Honors & Awards

  • Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation (2014)
  • Graduate Opportunities Worldwide (GROW); Brazil, National Science Foundation (2017)

Professional Education

  • B.A., Occidental College, Biology (2012)
  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (2019)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • The generalizability of water-deficit on bacterial community composition; