EEB graduate student Amanda Meier received the EEB/Matthaei Botanical Gardens Research Award.

“I am investigating how arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi influence the aboveground interactions between milkweed plants, monarch caterpillars, and aphids by altering milkweed plant chemistry,” said Meier. “Understanding the intricacies of these interactions may improve ecological restoration efforts by evaluating the contributions of particular mycorrhizal fungal species present in the soil. Also, by understanding how mycorrhizae function in the interactions between insect herbivores and their natural enemies, we may be able to use mycorrhizal fungi to improve pest management while increasing nutrient uptake and stress tolerance of crop plants.”

Funds from EEB and endowments at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens are available to support greenhouse or field research by graduate students at the botanical gardens. Meier received just over $1100.  Meier’s advisor is Professor Mark Hunter.