John Stark Ph.D., Utah State University
Interactions between plants and soil microorganisms may: take many forms and are not limited to the close symbiotic relationships that we often associate with this topic. Plants may modify the soil physical environment, making it more or less favorable for microbial activity. Conversely, soil microbes may stimulate or inhibit r.lant growth by releasing or tying up plant available nutrients. In this seminar, I will aiscuss two of my recent researcli proJects: One examines the effects of an exotic invasive grass (cneatgrass) on soil microbial activity and nutrient cycling, and the other examines the effects of “hydraulic lift” by sagebrush plant roots in stimulating nutrient release bY. soil microbes and increasing pfant-nutrient acquisition during fhe dry summer months. Both of these projects have important implications regarding the effects of global change.