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Grad student talk - Life among the rocks: High elevation plant and microbial communities

Thursday, February 23, 2017, 12:30PM - 1:30PM


Cliff Bueno de Mesquita


SEEC room S225

Much of the land cover of high elevation mountain summits is characterized by rocky talus slopes and poorly developed soil. However, seemingly barren soils harbor diverse microbial communities and patches of plant communities exist in suitable locations on talus slopes. Plant colonization of unvegetated soils may be enhanced by climate change and certain microbial communities. I will give an overview of recent plant and microbial work done in the upper Green Lakes Valley with a focus on vegetation change and ongoing work to test hypotheses about the effects of early snowmelt and microbes on plant establishment and growth. Key findings include increases in vegetation cover, plant-microbe co-occurrence patterns, the presence of mutualistic fungi in plant roots and unvegetated soils, and effects of microbial communities on plant growth.