Multiple Forces Shape Microbial Community Structure in the Phyllosphere

Seminar | February 28 | 4-5 p.m. | 1011 Evans Hall

 Norma Morella, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, UC Berkeley

 Department of Statistics

As our knowledge of host-associated microbial communities (microbiomes) continues to deepen, there remain key unresolved questions across multiple systems. Among these is an understanding of the forces underlying the assembly of, selection within, and co-evolution among microbiota, all of which depend in part on microbiome transmission mode. My PhD thesis research has focused on characterizing the forces that shape bacterial communities of the phyllosphere (the above-ground surfaces of plants). The first part of this work investigates the importance of vertically transmitted (parent to offspring) microbes in seedling health. Then, I show how long-term microbiome experimental evolution can be used to better understand how microbiomes evolve on genetically distinct hosts and adapt to their environment over time. Lastly, I explore the role of bacteriophage viruses in shaping bacterial communities. Overall, this work helps disentangle the multiple forces shaping community structure in the phyllosphere and has broad implications in other host systems.