Thursday, December 02, 2010, 4:30PM - 5:30PM
Deglaciation, increasingly an emblem of climate change, exposes new substrate and provides a natural chronosequence, a space for time substitution, with which to examine long-term ecosystem development within a single site. The relative simplicity of chronosequence biotic communities and nutrient dynamics has facilitated advances in ecological theory regarding soil development, shifts in plant functional groups, and species-species interactions. Given that all these phenomena are linked to belowground microbial communities, such sites provide unique opportunities to develop new microbial-based understandings of processes from biogeochemical cycling to plant community assembly. I will present research that evaluates feedbacks between plants and microbes by assessing shifts in bacterial community structure and function in coordination with plant colonization based on recent analysis of bacterial 16s ribosomal DNA sequencing from our study site at the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, AK. I will touch on ongoing work in plant-associated mycorrhizal and fungal endophyte communities in these environments.