Student mentored by Forest Service scientist receives honor for research poster
Mareli Sanchez, a Puerto Rican undergraduate student from Woford College, was trained by Forest Service scientist D. Jean Lodge in research on nutrient uptake by fungi that form beneficial symbioses with roots (mycorrhizae). Sanchez and Lodge developed a new approach for measuring nutrient uptake by trees in a forest setting and showed that uptake of phosphorus by mycorrhizal fungi from root-litter mats is related to the length of mycorrhizal fungal hyphae and not the length of fine tree roots. Sanchez and Lodge applied a low-concentration phosphate solution, used shallow lysimeter plates below the root-litter mats to measure phosphorus flowing out, rain exclosures to prevent subsequent leaching, and pre- and post-treatment analyses of litter phosphorus concentrations. They measure roots using a root scanner and measured mycorrhizal fungal hyphae using a microscope. Sanchez presented a poster about their research at the July 2017 Mycological Society of America meeting in Athens, Georgia, and was awarded a prize for the Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation.. Sanchez went on to an internship at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and has accepted a doctoral fellowship at Tulane University.
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