Speaker: Dr. Kevin Begcy, Assistant Professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, University of Florida
Biography: Dr. Kevin Begcy is an Assistant Professor of Plant Biochemistry and Physiology in the Environmental Horticulture Department at the University of Florida. Dr. Begcy received his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and worked as a Research Scientist at the University of Regensburg, Germany. Dr. Begcy, is a world expert on the interaction of abiotic stress and plant reproductive development. His lab's current research interests include understanding the impact of elevated temperature on male gametophyte development, and elucidating how environmental cues influence developmental transitions.
Speaker: Dr. Carl Bernacchi, USDA-ARS
Title: Disentangling Temperature and CO2 Impacts on Crop Productivity
Biography: Carl Bernacchi is a Research Plant Physiologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) with the Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit and professor in the departments of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. He runs a research group at Illinois that attempts to understand the impacts of climatic change on Midwest crop species and climate and land-use changes on biogeochemical cycles. Carl's research studies the feedback between vegetation and climate in a changing environment using in-field experiments and modeling from leaf- to ecosystem scales. His work addresses many issues related to global change, including rising carbon dioxide, rising tropospheric ozone, increasing temperatures, drought, and land-use change. He earned his master’s degree at Bradley University and his doctorate at the University of Illinois.
Speaker: Dr. Melissa Bredow, NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biology at Queen’s University
Biography: Dr. Melissa Bredow is an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow working in the Department of Biology at Queen’s University (Kingston, ON, Canada) with Dr. Jacqueline Monaghan. Melissa received an Honors Bachelor of Science from Western University (London, ON, Canada) with a specialization in Cell and Developmental Biology. As a PhD student, she worked under Dr. Virginia Walker at Queen’s University researching the freeze protective properties of antifreeze proteins in cereal grasses. Current research interests focus on plant immune signaling and understanding how stress response pathways intersect to provide tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses in complex environments.
Speaker: Dr. Ron Mittler, The Division of Plant Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and The Department of Surgery, University of Missouri School of Medicine. Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center University of Missouri.
Title: Taking stress combination to the next level: Multifactorial stress responses of plants
Biography: Research in the Mittler lab is focused on the role Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) play in the regulation of different biological processes. Three major areas of research are addressed: The ROS Wave and Ultrafast Omics Responses to Abiotic Stress, Stress Combination, and the regulation of Cell Survival and Death Pathways by Fe-S Proteins.
Speaker: Grey Monroe, Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology
Title: Drought in the nth dimension
Biography: After completing his PhD in Ecology in 2019 at Colorado State University with John McKay, Grey began a post doc working with Detlef Weigel at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. He will begin as an assistant professor at UC Davis in June 2020 where his lab will study the causes and consequences of plant climate adaptation.
Speaker: Dr. Anna O’Brien – Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto St. George
Title: The evolutionary ecology of plant-microbe interactions and global change stressors
Biography: I am currently a post doc in the Frederickson, Rochman, and Sinton labs at University of Toronto, working on how adaptation to stressors may alter interactions of plants with microbes or vice-versa. My current study system is the tiny floating freshwater angiosperm duckweed (Lemna minor), which reproduces clonally in as few as 3 days, and its microbiome. Previously, I studied plant-microbe interactions in an annual grass, the wild relatives of maize (teosinte, Zea may ssp. mexicana) at University of California Davis with thesis advisors Dr. Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra and Dr. Sharon Strauss, and close collaborator Dr. Ruairidh Sawers in Mexico (LANGEBIO-CINVESTAV, Pennsylvania State). Going further back, my undergraduate work at the University of Washington with Dr. Janneke Hille Ris Lambers explored urban stressors in conifer trees -- i.e. the plants I study have shifted in lifespan from hundreds of years to just a few days. In the future, I plan to explore how host lifespan might alter the evolutionary ecology of plant-microbe interactions under stress.
Speaker: Dr. María Rebolleda-Gómez, Postdoctoral Environmental Fellow at the Yale Institute of Biospheric Studies
Title: Eco-evolutionary dynamics of floral microbiomes
Abstract: Despite the importance of flowers for plant fitness, very little is known about the microbial communities of flowers, the factors affecting the assembly of such communities and their impacts on the plant fitness. We have some evidence that neutral processes and priority effects are important drivers of nectar-associated microbial communities. However, pollinators do not interact in the same way with every part of a flower and—from the perspective of microbes—flowers are highly heterogeneous environments. The relative importance of different dispersal mechanisms and selection due to heterogeneity in floral organs and traits remains unknown. In this talk I will introduce evidence of floral traits affecting microbial growth and establishment, and discuss how these microbial communities can affect plant fitness and adaptation.
Biography: María is an evolutionary ecologist fascinated with bacteria, fungi, and plants. She is interested in how ecological dynamics affect evolutionary pathways and how evolution transforms an organism's ecological interactions. María did her undergraduate degree at The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City. For her PhD, she studied some of the ecological dynamics shaping the evolution of multicellular organisms in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Travisano at the University of Minnesota. After her PhD, she was a Pittsburgh Ecology and Evolution Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, where she worked with Dr. Tia-Lynn Ashman to study the ecological dynamics of bacterial communities of flowers and their potential impact on plant evolution. Currently she is a Donnelley Postdoctoral Environmental Fellow at the Yale Institute of Biospheric Studies, examining the importance of community context and global warming in microbial community structure and function, and the effect of microbial interactions on plant fitness.
Speaker: Dr. Rusty Rodriguez, CEO, Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies
Biography: Rusty Rodriguez has been a leading researcher in plant-fungal symbiosis for over 25 years, working in academic, government and industry laboratories. He received his PhD in microbiology from Oregon State University, and after working as a postdoc at Cornell University became an assistant professor of plant pathology at the University of California, Riverside. He also worked with the U.S. Geological Survey, running a diverse research program on environmental issues ranging from invasive species to climate change, and most recently served as a faculty member of biology at the University of Washington. All of his research experience led him to the creation of Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies in 2012, where he works to incorporate plant-fungal symbiosis into modern agricultural practices to confer stress-tolerance to economically important crops around the world.