Emeritus faculty
Plant and Microbial Biology


Research interests

A major goal of the research of my laboratory group is the study of mycorrhizal and plant factors involved in roadside restorations of prairies and wetlands. Prairie ecosystems are typified by low nutrient availability, and many of the dominant plant community members are obligate mycorrhizal plants. Consequently, when prairie restoration efforts are undertaken, it is important to consider the availability of mycorrhizal fungi in the area to be restored. For example, prairie restoration along roadsides occurs on soil that has been highly disturbed and frequently stockpiled for long periods of time. These conditions greatly reduce the inoculum potential of soil and may make reestablishment of desirable plant species difficult. To improve the situation, one alternative is to introduce externally produced mycorrhizal inoculum to the target area (see Smith et al. below).

Although prescribed burning is an established management technique for tallgrass prairies, few studies have examined the long-term effects of fire on prairie vegetation in restored or roadside prairies. Even fewer studies have examined the influence of mowing on prairie plants, despite its potential as an alternative management tool. Our goal is to determine whether mowing could be a viable alternative to burning for managing roadside prairies in Minnesota.

Selected publications

Avis, P.G. and Charvat, I. 2005. The response of ectomycorrhizal fungal inoculum to long-term increases in nitrogen supply. Mycologia, 97(2):329-37.

Pawlowska, T.E. and Charvat, I. 2004. Heavy-metal stress and developmental patterns of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 70(11):6643-9.

Tix, D. and I. Charvat (2003) Spring haying as an alternative to spring burnig on a reconstructed roadside prairie. Proceedings of 18th North American Prairie Conference. 18: 58-62.

Pawlowska, T. E. and I. Charvat. 2002. Influence of Edaphic and Environmental Factors on Arbuscular Mycorrhizae. In A.K. Sharma and B.N. Johri, eds., Arbuscular Mycorrhizae Interactions in Plants, Rhizosphere and Soils. Science Publishers, Inc. Enfield (NH), U.S.A.

Tang, F., J.A. White and I. Charvat. 2001. The effect of phosphorus availability on arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization on Typha angustifolia. Mycologia. 93 (6): 1042-1047.

Pawlowska, T., R. Chaney, M. Chen and I. Charvat. 2000. Effects of heavy metals on arbuscular mycorrhizae at a land fill site. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 66 (6): 2526-2530.

White, J. and I. Charvat. 1999. The mycorrhizal status of an emergent aquatic, Lythrum salicaria L., at different levels of phosphorus availability. Mycorrhiza 9(4): 191-197.

Pawlowska, T., D. Douds, and. I. Charvat. 1999. In vitro propagation and life cycle of an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus etunicatum. Mycological Research 103(12): 1549-1556.

Smith, M.R., I. Charvat, and R. Jacobson. 1998. Arbuscular mycorrhizae promote establishment of prairie species in a tallgrass prairie restoration. Canadian Journal of Botany 76: 1947-1954.

Stenlund, D. L. and I. Charvat. 1994. Vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae in floating wetland mat communities dominated by Typha. Mycorrhiza 4:131-137.

Meier, R., and I. Charvat. 1993. Reassessment of Tetrazolium Bromide as a viability stain for spores of vesicular- arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Am. J. Botany 80(9):1007-1015.