Professor Duncan Cameron

Prof DD Cameron

Tel: +44 (0)114 222 0066


Room C61, Alfred Denny Building


Professor of Plant and Soil Biology, Royal Society University Research Fellow (2015-present)
Co-director of the Plant Production and Protection (P3) Centre of excellence for translational agricultural technologies ( (2013-present)
Senior Research Fellow and Royal Society University Research Fellow (2012-2015)
Royal Society University Research Fellow (2010-2011)
NERC Fellow, University of Sheffield (2007-2010)
Leverhulme Trust post doctoral research associate, University of Sheffield (2004-2007)
PhD in Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Aberdeen (2001-2004)
BSc (Hons) in Animal and Plant Biology, University of Sheffield (2001)

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Key Research Interests

My research seeks to understand how shifts in energy and nutrient flows between symbiotic organisms influences individuals and ultimately communities

My group specialises in the physiology and ecology of host-symbiont interactions, specifically plant-fungal symbioses and plant-parasitic plant symbioses using a combination of metabolomics, isotope tracers and molecular biology to study:

1. Soil biology including carbon and mineral fluxes through mycorrhizal networks in natural and agro-ecosystems.

2. Microorganisms in sustainable agro ecosystems - Harnessing beneficial microbes for crop production (provisioning of nutrients) and crop protection (inducible plant defenses).

3. The physiology and functional ecology of host-parasitic plant interactions.

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My research interests are in physiological plant ecology and soil microbiology, particularly I am interested in how symbioses between plants and other organisms (including other plants, fungi and insects) have evolved and how these interactions allow plants to survive and thrive in extreme environments. All of my core interests come together in my lectures for APS276 (Symbiosis) where I explore the evolution and ecology of mutualism and parasitism in plants and fungi. This module takes an innovative approach beginning with a series of lectures to provide background material followed by six guest seminars from internal and external speakers who will provide access to the cutting edge of symbiosis research including sharing their own most recent research breakthroughs!

I am passionate about field biology and therefore I teach on two field courses: APS255 (Environmental Interpretation) in Ireland and APS337 (Behavioural Ecology) in Portugal. In APS255, I explore how plant-fungal symbioses, called mycorrhiza, allow plants to exist in harsh environments (such as coastal grasslands) and how the properties of the physical, abiotic environmnet can shape the structure and function of the biotic environment. In APS337 I aim to introduce students to the co-evolution between plants and insects for pollination and how plant signals can influence the behaviour of their pollinators.

At level 3 I supervise undergraduate research projects (APS330) and level 4 projects through APS402 (Research Dissertation) and APS406 (Research Project) close to my research interests. Past projects have included investigating how parasitic plants influence host communities; the role of soil microbes in sustainable food production, the mechanisms underpinning how some orchids can parasitise fungi and how different soil substrates can promote biodiversity on green roofs. I also supervise Level 3 dissertations (APS331) on a broad range of topics in plant ecology, physiology and evolution.


Prof. Sir David Read FRS, Prof. Jurriaan Ton, Prof. Mike Burrell, Dr Gareth Phoenix, Prof. Julie Scholes, Prof Roger Butlin and Prof. Jonathan Leake – University of Sheffield, UK.
Dr Barry Lomax and Dr Janice Lake – University of Nottingham, UK
Dr Martin I Bidartondo – Imperial College and Kew Gardens, UK.
Prof Richard Preziosi and Dr Jenny Rowntree - University of M
Dr Fan Jiang – Beijing Normal University, China.
Prof. Gerhard Gebauer – University of Bayreuth, Germany.
Dr Jakub Těšitel – University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic.

External responsibilities and memberships

Subject editor, Plant and Soil
Editorial board member of Food and Energy Security
Member of the NERC peer review college
Member of the Royal Society international exchange committee
Member of the International Parasitic Plants Society (IPPS)
Reviewer for a range of ecological and plant science journals including: Journal of Experimental Botany, New Phytologist, Oecologia, Journal of Ecology, Journal of Applied Ecology, Functional Plant Biology, Australian Journal of Botany, Basic and Applied Ecology, Plant Biology, Journal of Vegetation Science, Experimental Agriculture, American Journal of Botany, Weed Research.

Research Group

Visit for a list of Cameron Lab members

Postdocs and Research Assistants

Despina Berdeni
Dr Isobel Eyres
Dr Steffi Tille
Dr Ruth Wade
Dr Mark Burrell


Irene Johnson

PhD students

Tom Thirkell (Based at York)
Christopher Ahuchaogu
Amal Ashour
Lee Eales
Safirun Pervin
Ingrid Robertson
Megan Sørenson (Based at York)

Selected Publications

Visit for the full list.

Lowe CD, Minter EJ, Cameron DD & Brockhurst M (2016). Shining a light on exploitative host control in a photosynthetic endosymbiosis. Current Biology 26: 207-2011.

Field KJ, Leake JR, Tille S, Allinson KE, Rimington WR, Beerling DJ & Cameron DD (2015) From parasitism to mutualism: mycorrhiza specificity and functioning in Ophioglossum vulgatum sporophytes. New Phytologist 205: 1492-1502.

Cameron DD
, Neal AL, van Wees SCM & Ton J (2013) Mycorrhiza-induced resistance: more than the sum of its parts? Trends in Plant Science 18: 539-545.

