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Welcome to the Kennedy Lab!

The research in our lab focuses on a broad range of questions regarding the ecology and evolution of plant-microbe interactions, particularly those involving symbiotic fungi and bacteria. This work integrates across multiple disciplines: mycology and microbiology, ecology and evolution, and molecular biology and biochemistry. We combine field sampling and experiments with greenhouse and growth chamber studies to examine how both biotic and abiotic factors infuence the structure and functioning of fungal, bacterial, and plant communities.

What's new in the lab?

September 2016

Lotus won "Outstanding Student Oral Presentation" at the MSA meeting in Berkeley this summer - congrats!  

Chris and Luke gave presentations at the ESA meeting in an organized oral session of mycorrhizal fungi.  

Undegrad and recent grads Michelle, Alex, Eva, Erin, and Louis did lots of excellent research in the lab this summer.  

Peter attended a workshop in Santa Barbara focused on building a fungal traits database - stay tuned on updates for that.

It looks FUNGuild is getting more attention as a community resource as evidenced by inclusion talks at both the ESA and MSA meetings (yeah!). 2017 will include greater database coverage - new additions of soft rot fungi and dung saprotrophs this summer - and the linking FUNGuild to the UNITE database.

Collaboration with the Schilling lab at UMN continues - see the lab publications page for the link about functional roles of endophytes as priority wood colonizers!

The first paper of the Suillus-Pinaceae grant is in press at Mycologia - a massive ITS-based Suillus phylogeny - congrats Nhu!

June 2016

Lots of good stuff happening in the lab recently - a couple of long-term projects just had papers accepted/published (see lab publications page).

Lotus passed her qualifying exam - she is officially onto Ph.D. candidacy!

Michelle Coblens joined the lab as a summer research assistant. She was an undergraduate at Macalester College and is teaming up with Chris on a wide range of fungal ecology projects this summer.

Chris, Louis, and Peter deployed nearly 1000 ingrowth bags into the SPRUCE experiment to look at the dynamics of mycorrhizal fungi necromass decomposition under different global change scenarios.

Chris and Peter got seed grant funding from the Norwegian Centennial Chairs Program to collaborate with Havard Kauserad, Line Nybakken, and Mikael Olson on a new project.  Here is the abstract:

This project will investigate how plant-associated symbiotic fungi influence the storage of carbon in boreal forest soils. The work will specifically focus on how changes in soil fertility and climatic conditions influence the decomposition of dead fungal and plant biomass. Researchers at the University of Minnesota (UM), University of Olso (UIO), and Norwegian Life Sciences University (NMBU) will collaborate on a set of field-based observational and experimental studies located in both Norway and the United States. The research will leverage experimental infrastructure present in both countries and involve scientists with synergistic expertise in fungal and plant ecology, ecosystem biogeochemistry, molecular microbial identification, and bioinformatics. Collectively, the project will provide new insights into the role of plant-associated symbiotic fungi in carbon sequestration processes and how changes in resource availability and environmental conditions may mediate the belowground response of boreal forest ecosystems to climate change.

April 2016

Chris received the Mycological Society of America's Fungal Forest Ecology Post-doc Award to support his current research on the 'Gadgil effect' at Cedar Creek - congrats Chris!

Eva Carlson presented a poser of her UROP project on Quercus fine root morphology at the Univeristy of Minnesota Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Caroline Daws will be joining the lab in the fall as an incoming Ph.D. student in the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior graduate program - welcome Caroline! Craig See will also be joining the lab as a shared incoming Ph.D. student with Sarah Hobbie in EEB - welcome Craig!

Amanda Certano has rejoined the lab as the technician on the Suillus NSF grant project - welcome back Amanda!

February 2016

Lauren has just received a NSF post-doc fellowship to study the long-term effects of nitrogen deposition on fungal communities in midwest forests.  She will be co-advised with Jessica Gutknecht and use fungal collections at the Bell Museum of Natural History - congrats Lauren! 

Nhu has just accepted a tenure-track faculty position at the University of Hawaii - congrats Nhu!

January 2016

Our collaboration with Francois Rineau and other European colleagues on the protein degradation abilities of ectomycorrhizal fungi was accepted for publication at Applied and Environmental Microbiology.  Here is the .pdf - congrats Francois!

Chris' review on the decomposition dynamics of ectomycorrhizal fungal necromass is now out in Soil Biology and Biochemistry.  Nice work Chris - excited to launch new necromass work at SPRUCE and beyond.

December 2015

Eva Carlson won a UROP award to work with Luke, Matt Kaproth, Jeannine Cavender-Bares, and Peter examining variation in root traits across a diverse suite of temperate and tropical Quercus species - congrats Eva!

November 2015

The book Mycorrhizal Networks has been published, which contains a chapter by Peter, Jen Walker (former post-doc) and Laura Bogar (former undergraduate student) on the ecology of non-networking hosts.  In our chapter, we focused on Alnus-Frankia-ECM interactions and if you are unfamiliar with the lab's previous work on the topic, this chapter is a good summary.

September 2015

Lots of good stuff.  Lauren Cline joined the lab as a post-doc - welcome Lauren!  Two visiting scholars are also working with the lab - Drs. Luke McCormack and Ying Han.  Excited to have both at UMN.  The 'Gadgil Effect' review paper lead by Chris was published.  Click here to read it.  Just a few weeks later, Peter's collaboration with researchers at Oregon State University and the University of British Colombia on vertical niche partitioning among ectomycorrhizal fungi was published.  Click here to read it.

August 2015

Many members of the lab attended ICOM and gave both oral and poster presentations - well done Lotus, Chris, and Nhu!

July 2015

FUNGuild (an open-access and open-annotation tool to parse community fungal datasets into ecological guilds) is out and in press - click here for the publication.

May 2015

Congrats to undergrads Louis M, Cher Ling T, and LĂ©once S-N for successful poster presentations. Lotus received an NSF-GRFP! Congrats Lotus!! Nhu just published a paper on maximizing ecological signal vs. noise in high throughput sequencing datasets. Read it here. Chris just published a commentary in New Phytologist about moving fungal ecology beyond the black box. Read it here.