Project Title

From Molecules to Ecosystems: Variation in Metabolic, Chemical, and Physical Characteristics of the Longleaf Pine Soil Ecosystem

Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Molecular and Cellular Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Ramya Rajagopalan

Additional Faculty

Nicholas Green, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, ngreen62@kennesaw.edu

Heather Sutton, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, hsutton@kennesaw.edu

Paula Jackson, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, pjackson@kennesaw.edu

Disciplines

Biostatistics | Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology | Integrative Biology | Multivariate Analysis | Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Abstract (300 words maximum)

The longleaf pine is an endangered species of tree that once covered ~90 million acres of land and is now estimated to only cover 3% of that. Longleaf pines are slow growing but offer better resilience to climate change driven disasters like wildfires or droughts than the faster growing pine trees. The interaction between plant and soil microorganisms is an emerging field. Soil microorganisms secrete chemicals into their surroundings causing subsequent release of root exudates from the root system of plants. These root exudates behave as signaling molecules for microorganisms to recruit beneficial soil bacteria to the plant root system, which can provide the plants with immunity to foliar diseases and pathogen infection. Studies have shown that bacteria on the root surface can protect aerial sections of the plant by promoting induced systemic resistance, a mechanism of increasing physical or chemical barriers of the plant.

Our research involved characterizing the carbon-utilization of soil microbiomes in different biomes and distances within the biomes using BIOLOG EcoPlates. Additionally, we collected data on the chemical and physical makeup of the soil of the microbiome. We probed this data for information on the relationship between metabolic, chemical, and physical profiles of these samples to identify relationships that can better our understanding of the intricate relationship between the microbiome and the surrounding soil.

Project Type

Poster

How will this be presented?

Yes, in person

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From Molecules to Ecosystems: Variation in Metabolic, Chemical, and Physical Characteristics of the Longleaf Pine Soil Ecosystem

The longleaf pine is an endangered species of tree that once covered ~90 million acres of land and is now estimated to only cover 3% of that. Longleaf pines are slow growing but offer better resilience to climate change driven disasters like wildfires or droughts than the faster growing pine trees. The interaction between plant and soil microorganisms is an emerging field. Soil microorganisms secrete chemicals into their surroundings causing subsequent release of root exudates from the root system of plants. These root exudates behave as signaling molecules for microorganisms to recruit beneficial soil bacteria to the plant root system, which can provide the plants with immunity to foliar diseases and pathogen infection. Studies have shown that bacteria on the root surface can protect aerial sections of the plant by promoting induced systemic resistance, a mechanism of increasing physical or chemical barriers of the plant.

Our research involved characterizing the carbon-utilization of soil microbiomes in different biomes and distances within the biomes using BIOLOG EcoPlates. Additionally, we collected data on the chemical and physical makeup of the soil of the microbiome. We probed this data for information on the relationship between metabolic, chemical, and physical profiles of these samples to identify relationships that can better our understanding of the intricate relationship between the microbiome and the surrounding soil.

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