Belowground organisms influence pollinator behavior. Soil communities are extremely diverse, and when their interactions with plants influence floral characteristics, they have the potential to alter pollinator attraction and visitation, but plant–pollinator interactions have been neglected in studies of the direct and indirect effects of soil organism–root interactions.
Our research will explore these belowground interactions, focusing on the effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and their effects on floral traits, specifically on strawberry plants. We will explore these interactions on small diversified farms who employ a range of farm
management practices. This study will further our understanding of ecological processes between soil microbes, plants, and pollinators that can inform land management strategies in agriculture and conservation biology.
Undergraduate students will be mostly involved in field work collecting various pollinator traits measurements (floral display, pollen and nectar composition, and fruit and seed set) and soil composition measurements (nutrients and mycorrhizal colonization) throughout the project. This an excellent opportunity for students interested in gaining experience in applied science and field ecology research in agricultural systems.
Interest in plant ecology, soil science, microbial ecology, and agroecology. Past experience in field work is good but not required.
Must be available some weekends for field work in Fresno.