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Friday Philosophicals - Fall Semester 2020

Friday Philosophicals with Tyler Watson and Noor Saeed Cheema

Tyler Watson : Investigating mycelial-plant biomass mat application to reduce early-colonizing weeds in row-crop agriculture and Noor Saeed Cheema: Manipulating the root mycobiome to improve plant performance and reduce pathogen pressure in corn (Zea mays).

Friday Philosophicals run most Fridays by Zoom (check the schedule). Seminars start at 3:30 pm and are expected to end by 4:20 pm.

October 30, 2020

Tyler Watson: Investigating mycelial-plant biomass mat application to reduce early-colonizing weeds in row-crop agriculture

Tyler Watson photoSupervisor: Dr. Greg Thorn

Properties of mycelia such as density, hardiness, and adaptability have led to recent application in industrial forms. This project suggests this utility may extend to weed control in agriculture. I will determine if an application of a fungal-crop residue mat can function as an effective weed control as an alternative to traditional herbicide regimens in agriculture. I will determine candidate fungal species and correct slurry mixture for application. Following slurry application, I will investigate weed emergence through direct stalk counts, as well as effects on the crops or surrounding soil by measuring crop biomass at termination as well as soil pH and nutrient availability. This will be done initially in a controlled greenhouse setting, before expanding to agricultural field trials, more accurately replicating a real-world environment. If successful, this approach offers the opportunity to make a novel use of crop waste, simultaneous reducing costs and environmental impacts on current weed-reduction methods, providing both economic benefit and improved agricultural sustainability.

Noor Saeed Cheema: Manipulating the root mycobiome to improve plant performance and reduce pathogen pressure in corn (Zea mays)

Noor Saeed Cheema photoSupervisor: Dr. Greg Thorn

Crop rotation is a system where crops are rotated annually in consistent sequence. Commonly, local crop rotations often feature corn, soybeans, and wheat. These practices have been shown to effectively reduce pests, weeds, and disease cycles, while simultaneously increasing crop yield. Crop rotation effects the soil chemistry, and the soil microbes present. Manipulation of the micro- and myco-biomes could potentially reduce pathogen pressure and increase yield. However, the identification of an organism that can induce these effects must be determined first. In 10 farm fields in Southwestern Ontario, our industrial partner, A&L Biologicals, has confirmed historic yield differences in crops of the corn, soybean, and wheat rotation. From the 10 farm fields, root-associated fungi were identified from corn root samples by metabarcoding based on ribosomal DNA sequences, and a suite of fungi was isolated in culture and identified. The objective of my research is to investigate how selected fungal isolates affect plant performance, soil chemistry, and root mycobiome in corn (Zea mays). The ability to manipulate the mycobiome to improve crop health has potential agroecology applications.

Schedule for the Fall Term 2020

Seminar   Date First Speaker Title Second Speaker Title
30-Oct-20 Tyler Watson Investigating mycelial-plant biomass mat application to reduce early-colonizing weeds in row crop agriculture Noor Saeed Cheema Manipulating the root mycobiome to improve plant performance and reduce pathogen pressure in corn (Zea mays)
6-Nov-20 Reading Week
13-Nov-20 Colleen Wardlaw TBA Erica Stroud Short-term vs. long-term responses of soils to warming and nitrogen addition in a temperate old field
20-Nov-20 - TBA - TBA
27-Nov-20 Kevin Park TBA Dariusz Wojtaszek Migratory connectivity of hunted northern pintails.
4-Dec-20 Vonica Flear TBA Jeff Martin TBA
11-Dec-20 Garth Casbourn TBA Rebecca Howe Effects of experimental malaria infection on migration by Yellow-rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata)
22-Jan-21 - TBA - TBA
29-Jan-21 Zach Balzer Molecular Correlates to Kinship and Invasiveness in Urban-Dwelling Termites Zachary Anderson TBA
5-Feb-21 Breanna Craig Long term vs. transient plant responses to warming and nitrogen addition in a temperate old field Shayla Kroeze Using genetics to inform conservation of the endangered Mottled Duskywing
12-Feb-21 Reading Week
19-Feb-21 Marnie Demand Cadmium uptake in plants as influenced by selenium uptake and sulphate availability Liam Brown Resist! Investigating the response of the soil bacterial mobilome to long-term exposure of macrolide antibiotics
26-Feb-21 Pok Man Paul Wan TBA Jacob Lasci Evaluating forage niches of Lake Huron salmonids
5-Mar-21 Patricia Rokitnicki Age effects on migration Samuel Rycroft Freezing tolerance of herbaceous legumes in the northern temperate zone: are legumes disproportionately sensitive to freezing?
12-Mar-21 Andrew Chaulk TBA Kevin Park TBA
19-Mar-21 Michael Bonneville The evolution of genomic architecture of organelle plasmids Jessica Stokes-Rees Soil Insect Biodiversity
26-Mar-21 Marianna Wallace TBA Nikita Frizzelle Human-induced fear behaviours of impala (Aepyceros melampus) in the APNR
2-Apr-21 Andrew Pitek TBA Nicole Melzer Replant disease: the effects of the soil microbial community on the growth of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
9-Apr-21 Christian Buchanan-Fraser Post-breeding movement and survival of adult and First-year Bank Swallows in the Great Lakes ecoregion Colleen Wardlaw TBA
16-Apr-21 Carlos Barreto Global Change Effects on Detrital Food Webs Claire Bottini TBA