Field KJ, Cameron DD, Leake JR, Tille S, Bidartondo MI & Beerling DJ (2012) Contrasting arbuscular mycorrhizal responses of vascular and non-vascular plants to a simulated Palaeozoic CO2 decline. Nature Communications: doi: 10.1038/ncomms1831.

Těšitel J, Lepš J, Vráblová M & Cameron DD (2011) The role of heterotrophic carbon acquisition by the hemiparasitic plant Rhinanthus alectorolophus in seedling establishment in natural communities: a physiological perspective. New Phytologist 192: 188-199.

Cameron DD (2010) Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi as (agro)ecosystem engineers. Plant and Soil 333: 1-5.

Cameron DD, White A & Antonovics J (2009) Parasite-grass-forb interactions and rock-paper-scissor dynamics: predicting the effects of the parasitic plant Rhinanthus minor on host plant communities. Journal of Ecology 97: 1311-1319.

Cameron DD, Preiss K, Gebauer G & Read DJ (2009) The chlorophyll containing orchid Corallorhiza trifida derives little carbon through photosynthesis. New Phytologist 183: 358-364.

Irving LJ & Cameron DD (2009) You are what you eat: interactions between root parasitic plants and their hosts. Advances in Botanical Research 50: 87-138.

Cameron DD, Johnson I, Read DJ & Leake JR (2008) Giving and receiving: measuring the carbon cost of mycorrhizas in the green orchid, Goodyera repens. New Phytologist 180: 176-184.

Jiang F, Jeschke WD, Hartung W & Cameron DD (2008) Mobility of boron-polyol complexes in the hemiparasitic association between Rhinanthus minor and Hordeum vulgare: the effects of nitrogen nutrition. Physiologia Plantarum 134: 13-21.

Cameron DD, Geniez J-M, Seel WE & Irving, LJ (2008) Suppression of host photosynthesis by the parasitic plant Rhinanthus minor. Annals of Botany 101: 573-578.

Cameron DD & Seel WE (2007) Functional anatomy of haustoria formed by Rhinanthus minor:linking evidence from histology and isotope tracing. New Phytologist 174: 412-419.

Cameron DD, Johnson I, Leake JR & Read DJ (2007) Mycorrhizal acquisition of inorganic phosphorus by the green-leaved terrestrial orchid Goodyera repens. Annals of Botany 99: 831-834.

Cameron DD, Coats AM & Seel WE (2006) Differential resistance among host and non-host species underlies the variable success of the hemi-parasitic plant Rhinanthus minor. Annals of Botany98: 1289-1299.

Cameron DD, Leake JR & Read DJ (2006) Mutualistic mycorrhiza in orchids: evidence from plant-fungus carbon and nitrogen transfers in the green-leaved terrestrial orchid Goodyera repens. New Phytologist 171: 405-416.

Cameron DD, Hwangbo J-K, Keith AM, Geniez J-M, Kraushaar D, Rowntree J & Seel WE (2005) Interactions between the hemiparasitic angiosperm Rhinanthus minor and its hosts: from the cell to the ecosystem. Folia Geobotanica 40: 217-229.

Selected invited conference papers and seminars

Cameron DD (2011) Who hosts whom? Resolving the nature of orchid mycorrhizal symbioses. Invited seminar speaker at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Germany.

Cameron DD & Leake JR (2010) Sustainable management of soils. Invited speaker at: Symposium on Multifunctional Landscapes – University of Sheffield.

Cameron DD (2010) Take now, pay later: are orchids parasitic on their mycorrhizal fungi or do they live on carbon credit? Invited seminar speaker at The Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, UK.

Cameron DD (2009) All that glitters isn’t gold and all that is green cannot photosynthesise: the chlorophyll-containing orchid Corallorhiza trifida gains little carbon through photosynthesis. Invited speaker at: Botany 2009 – Snowbird, Utah, USA.

Cameron DD (2008) Take now, pay later: measuring the carbon and nutrient economy of mycorrhizas of green orchids. Invited seminar speaker at the Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, UK.

Cameron DD & Read DJ (2008) Take now, pay later: the carbon and nutrient economy of mycorrhizas of green orchids. Invited seminar speaker at the Bayreuth Centre of Ecology and Environmental Research, University of Bayreuth, Germany.

Cameron DD (2008) Are orchids parasitic upon their mycorrhizal fungi or do they live by carbon credit and repayment? Invited seminar speaker at the University of Durham, UK.

Cameron DD (2007) Interactions between the parasitic plant Rhinanthus minor and its hosts: from the cell to the ecosystem. Invited seminar speaker at The Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA.

Cameron DD, Leake JR & Read DJ (2006) First evidence of mutualism in orchid mycorrhiza: Net carbon and nutrient fluxes between an orchid and its mycorrhizal mycelial network. Invited speaker at the International Conference on Mycorrhizas (ICOM5), Granada, Spain.

Cameron DD (2005) Differential resistance to the grassland hemi-parasite, Rhinanthus minor, and its consequences for community structure. Invited seminar speaker at the Institute of Natural Resources, Massey University, New Zealand.

Cameron DD & Seel WE (2004) Compatible and incompatible interactions in root parasitic plants. Invited speaker at Cost Action 849: Parasitic Plant Management in Sustainable Agriculture Workshop: Broomrape management, Nitra, Slovakia.