Phone: (309) 681-6589
Fax: (309) 681-6672
USDA ARS NCAUR
1815 N University St.
Peoria IL 61604
Dr. Whitaker received her PhD in Ecology from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN in 2018 where she studied the ecology of phyllosphere microbiota in both agricultural and wild plants. Dr. Whitaker completed a post-doctoral position at North Carolina State University from 2018-2020 where she studied the landscape ecology of foliar fungi in wheat, corn, soy, and switchgrass crop hosts. Her work in this system combined large-scale field campaigns to culture and identify fungi living in leaves, next generation sequencing of foliar fungi from field sites located across diverse soil and climate types of North Carolina, and plant physiology measurements to better understand the links between plant health and microbiome communities in North Carolina crops. At NCAUR, Dr. Whitaker will be responsible for identifying effective inoculation mechanisms, in the lab and field, for plant growth promoting microbiota in wheat and barley and will additionally work to enable farmers to use these microbial partners to fight Fusarium Head Blight and other diseases in small grain hosts.
Click to Access my publications
Improving Food Safety by Controlling Mycotoxin Contamination and Enhancing Climate Resilience of Wheat and Barley In-House Appropriated (D) Accession Number:438642
Bakker, M.G., Whitaker, B.K., McCormick, S.P., Ainsworth, E.A., Vaughan, M.M. 2023. Manipulating atmospheric CO2 concentration induces shifts in wheat leaf and spike microbiomes and in Fusarium pathogen communities. Frontiers in Microbiology. 14. Article 1271219. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2023.1271219.
Whitaker, B.K., Heiniger, R.W., Hawkes, C.V. 2023. Foliar fungal communities in agroecosystems depend on crop identity and neighboring vegetation. Frontiers in Microbiomes. 2. Article 1216462. https://doi.org/10.3389/frmbi.2023.1216462.
Proctor, R.H., Hao, G., Kim, H.-S., Whitaker, B.K., Laraba, I., Vaughan, M.M., McCormick, S.P. 2022. A novel trichothecene toxin phenotype associated with horizontal gene transfer and a change in gene function in Fusarium. Toxins. 15(1). Article 12. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15010012.
Whitaker, B.K., Vaughan, M.M., McCormick, S.P. 2023. Biocontrol impacts on wheat physiology and Fusarium head blight outcomes are bacterial endophyte strain and cultivar specific. Phytobiomes Journal. 7(1):55-64. https://doi.org/10.1094/PBIOMES-08-22-0056-R.
O'Donnell, K., Whitaker, B.K., Laraba, I., Proctor, R.H., Brown, D.W., Broders, K., Kim, H.-S., McCormick, S.P., Busman, M., Aoki, T., Torres-Cruz, T.J., Geiser, D.M. 2022. DNA sequence-based identification of Fusarium: A work in progress. Plant Disease. 106(6):1597-1609. https://doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-09-21-2035-SR.
Torres-Cruz, T.J., Whitaker, B.K., Proctor, R.H., Broders, K., Laraba, I., Kim, H.-S., Brown, D.W., O'Donnell, K., Estrada-Rodriguez, T.L., Lee, Y.-H., Cheong, K., Wallace, E.C., McGee, C.T., Kang, S., Geiser, D.M. 2022. FUSARIUM-ID v.3.0: An updated, downloadable resource for Fusarium species identification. Plant Disease. https://doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-09-21-2105-SR.
Whitaker, B.K., Giauque, H., Timmerman, C., Birk, N., Hawkes, C.V. 2021. Local plants, not soils, are the primary source of foliar fungal community assembly in a C4 grass. Microbial Ecology. 84:122–130. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00248-021-01836-2.
Zaret, M.M., Bauer, J.T., Clay, K., Whitaker, B.K. 2021. Conspecific leaf litter induces negative feedbacks in Asteraceae seedlings. Ecology. 102(12). Article e03557. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3557.
Whitaker, B.K., Qling, C., Christian, N., Clay, K., Hawkes, C.V., Reynolds, H. 2021. Host genetic by environment interactions in crop and wild plant microbiomes [abstract].
Vaughan, M.M., Kemp, N., Whitaker, B.K., Bakker, M.G., McCormick, S.P. 2020. Identification of a bacterial-fungal association that silences Fusarium graminearum virulence [abstract].