Rhizosphere-plant-microbe interactions and plant defense

The role of plant-associated microbes in regulating plant-herbivore interactions is an emerging research focus in plant science and community ecology. However, research in this area focused primarily on a few groups of plant-associated microbes such as mycorrhizae, plant-growth-promoting bacteria, and aerial obligate symbionts in grasses. The diverse endophytic fungi in roots receive far less attention and their importance in mediating plant defense, especially against root feeding insects, remains unclear. Our lab is investigating whether horizontally-transferred fungal endophytes can regulate plant defense against belowground herbivores. We are examining the effects of endophyte colonization on plant tissue chemistry as well as their influence on the production of volatile organic compounds in soils for plant indirect defense.

Postdoc position available in Bioacoustic Detection of Soil Animals

The Soil Arthropod Ecology Lab is searching for a postdoc to work on bioacoustic detection of soil animals!

Soil dwelling arthropods are diverse, and their populations are distributed heterogeneously.  Current methods for detecting and monitoring of soil arthropods are expensive and labor intensive for pest managers and scientists alike.  The primary objective of this position will be to develop methods for using bioacoustic techniques for detecting soil-dwelling invertebrates and for distinguishing acoustic signals generated by root-feeding pests, ecosystem engineers, and decomposers.   The project will entail working in the field and lab with bioacoustics equipment to characterize acoustic signals from field populations and to establish laboratory soil arenas with distinct arthropod composition to evaluate how acoustic signals change under changing soil animal structure.

The position will be housed in the Soil Arthropod Ecology Lab within the Department of Entomology, Cornell University, Cornell AgriTech, Geneva, NY 14456.  Anticipated start date for the position is Summer-Fall 2018.

Interested candidates are encouraged to contact Dr. Wickings directly at kgw37@cornell.edu.