Ylva graduated from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences with a M.Sc. in Biology and Horticulture in 1996 and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Penn State University in 2004. She received the Alumni Association Dissertation Award for her work in agroecology and subsistence farming in Sub-Saharan Africa. Post-doctoral positions at Montana State University and later at Copenhagen University as a Marie Curie Fellow allowed her to explore the role of arbuscular mycorrhiza, a root-fungus symbiosis, for geothermal plants in Yellowstone National Park and coastal grasslands in Denmark. Her research has been published in international journals such as Nature Communications, Ecology Letters, and New Phytologist.
Ylva joined MPG Ranch in 2010. Since then, she has explored how invasive plants common to western Montana, including spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe), leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), influence soil microbial community composition and function, and how this in turn may affect invasive success. A lot of her research also focuses on the AM symbiosis in terms of community ecology and physiology. A current project addresses how exchange ratios in this symbiosis may differ among co-occurring plants and depend on soil nutrient availabilities. She uses surveys, field and greenhouse experiments, and literature approaches such as meta-analyses to address questions. To learn more about research and publications from Ylva and her group, see CV below and the Soils, Plants and Invasion section.
In addition to her work at MPG Ranch, Ylva is an adjunct professor at University of Montana at the Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences.
Soils, Plants and Invasion
Min Sheng, Lorinda Bullington, Morgan McLeod, Ylva Lekberg (2022). Acquisition and evolution of enhanced mutualism—an underappreciated mechanism for invasive success? The ISME Journal https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-022-01293-w.
Dean E. Pearson, Özkan Eren, Yvette K. Ortega, José L. Hierro, Birsen Karakuş, Sascha Kala, Lorinda Bullington, Ylva Lekberg (2022). Combining biogeographical approaches to advance invasion ecology and methodology. Journal of Ecology 10.1111/1365-2745.13945.
Gerard Sapes, Patrick Demaree, Ylva Lekberg, Anna Sala (2021). Plant carbohydrate depletion impairs water relations and spreads via ectomycorrhizal networks. New Phytologist 229: 3172-3183. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.17134.