Research Topic: The benefits of pre-inoculating grapevines with symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, allowing for increased establishment in vineyards
Research Location: UBC Okanagan, PARC Summerland
Research Supervisor: Dr. Miranda Hart, Dr. Pat Bowen
When grapevines are transplanted into vineyards they are subjected to many biotic and abiotic stresses, reducing the success of their establishment. My research focuses on utilizing natural occurring beneficial symbiotic fungi to increase transplant success. By exposing grapevines to beneficial arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi prior to transplanting into vineyards, I hope to reduce the stress caused by poor soil conditions and increase the resistance of grapevine seedlings to pathogens that target young vines. Using a mixture of greenhouse and field studies, I am utilizing an ecological principle to increase growth, disease resistance and stress tolerance, increasing young grapevine establishment in Okanagan valley vineyards.
Home Town: Delta, BC
Faculty/School: Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences
Program: Doctor of Philosophy in Biology
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
Throughout my undergraduate biology degree I was lucky enough to be exposed to scientific research on numerous occasions. This included working for a variety of academic and government research institutions on a wide range of biological topics. During these placements I realized how much I enjoy biological research and developed a particular interest in sustainable agricultural using ecological principles. Graduate school seemed like the next logical step in my progression towards a lifelong profession and after completing my M.Sc from UBC Okanagan I decided to continue with my doctorate research.
Why did you decide to study at UBC's Okanagan campus?
Many factors made UBC Okanagan the right fit for me. UBC Okanagan provided a unique opportunity in that it had a rapidly growing graduate program with a world class soil science research group. I knew that at UBC Okanagan I would be able to combine my interest of plant-microbe interactions with an economically important agricultural crop in grapevines. Kelowna has also always been my second hometown, where my father grew up and my grandma lived during my childhood. I knew I was moving to a place with a wonderful climate, providing good opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and ski year round, on the water in the summer and mountain in the winter.
What impact do you hope your research will have?
I hope my research will impact viticultural practices, both locally and internationally leading to the development of new sustainable management techniques for young vines. I hope to shed some light on the viability of using mycorrhizal fungi as an agricultural additive and the key factors involved in making the association as successful as possible. This research will also be applicable to other long term perennial crops such as fruit trees that are subjected to similar stresses that are found in vineyards.
Last reviewed 11/20/2015 2:35:29 PM