Dr. Posy E. Busby, a new co-signatory Principal Investigator on the Andrews Forest LTER grant, is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award titled, “How plant genotype and environmental factors jointly influence the structure of microbial communities and plant health.” The project focuses on fungal endophytes, ubiquitous yet cryptic microbes found in the leaves of all plants. Busby’s project will elucidate endophyte community assembly processes and the functional influence of endophytes on plant function (e.g., disease resistance, drought tolerance). The work specifically addresses how leaf traits influence endophyte communities across variable environments. A complementary educational program broadens the research through student-led work in common garden and greenhouse studies. Busby’s summer program for REU and high school students will integrate with the Andrews REU program. Overall, the new CAREER project will deepen our understanding of the interactive effects of plant genotype and the environment on plant microbial communities and their contribution to plant resilience in the face of climate change.
Thursday, March 31, 2022