Hot Student Papers

Elevated temperature differently affects foliar nitrogen partitioning in seedlings of diverse Douglas fir provenances

28 Apr 2015 - 10:50am
Laura Junker taking samples from a tree seedling

Does Doug like it hot or does Doug like it cold? Ph.D. student Laura Junker (Ensminger Lab) and her collaborators recently asked this question of Douglas Fir trees in her paper “Elevated temperature differently affects foliar nitrogen partitioning in seedlings of diverse Douglas fir provenances” published in Tree Physiology. They compared the effect of elevated air temperature on two interior Douglas-fir provenances and observed that heat stress caused greater nitrogen deficiency in the provenance originating from a mesic environment than the provenance from a drier habitat.

Ecological effects of aphid abundance, genotypic variation, and contemporary evolution in plants

20 Apr 2015 - 11:00am
aphids on leaves

Genes have a long reach. It is long been appreciated that genes direct cellular processes in every living organism. It is less appreciated that genes and their evolution can affect the ecological interactions within entire communities. Graduated PhD student Nash Turley (Johnson Lab) just demonstrated this very thing in his paper: “Ecological effects of aphid abundance, genotypic variation, and contemporary evolution in plants”, published in Oecologia.  Nash examined how different genotypes of the Green Peach Aphid (Myzus persicae-top right image), their rapid evolution and the abundance of aphids together affect the performance and physiology of two plant species.

Fungal endophytes of Festuca rubra increase in frequency following long-term exclusion of rabbits

13 Apr 2015 - 11:12am
James Santangelo (left) and Nash Turley (right)

Plants have lived in close association with fungal symbionts for most of their evolutionary history on land. Some fungi are so tightly associated with plants that they only occur inside plant tissues (endophytes), being passed between generations via seeds. Do these fungi have any functional significance to the plants? Undergraduate student James Santangelo and former PhD student Dr. Nash Turley (Johnson Lab) recently addressed this question in “Fungal endophytes of Festuca rubra increase in frequency following long-term exclusion of rabbits” published in Botany. They tested the hypothesis that fungal endophytes help defend a native grass against herbivores, like rabbits.

Efficient Transposition of the Youngest MITE Family of Yellow Fever Mosquito in Yeast

30 Mar 2015 - 9:37am
mosquito

Do you have MITEs in you? The answer is almost certainly “yes” if we are talking about Miniature Inverted Repeat Transposable Elements (MITEs). MITEs are extremely abundant in plants and animals, including the genome of Yellow Fever Mosquito. Their dramatic amplification in genomes is difficult to understand because their transposase is unknown in most cases. PDFs Isam Fattash, Chia-Ni Lee and Kaiguo Mo (Yang Lab) recently addressed this problem in their paper “Efficient Transposition of the Youngest MITE Family of Yellow Fever Mosquito in Yeast” published in the FEBS Journal.  Following the recent discovery of the youngest MITE family Gnome and its elusive ancestral element, they detected efficient transposition of Gnome in yeast.

Darwinian balancing selection: Predation counters sexual selection in a wild insect

16 Mar 2015 - 4:04pm
Tree crickets

I’m too sexy for my head, too sexy for my head, so sexy I’m dead! (Adapted from Right Said Fred)

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