Newswise — November 2, 2020 – Though it is known that soil microbes can both help and hinder plant growth, research is needed into how climate change will affect these important relationships. The Hot, Dry, and Salty: Plant-Microbe Interactions that Lead to Enhanced Productivity in Native and Managed Ecosystems” symposium at the Translating Visionary Science to Practice ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting will address these topics. The meeting is being held virtually, Nov. 9-13, 2020 and is sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. Media are invited; preregistration is required.

The presentations are:

  1. Drought Influences Bacterial Community Dynamics in the Grass Root Microbiome,” will be presented by Devin Coleman-Derr, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Albany, CA. Drought stress is a major obstacle to crop productivity, and the severity and frequency of drought are expected to increase in the coming century. Certain root-associated bacteria can reduce the negative effects of drought stress on plant growth. This research with monoderm isolates indicates that increased colonization of the root during drought can positively impact plant growth. Collectively, these results demonstrate the role that drought plays in restructuring the root microbiome and highlight the importance of temporal sampling when studying plant-associated microbiomes.
  2. “Adapting Crops to Abiotic Stress Via Symbiotic Communication with Fungal Endophytes” will be presented by Rusty Rodriguez, Adaptive Symbiotic Technology.  Research has shown that plants in high-stress habitats are stress-adapted through symbiotic interaction with fungal endophytes. Without the fungal partners, plants are no more adapted to stress than agricultural crops. This talk will over the development of BioEnsure®, a novel seed and plant treatment comprising fungal endophytes that adapt plants to tolerate temperature, salinity, drought and nutrient stress. BioEnsure has been field tested since 2012 in a variety of soil types and climate zones in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, Africa and India. Rodriguez will discuss how these efforts have allowed this product to bring climate resilience technology to small land-holding farmers, expand agriculture onto marginal lands and improve food security globally.
  3. Effect of Soil Microbial Inoculations on Plants Native and Non-Native to the Palouse,” will be presented by Tanya Cheeke, Washington State University. Some grassland plant species are more dependent on soil microbes, such as mycorrhizal fungi, than their invasive competitors. These species may benefit from microbial inoculation in the field. Cheeke will present results from greenhouse studies of 20 different native and non-native plant species to local soil inocula. Specifically, none of the 11 native plant species tested were inhibited by local soil inocula and several native species showed positive growth responses to soil inoculation. Understanding how different plant species respond to soil microbial inoculations will be useful in informing restoration efforts in landscapes where the native soil communities have been disrupted.
  4. “Dark Septate Endophyte Improves Salt-Tolerance of Native and Invasive Lineages of Phragmites Australis,” will be presented by Martina Gonzalez Mateu, Oregon State University. An invasive lineage of Phragmites australis across the United States is characterized by the establishment of dense monotypic stands, displacement of native species, and alterations of nutrient cycling in invaded areas in the Chesapeake Bay. Gonzalez Mateu will discuss fungal root endophyte communities of native and invasive P. australis, and the role of dark septate endophytes in salt tolerance. Findings will inform further investigation in studies of plant invasion ecology, management and restoration.

Although the presentations may be watched asynchronously, there will be a scheduled Q&A time to speak with presenters during the meeting. Presentations will be available for online viewing for 90 days after the meeting for all registrants. For more information about the Translating Visionary Science to Practice 2020 meetingvisit

Media are invited to attend the conference. Pre-registration by Nov. 2, 2020 is required. Visit for registration information.

To speak with one of the scientists, contact Susan V. Fisk, 608-273-8091, [email protected] to arrange an interview.

Meeting Link: 2020 ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting