Block title

Beau Larkin
Research Projects: 
Microbiome, Soils, Plants and Invasion
Research Methods: 

In May 2019, we sprayed hundreds of western white pine seedlings with an experimental fungal microbiome. This effort was part of a greenhouse experiment to determine how fungi can influence disease caused by the blister rust pathogen, Cronartium ribicola.

On September 19th, 2019, seedlings were exposed to C. ribicola spores in the fog chamber (above), at the Dorena Genetic Resource Center in Eugene, OR. Hundreds of Ribes leaves naturally infected with the blister rust pathogen (below), were used to spread disease to the seedlings.

Leaves were placed spore-side down on racks above white pine seedlings (above). Artificial fog induces the release of spores to increase pathogen infection. A subset of seedlings was destructively sampled to determine the success of our May inoculations. We will have results of that analysis later this fall.

About the Author

Lorinda Bullington

Lorinda is currently a Ph. D. student at the University of Montana, studying systems ecology. She also has a master’s degree in molecular ecology, a B.S. degree in microbiology, and a certificate in bioinformatics. Her research investigates how plant-associated microbial communities (plant microbiomes), influence plant growth, defensive chemistry, disease, and nutrient cycling. Lorinda comes from three generations of small-scale Montana loggers and is particularly interested in microbial communities in forest ecosystems. She has published research on fungi associated with native white pines and their influence on tree defensive chemistry and the invasive pathogen Cronartium ribicola, which causes white pine blister rust disease. She also works in collaboration with others at UM studying the influence of bark beetle infestations on fungal decomposer communities, with implications on nutrient turnover and carbon sequestration in forests.
In addition to her own research, Lorinda often assists other researchers in bioinformatics analyses and is currently working on multiple diet-barcoding studies to better understand food web ecology and dynamics across the landscape. For a complete list of Lorinda’s publications, click here.