Project Title

Spatial and Temporal Variation in the Physiological Profile of the Longleaf Pine Microbiome

Academic department under which the project should be listed

Molecular & Cellular Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Ramya Rajagopalan

No human subjects

Project Type

Event

Abstract (300 words maximum)

The longleaf pine is an endangered species of tree that once covered ~90 million acres of land that 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 profiles of soil microbiomes across both distance and time using BIOLOG EcoPlates with subsequent data analysis performed in R. Previous data from the lab indicates there are significant variations in microbial activity between the soil samples. New data will look at changes in microbial activity over time and different distances. By analyzing phenotypic data about compounds utilized by the microbiome we can better understand the intricate relationship between the microbiome and the above-ground plant community

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Spatial and Temporal Variation in the Physiological Profile of the Longleaf Pine Microbiome

The longleaf pine is an endangered species of tree that once covered ~90 million acres of land that 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 profiles of soil microbiomes across both distance and time using BIOLOG EcoPlates with subsequent data analysis performed in R. Previous data from the lab indicates there are significant variations in microbial activity between the soil samples. New data will look at changes in microbial activity over time and different distances. By analyzing phenotypic data about compounds utilized by the microbiome we can better understand the intricate relationship between the microbiome and the above-ground plant community