Grant: $615,971 - National Science Foundation - Jul. 23, 2009
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Award Description: The ecological consequences of hybridization of asexual microbial symbiont Many new plant and animal species arise from hybridization between different species. Although less well-studied, microbial species also hybridize and create new genetic species and variants. All plants species harbor microbial partners, and these partners often dramatically alter plant growth and performance. For example, microbial partners in the roots of agricultural crop plants increase growth and yields. Fungal endophytes are microbial partners in grasses that dramatically alter plant performance and resistance to drought and herbivores. This partnership or symbiosis has been manipulated to improve growth, competitiveness, and resistance to insects in the forage and turfgrass industry. In native grasses, many of which are important forage grasses for livestock, fungal endophytes often hybridize to create new strains that can are commonly found in nature. These new, hybrid strains of endophytes may affect growth and seed production and competitive abilities in ways very different than non-hybrid strains. This research will experimentally examine the role of hybridization of endophytes on growth and competitive abilities of two native grass hosts. Both greenhouse and field experiments will test the idea that hybridization of endophytes increases the ability of the host grass to survive and compete better in harsh environmental conditions Both native grasses are important to livestock grazing in the SW USA. This research has broader impacts for ecology of emerging infectious disease, conservation biology, restoration of native grasslands, and rangeland management and provides broad collegiate and K-12 educational opportunities. This research, as has past research, will continue to effectively train undergraduate and graduate students, especially women and minorities, in the processes of scientific research. We will also actively engage undergraduate researchers through UNCG?s undergraduate research programs, where undergraduates become fully immersed in the scientific process. We will establish a K-12 summer internship for local K-12 teachers in partnership The Science Nature Center of Greensboro and North Carolina State Parks.
Project Description: PI traveled to Arizona for field collection of seeds and collaboration with personnel at Flagstaff Arboretum where experiments will take place. Several plants have been started in the greenhouse for related experimentation. The technician has been working with collected samples, preparing fungal cultures for DNA analysis, sorting, drying and weighing collected samples
Jobs Summary: One full-time 40 hr/ week technician has been retained, moving from start-up funding that was about to expire to this grant. (Total jobs reported: 1)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jul. 23, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.