. Blüthgen, S. Boch, J. Müller, S.A. Socher, D. Prati, M. Fischer, Nutrient concentrations and fibre contents of plant community biomass reflect species richness patterns along a broad range of land-use intensities among agricultural grasslands, Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 13 (2011) 287–295. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ppees.2011.07.001.