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New paper from the Zak lab

Peter Pelliter, recent PhD from SEAs, has recently published a paper, titled “Coupled shifts in ectomycorrhizal communities and plant uptake of organic nitrogen along a soil gradient: An isotopic perspective”, which is out online on Ecosystems. The study characterized the ECM communities and various N pools (d15N) in an inorganic N gradient in soil to investigate if there any linkages between ECM community composition, N-SOM acquisition and foliar d15N. It can be found here ...
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Wes Bickford’s paper is out!

Wes Bickford, recent PhD from EEB, has recently published a paper, titled “Differences in rhizosphere microbial communities between native and non‐native Phragmites australis may depend on stand density”, which is out online at Ecology and Evolution. The paper compares the rhizosphere soil microbiome, including bacteria, fungi and oomycetes, and the environmental conditions of a native and non-native Phragmites australis to explore the role of these communities and their influence on the invasiveness these plant lineages. It can be found here ...
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Welcome Jennifer!

This fall we are welcoming a new student – Jennifer Wen! She recently graduated from UM from Program in the Environment and will be pursuing an MS in the Soils lab. She is interested in interactions between soil, plants and microbes and their influence on ecosystem health, so a super good fit for the lab. Welcome Jennifer! ...
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Don Zak named a Distinguished University Professor

Don has been named to one of the University of Michigan’s top honors – a Distinguished University Professor, specifically as the Alexander H. Smith Distinguished University Professor of Ecology. In his nomination, Rackham Graduate School Dean Michael Solomon wrote that “Professor Zak is one of the nation’s foremost ecologists, and the world leader in the study of soil microbial communities.” The Distinguished University Professorships were created to “recognize senior faculty with exceptional scholarly or creative achievements” and each professorship is named by the appointed professor. Read the announcement here. Congratulations Don! ...
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Congrats Peter!

Congratulations to Peter Pellitier for completing and defending his dissertation, Ectomycorrhizal fungi differentially obtain N derived from soil organic matter: implications for community assembly and forest response to climate change on June 29th. Thanks to his committee for all their support, especially during this time, Don Zak (chair), Deborah Goldberg, Ines Ibáñez and Tim James. Peter has already published several manuscripts from his work here and the other chapters are in review. Peter will be moving (relatively) closer to his native land of Oregon since he has accepted a post-doc position in Kabir Peay’s lab at Stanford. We all wish you well as you journey on. Congrats to Dr. Peter Pellitier! ...
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Don Zak named ESA Fellow

Don has been named as a 2020 Ecological Society of America Fellow (announced here). This fellowship recognizes ESA members who have made “outstanding contributions to … ecological knowledge”. They are elected for life come from all fields of science that are connected to ESA. One other UM Faculty was elected this year and two other faculty to the Early Career Fellows (see here). The ESA announcement states that Don was “Elected for his pioneering research and leadership in microbial, ecosystem, and global change ecology that have revolutionized our understanding of how ecosystems acquire and cycle nutrients, and for his outstanding service as a mentor who selflessly supports and enhances the work of others in the field.” In other words, they recognize Don for, well, being Don. Congrats Don! ...
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Congrats Wes!

Congratulations to Wes Bickford for successfully defending his dissertation, Plant invasions and microbes: the interactive effects of plant-associated microbes on invasiveness of Phragmites australis, in December. Also congrats to his committee Deborah Goldberg (co-chair), Don Zak (co-chair), Ines Ibáñez, Tim James and Kurt P. Kowalski (USGS). Wes has been one of the busiest grad students I know. While doing research for his PhD, he continued to work at USGS, had to keep up with all the gossip in two separate labs and managed to have two beautiful children during his tenure. He is now back to a full-time position at USGS in the Great Lakes Science Center, and everyone in the Soils lab wishes you the best as you move forward. Congrats to Dr. Wes Bickford! ...
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Goodbye Danielle!

Danielle Snow, who has been working alongside us in the Zak lab for a little over a year now, is finally settling into being in the USGS at the Great Lakes office. Fun fact, she’s actually been working two jobs as she was hired for a full-time position in August, so I’m glad she’ll have a chance to catch her breath a bit. Her work during her time here went the full gamut from field work to greenhouse to extractions to qpcr. That’s a lot for a year-ish. While she may have started out as affiliate from USGS to help Wes move the work along, she integrated so well in the lab that we totally claimed her as one of ours. We’ll miss you (and your cookies) but we wish you well! ...
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