One of the first experiments that I did in my PhD was a field survey of bacterial communities in wild plant species. We wanted to explore how much variance there was in bacterial root communities across a natural field. Did plants more related or growing in closer proximity to eachother host more similar bacterial communities? Was there a lot of individal variance in the root microbiota of plants? These were questions that we tried to address in our latest publication “Wild plant species growing closely connected in a subalpine meadow host distinct root-associated bacterial communities” that was just published in PeerJ. In this experiment, we sampled a population of Orange Hawkweed (Pilosella aurantiaca), a known invasive of British Columbia that is throught to consist of just one genotype across North America. We throught it would be interesting to see whether there was individual variance even within clonal plant populations, and compared it to neighbouring plants of the species Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) and Alsike clover (Trifolium hybridum).
Read the full paper and see what we found out here: http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.804