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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Research » Research » Research Project #430754

Research Project: Dynamical Interactions Between Plant and Oomycete Biodiversity in a Temperate Forest

Location: Horticultural Crops Research

Project Number: 2072-22000-041-09-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2015
End Date: Aug 31, 2019

Objective:
The specific aims of the project are designed to gather sets of data needed to test a specific set of predictions from the hypotheses listed above: 1. Assess species abundance and genetic diversity of plant populations at the Wind River site, over each of four years. Herbaceous plants and seed traps will be examined as well as woody trees and shrubs. This will build on an already extensive set of data. 2. Using meta-barcoding and culturing, assess species and genetic diversity of plant-associated populations of oomycetes at the Wind River site, sampling from litter, soil and water run-off, and from roots, leaves and stems of healthy, symptomatic and dying plants. 3. Assess functional interactions between selected oomycete isolates and plant hosts using greenhouse inoculation studies, multi-year surveys of plant mortality, and oomyceticide treatment of field plots. 4. Assess genomic and transcriptomic diversity of selected pathogen isolates to examine potential molecular mechanisms for functional diversity. 5. Synthesize the data from aims 1 to 4 to test detailed predictions from our hypotheses regarding the dynamic interactions between oomycetes and plant populations at the Wind River site. 6. Train the next generation of molecular ecologists through multi-year participation in the project by a graduate student, a post doc and numerous undergraduates. Undergraduate researchers will receive research experiences and summer training in field ecology, genomics and bioinformatics.

Approach:
This project will determine the role oomycete plant pathogens play in structuring host plant communities using the Wind River LTER site as a model system. Specifically, our interdisciplinary team will: 1) assess species abundance and genetic diversity of plant populations; 2) assess species and genetic diversity of plant-associated populations of oomycetes; 3) Assess functional interactions between selected oomycete isolates and plant hosts using greenhouse inoculation studies; 4) Assess genomic and transcriptomic diversity of selected pathogen isolates to examine potential molecular mechanisms for functional diversity; 5) train the next generation of molecular ecologists through multi-year participation in the project by a graduate student, a post doc and numerous undergraduates.