Year(s) at RMBL:
University of Minnesota, Morris
Area of Study:
Community Ecology. At RMBL—fungal endophytes, housed in the aboveground
parts of grasses, that can offer protection from herbivores and help the grasses handle drought.
At Morris—management of restored prairie for ecosystem services and maximum biomass yield.
Why I support RMBL:
This place is full of good things. There is a buzz of forward-thinking people, and people are eager to ask questions and listen to your findings or stories. Inquiry occurs at all levels—from seven-year-olds standing on their tiptoes to get a better look at a marmot to research veterans and PhD’s asking “what comes next?” in long-term studies—yet the best part is that the “levels” blur and overlap.
My summer research experience was fabulous: I built solid relationships both with peers and my REU mentor, literally climbed mountains for the first time, and embarked on a massive survey project that is still ongoing. I am thankful for the experiences, the place, and the people, and want the resources and opportunity to be ready for those who come after me. What better way to make sure the “RMBL spirit” keeps "rmbling" in the world than to donate to support research and education at RMBL?
What I did last summer:
I was a student in the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates Program. Another undergraduate student, Will Hendricks, and I worked with Dr. Jennifer Rudgers. Will and I did a survey of grasses and their fungal symbionts to see how the frequencies of the fungi within grass populations changed with elevation and other associated factors like soil moisture and soil nutrients. We climbed mountains to collect grass samples at the peak and other sites in descending elevation and made lots of microscope slides from plant material to look for the fungus.
Random RMBL Connection:
There is no better way to understand the importance of RMBL and the work conducted there than to encounter it in the “real world.” In the short time since I was in Gothic, I have been excited to stumble upon RMBL research in scientific journal articles and even in my Evolution textbook!