Research

**Stay tuned for updates coming soon!**

Here is information about the major projects I worked on during my postdoc and PhD. More coming soon about current projects.

1. Community ecology of plant-associated microbial communities:

What mechanisms shape the structure and function of microbial communities associated with plants? How do can we use assembly mechanisms to better understand function, including effects on insect herbivores and pollinators?

Projects:

How does dispersal affect the structure and function of bacterial and yeast communities in floral nectar of Mimulus aurantiacus? Collaboration with Tad Fukami

Mimulus aurantiacus flower exposed to pollinators

Mimulus aurantiacus flower exposed to pollinators

Bagged Mimulus aurantiacus flower

Bagged Mimulus aurantiacus flower

How do ants influence microbial community structure and nectar characteristics in coffee agroecosystems? Collaboration with Stacy Philpott

Above-belowground interactions and feedbacks between herbivores and plant-associated microbes (mycorrhizal fungi). Previous collaboration with Mark Hunter

Assessing the performance of a specialist caterpillar D. plexippus on Asclepias syriaca (milkweed) seedlings associated with mycorrhizal fungi.

Assessing the performance of the specialist caterpillar Danaus plexippus (monarch) on Asclepias syriaca (milkweed) seedlings associated with mycorrhizal fungi.

2. Nectar ecology

Yeasts and bacteria are common inhabitants of flowers, and attain high densities in floral nectar. I am interested how (and when) these microbes influence plants and pollinators, the mechanisms involved, and evolutionary ecology of these interactions. I am also interested in how nectar constituents influence pollinator foraging and health.

Apis mellifera foraging on experimental nectar

Apis mellifera foraging on artificial nectar

3. Influence of anthropogenic changes on plant-microbe (insect) interactions

Fragmentation affects fungal community composition in the rhizosphere of  Meterosideros polymorpha 

Meterosideros polymorpha flowers

Meterosideros polymorpha flowers

Past work: Elevated CO2 changes plant-microbe-insect interactions, Effects of mycorrhizal fungi on plant defense and plant-herbivore interactions

OFC_GCB