Recruitment of Microbes to Seeds of an Ethnobotanically Important Restoration Plant (Prosopis velutina): Land Use History and Student Engagement
AuthorKissell, Desirae E.
AdvisorArnold, A. E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractChanges in regional priorities, cultural practices, soil quality, economic challenges, and climate can lead to the abandonment of agricultural lands. Revegetation of post-agricultural lands is vital to prevent further soil degradation and encourage re-establishment of native species. Historically mesquite forests were an abundant riparian plant community in the American Southwest; however, mesquite forests have declined for diverse reasons. Restoration of degraded lands with velvet mesquite has the potential not only to improve soil health but to assist in preserving the heritage of cultural landscapes. Indigenous communities in Southwestern Arizona traditionally have relied heavily on velvet mesquite for many applications. In part due to the adoption of a western diet and a concomitant decrease in consumption of indigenous foods, these indigenous communities have the highest prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in the nation. Products of plants like mesquite have hypoglycemic effects, controlling blood glucose levels and increasing insulin sensitivity, thus helping to control diabetes while also serving as a cultural touchstone for Indigenous peoples. This thesis focuses on use of velvet mesquite for the restoration of abandoned agricultural land from a social-ecological resilience perspective. I first describe a field experiment in which my colleagues and I evaluated microbial recruitment of seeds to velvet mesquite, with results that provide insight into how microbial communities relevant to seed success may vary seasonally and between post-agricultural and less-impacted riparian soil. My colleagues and I then translate the concepts of my research through an outreach module to engage young, diverse students in plant-microbiome science. With this outreach module, we aim to dispel current stereotypes about scientists while contributing to equitable and inclusive scientific communication.
Degree ProgramGraduate College