Research Introduction

Our research group studies aspects of epiphytic bacteria that live on healthy plants' surfaces, emphasizing bacteria active in ice nucleation, causing frost damage to plants. We also study plant pathogenic bacteria that inhabit plant surfaces before infection. We use molecular genetic and ecological approaches to study how epiphytic bacteria interact with other microorganisms on plants, and with the plants on which they live. We seek to better understand adaptations epiphytic bacteria have evolved to exploit this unique habitat.

Molecular and ecological studies of plant-associated bacteria.

Bacterial cells on corn leaf surround stomate
Our research group has focused on the molecular microbial ecology of plant-associated bacteria.

Studies of the nature of leaf surfaces

To better understand those traits bacteria require for growth and survival on leaves we have done extensive work to address the nature of the "microhabitats" in which bacteria live on leaves.