Earlier this month we held our autumn MMPRNT meeting that featured some great presentations and discussions about the project. We had special guest talks from Jim Moran (PNNL) about tracking rhizosphere processes and Phil Robertson (KBS/MSU) about the new GLBRC. Special thanks to Jim Moran, Phil Robertson, Jim Tiedje, and members of Ashley Shade’s and Greg Bonito’s labs for taking part!
On August 11th, our research technician, Daniela, gave a presentation to a group of Michigan K-12 teachers about the MMPRNT project. Graduate students at KBS organized a workshop for teachers to learn about current research and for professional development. Daniela spoke about the importance of understanding nitrogen cycling in biofuel cropping systems, field sampling, and new experiments that we will be conducting in the lab. These new experiments include a 13C pulse-chase experiment to see how switchgrass influences its microbiome through root exudation. In one of the photos, you can see Daniela demonstrating how we insert ion exchange resins into the soil to determine nitrate and ammonium concentrations and accumulation rates. The presentation concluded with a quick tour of the three sampling plot types at our Lux Arbor field site: switchgrass, restored prairie, and historical vegetation.