Antonino Malacrinó, Post-Doctoral Researcher in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, will be speaking in 102 Rightmire Hall on July 26th at 12:30 PM.
Title: Travelling Up and Down the Trophic Ladder: Reciprocal Influences Between Soil Microbiota and Herbivores
Abstract: Microorganisms play an extremely important role for plants, influencing their development and physiology. However, we still lack information on how plant microbiomes assemble and work, for example whether plant-associated microbial communities are influenced by the same fundamental factors that govern primary productivity: resources (e.g. soil, bottom-up effect) and consumers (e.g. herbivores, top-down effect). We manipulated a soil-plant-herbivore system to understand (i) whether soil microbial diversity is able to influence the microbial communities of upward compartments (rhizosphere, root, leaf, herbivore) and (ii) whether herbivores are able to produce and effect of microbiotas thriving the compartments downwards (leaf, root, rhizosphere). Our findings expand our knowledge on how plant microbiome assemble, and support the manipulation of soil microbiome as a way to improve crop protection, ecological restoration and food security and safety.