KBS Assistant Professor Dr. Jen Lau recently published research from a study she co-authored with Dr. Katy Heath and Christie Klinger of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The research was conducted at KBS’s Long-Term Ecological Research site, and the article, “Ecological genomics of mutualism decline in nitrogen-fixing bacteria,” was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
The study explored the effects of nitrogen fertilizer on rhizobia on the genetic level. Specifically, the researchers examined the effects of nitrogen fertilizer on legumes at the KBS LTER, finding that the fertilizer lessened the benefits of rhizobia to plants, based on what they saw in one key region of the genome that allows for the nitrogen to be “fixed” into ammonium.
Dr. Jen Lau is a professor at KBS and in Michigan State University’s Department of Plant Biology. She is an evolutionary ecologist who studies the ways in which plant communities respond to changing environmental conditions.