Keren Wu

Theme 3

Understanding microbial community and functions diversity under drought stress

Keren’s research focuses on the soil and plant microbiota response to drought stress. Water is an essential ingredient for life, necessary for basic metabolism in both micro- and macro-organisms. Despite this importance and necessity, water availability in most terrestrial ecosystems is experiencing a periodic ebb and flow due to the variability in climate. Australia is located in a subtropical area producing dry and sinking air and is often affected by drought because of its geography and rainfall changes. This research focuses on the diversity and function of microbiota in soil and plant, and explores interaction of microbiota and hosts under drought stress. The research will be studying the function of soil and plant microbiota on host growth and development, nutrient coordination and stress resistance under drought condition by the integrated strategies of metagenomics, macrotranscriptome, metabolome, molecular genetics, systems biology and so on. Keren is a PhD student on soil plant microbiomes and will be working with researchers in Theme 3.

Keren received her Masters in Agriculture from the College of Environment and Resource Sciences of Zhejiang University. Her research during the masters stage was about the combined effect of elevated CO2 and endophytic bacterium on plant growth, Cadmium accumulation and microbial community structure of hyperaccumulator Sedum alfredii. This study isolated some plant-growth-promoting endophytes and plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria from hyperaccumulator Sedum alfredii. These biological inoculants could significantly improve phytoextraction in Sedum alfredii. This study also investigated the characteristics of microbial composition and the sources of microbial variation in bulk soil, rhizosphere soil, root and phyllosphere under the condition of elevated CO2 and endophytes inoculation.

School of Agriculture, Food and Ecosystem Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne

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