The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department has been working hard and monitoring, as well as planning, for COVID-19/Coronavirus and the safety of the UCLA community. We understand that we live in very uncertain times and, with news about the virus changing rapidly, it is hard to digest everything we are reading and hearing from all of the different news outlets. Please know the department is committed to working in everyone’s best interest—students, faculty, staff, and community at large.

We have been mandated by the Chancellor’s Office that there be no hosting of any in-person event/gathering/meeting, of any size, during the duration of Spring quarter 2020. With this, all departmental seminars are canceled for the quarter. We are looking to reschedule speakers in the upcoming academic year. We appreciate your understanding at this time.

January 23, 2020

12:00pm The Hershey Hall Grand Salon, Room 158, Hershey Hall

Michael Van Nuland
Department of Biology, Stanford University

" Symbioses and species ranges: Plant-microbe dynamics and the structure of terrestrial ecosytems "

Interactions between plants and associated microbial communities help regulate important ecosystem processes. Plant root symbionts (e.g., mycorrhizal fungi) form widespread mutualisms with large effects on soil nutrient cycles and are critical to the productivity and stress tolerance of many terrestrial plant species. However, understanding the geographical links between microbial diversity, plant range dynamics, and ecosystem functioning remains a major research frontier, particularly in systems threatened by intensifying global change pressures. In this seminar, I examine: 1) the mechanisms affecting how different mycorrhizal fungi expand plant niche dimensions across soil resource gradients, 2) whether changes in mycorrhizal fungal communities correspond to the climatic breadth and range limits of dominant plant species, and 3) how soil microbial heterogeneity may alter the climate-driven range shifts of plants towards higher elevations. Together, this research highlights how patterns of microbial diversity impact plant ecological niches and the importance of considering such above-belowground linkages for predicting community and ecosystem responses to environmental change.

Host: Michael Alfaro