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Friday, May 1, 2020 at 12:20pmVirtual Event
Cornell University, Fay-Wei Li
Plant Biology Student Progress Seminar
My thesis research encompasses two areas of lycophyte biology: characterizing microbial endophyte communities of Lycopodiaceae and reevaluating the systematics of Dendrolycopodium.
Specialized plant-microbial mutualisms (like plant associations with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, Rhizobium, Frankia, cyanobacteria, etc.) have long fascinated plant scientists. However, specialized mutualisms are not the only plant-microbial interactions which can influence plant growth and ecological interactions. In fact, diverse communities of bacteria, archaea, fungi, and other eukaryotic microbes can live within healthy plant tissues. These endophytes can fill various roles and may be mutualistic, commensalistic, pathogenic, or latently saprotrophic. They are undoubtedly underestimated but integral factors in shaping ecosystem structuring. However, the microbial communities of all lineages of land plants have not been explored; lycophytes have largely been overlooked in this area. I aim to take the first steps in characterizing lycophyte microbiomes by describing the culturable endophytes of five Lycopodiaceae species in central NY.
Additionally, the relationships of species in the genus Dendrolycopodium have long perplexed taxonomists. This genus seems prone to hybridization. I used double-digest restriction-site associated sequencing (RAD-seq) to begin to shed some light on these potential hybrids and the systematics of Dendrolycopodium.