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Bio. Sci. Seminar - Kylee H. & Angela W.

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Virtual Event

Thursday, November 5, 2020, 3 pm– 4 pm

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This is a past event.


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Kylee Hackman
MS Student
Biological Sciences
Advisor: Dr. Rupali Datta

Presentation Title: Sequestration of Cadmium and Metal Sulfides by Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus)

Abstract: Local sulfide mining releases high levels of non-biodegradable pollutants and heavy metals into the environment. High concentrations of cadmium, nickel, and copper, are readily released and mobilized under the acidic conditions created by the oxidation of sulfur. Metals enter the tissues of mushrooms and pose a risk to local foragers. Innovative strategies to mitigate these impacts includes bioremediation, a low risk and low cost solution. Mycoremediation is the use of fungi to extract and degrade pollutants from contaminated soils, sediments, and waterways. The Pluteus mushroom species has been shown to remediate substrates laden with these metals. This experiment will test the uptake of metals by the Pluteus mushrooms in woody substrates containing varying concentrations of cadmium (II) and nickel (II) sulfide. Growth conditions of the mushrooms and visual health will be measured. Upon mushroom fruit harvest, metal quantitative uptake will be determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). This study will help gain insight into the effects of metal sulfides on oyster mushrooms and the possibility of mycoremediation as a treatment for mine tailings. 

Angela Walczyk
PhD Student
Biological Sciences
Advisor: Dr. Erika Hersch-Green

Presentation Title: Impacts of Nutrient and Water Limitations on the Photosynthetic and Growth Performance of Diploid and Polyploid Solidago gigantea (Giant Goldenrod)

Abstract: Polyploidy (whole genome duplication) results in genetic, physiological, and morphological changes that play an important role in facilitating intra- and interspecific variation in angiosperm species, while also incurring elemental and energetic costs that could select against polyploids in unfavorable environmental conditions. Theoretical models predict that nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) requirements scale with genome size and pose a functional limitation to large genome sized plants when nutrients are scarce. Recent field and greenhouse studies support this hypothesis by demonstrating that organisms with larger genomes are (1) more prominent in nutrient enriched environments and (2) experience growth and fitness enhancements when grown in high versus low nutrient conditions. However, the mechanisms underlying these responses remain unclear and it is likely that these responses vary based on the availability of other essential abiotic factors. Photosynthesis is an elementally demanding process that requires large amounts of N, P, and water to maintain optimal plant productivity and growth. Photosynthetic capacity could be affected by two potential attributes of polyploidy: increased N and P demands and increased cell sizes. Alterations in stomata density and/or size following increases in minimum cell size associated with whole genome duplication could influence gas exchange and transpiration rates, potentially leading to differences in photosynthetic abilities between diploids and polyploids in water limited environments. Studies have investigated the effects of nutrient and water limitation separately, but less is known about combined abiotic interactions on cytotype (e.g. diploid, polyploid) performance. The objective of this study is to determine if polyploids have different photosynthetic and growth responses to changes in the nutrient environment and if these changes are dependent on the availability of water. To address this goal, diploid and tetraploid individuals of the allopolyploid species Solidago gigantea were grown in a greenhouse under four water: nutrient regimes (low:low, low:high, high:low, high:high) where stomatal characteristics, growth traits, transpiration rate, water use efficiency, and photosynthetic capacity were measured. Initial results from analyses that test for differences based on the individual and combined effects of ploidy level, water availability, and/or nutrient availability will be discussed. This study will be one of the few exploring how multiple abiotic factors influence the photosynthetic performance of polyploids versus diploids, and will expand our understanding of the environmental factors that could have been a driving force in the diversification and evolution of angiosperms. 

All Bio. Sci. Seminars will be virtual and recorded.

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