Recipients of this year’s MMS Graduate Student Scholarship will present on their studies related to mycology.
Speaker 1: Aishwarya Veerabahu
The Midas Mushroom: The Invasion of Golden Oyster Mushrooms in the Midwest.
Discussing the potential ecological impacts of an invasive wood decay fungus and thinking about responsible cultivation moving.
Aishwarya is a 1st year PhD student in Dr. Anne Pringle’s lab at UW-Madison. She studies the ecological impacts of invasive wood decay fungi and hopes to explore the science communication and environmental policy around invasive fungi.
Speaker 2: Talia Michaud
A slippery symbiosis: Have Suillus species limited nutrient availability to their hosts over the past sixty years?
Herbarium collections offer a unique and underutilized source of biological data that can help us predict forest responses to climate change. With them, we can reconstruct historical fungal and tree nutrition and test hypotheses derived from short term experiments. My preliminary doctoral research using plants and fungi collected in Minnesota over the last 150 years revealed that broadleaf trees have experienced declining nitrogen availability, while the ectomycorrhizal fungi living on their roots have not. I will be presenting research following up on this finding, focusing on Suillus fungi with highly specific relationships with trees in the Pine family. Although the ectomycorrhizal association is often characterized as a mutualism that benefits both partners, changing environmental conditions may be shifting the balance of resource exchange in favor of ectomycorrhizal fungi, ultimately contributing to shifting forest composition.
Talia Michaud developed an enduring interest in forest ecology while growing up in the foothills of rural Connecticut. She attended Mount Holyoke College for her undergraduate studies, where she fell in love with mushroom hunting and inevitably, mycorrhizal ecology. Using both observation records and physical specimens, Talia now uses a historical approach to studying mycorrhizal responses to climate change.
Club business & announcements: TBA.
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