Colin Averill completed an undergraduate degree in Biology at Boston University, Boston MA USA, and a PhD in Ecology, Evolution and behavior at the University of Texas at Austin, USA. During his graduate career he was awarded a U.S. National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, and multiple outstanding publication awards for the Ecological Society of America for his contributions to soil ecology and biogeochemistry. He currently holds a U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate and Global Change postdoctoral fellowship to study how mycorrhizal fungi mediate carbon climate interactions from molecular to global scales.
Mycorrhizal fungi form a symbiosis with the roots of most trees on Earth. These fungi can connect link trees via common mycorrhizal networks, mediating strong positive interactions between different species. Yet, diversity in in the types of mycorrhizal fungi and how they engage with soil resources can also mediate strong negative interactions across fungal networks. In this seminar I will present evidence demonstrating how soil microbial - mycorrhizal interactions at the molecular scale can alter soil conditions with effects that ripple up to the ecosystem scale. Furthermore, understanding the nature of these interactions may be critical for forecasting future distributions of forests on Earth, the capacity of forests to sequester CO2 and in turn future states of the Earth's climate.