Plant Resource Reallocation and Mycorrhizae

*The Effect of the Mycorrhizae and Herbivory on Secondary Chemical Production in Tomato Plants (Summer 2011). Under a post-doctoral, candidate Dr. Selena Ahmed, who was essential in my development as an independent researcher, I analyzed the samples from the mycorrhizae project, but measured levels of secondary chemicals. These chemicals are toxic and/or bitter, so they are produced during herbivory and are made from the same resources mycorrhizae use and that are reallocated. I researched, chose, and tested Folin-Chiacalteau Total Phenolic (FC) assays to determine the method that extracts the most phenolics. I also tested different variables like multiple extractions, temperature, time vortexing, and concentration, and developed the final method. I analyzed the samples with this method and analyzed the data using a statistics program, SPSS.

The Effect of the Mycorrhizae and Herbivory on the Reallocation of Resources in Tomato plants (Spring 2011). A previous study determined that when attacked, plants can move resources like sugar, starch, and protein out of their leaves and into storage tissue in the stem and roots. Since mycorrhizae acquire sugar from plants in exchange for increased access to water and other nutrients, plants were infected with mycorrhizae and resources were measured after a simulated herbivory treatment to determine whether mycorrhizae affect the reallocation of resources. I performed a sugar assay on the prepared samples.

*NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Fellowship

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