Please join us for the exit seminar of our MS student, Beant Kapoor, on July 6th, Monday at 10:00 am using the link below. His research project focusses on the characterization of the microbiome of flowering dogwood trees following a prescribed burn treatment.
Prescribed fire is a critical management tool that influences forest physical structure and biological composition in the southeastern United States. Management via prescribed burning reduces fuel accumulation and the probability of wildfire, recycles nutrients to soil, and minimizes the spread of insect pests and diseases. How prescribed fire can affect the microbiome of regionally nativeCornus florida, which is economically and ecologically valued, is not well understood. The objective of this study was to evaluate shifts in fungal and bacterial communities ofC. floridain five different habitats that occur following a prescribed fire event. Bacterial and fungal communities across five niches from 20C. floridatrees were characterized using 16S and ITS2 rRNA gene analyses. Our results indicate that prescribed burn had variable effects on bacterial and fungal species richness or diversity of different niches as these niches are located at different proximities in respect to the burn treatment. However, these metrics did differ significantly between 2018 and 2019 suggesting that the effects of prescribed fire on the phytobiome are short-lived inC. floridatrees. The relative abundance of ectomycorrhizal species decreased while that of saprotrophic fungi increased in roots niche following prescribed burn event. Further studies will be required to determine if this would have any consequences on the stability of mycorrhizal symbioses inC. floridatrees.