The relationships between plants and the microbes in the surrounding soil influences nutrient uptake, disease resistance and stress tolerance. Essentially all land plants grow in intimate association with complex microbial communities both above the ground (phyllosphere) and below the ground on roots and the immediately surrounding area (rhizosphere) and deep inside root intercellular spaces (endophytes). The relationship between the host and these various microbiomes can vary. The microbiome can be seen as an extension of each plant’s genome, and so the way by which the plant assembles and interacts with the microbes in the rhizosphere and the endophyte are of interest to plant researchers as well as those who are focused on bioenergy and the carbon cycle. This project focuses on the two most developed plant genetic and genomic systems, Arabidopsis and maize, and utilizes a third plant, Boechera, to connect the host genotype and phenotype to microbial community composition and function. Plant genotype, both within and between species, has been correlated with differences in the associated microbiome, with consequent phenotypic associations to plant growth, development, and performance.
Proposers’ Names: Jeff Dangl