Vanette's postdoc at Stanford extended with LSRF fellowship
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Recent graduate Rachel Vannette received a fellowship through The Life Sciences Research Foundation, funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, to continue her Stanford postdoctoral fellowship for three more years. She began the postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford with Dr. Tadashi Fukami in August 2011.
Vannette will continue her research on nectar yeast community assembly, nectar chemistry, and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. “We are studying communities of yeast and bacteria in the nectar of flowers,” she said. “These yeast and bacteria are often dispersed by pollinators, and some of these microbes can reduce plant fitness either directly or indirectly through changes in nectar chemistry and subsequent pollinator visitation. Flowers produce many antibacterial compounds that can reduce microbial growth, but a specialized group of microbes can cope with these defenses. So far, I've been examining how bacteria and yeast affect nectar chemistry. In the upcoming year, I'll be characterizing the composition of yeast species among flowers with different nectar defenses and assessing how these defenses structure yeast community composition and also their effects on pollination and plant fitness.”
"We think there could be profound implications of this research for understanding variation in plant-pollinator interactions," Vannette said. "Other aspects of this research will seek to understand if trade-offs in toxin resistance maintain diversity and structure in natural microbial communities."
Vannette's advisor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan was Professor Mark Hunter.
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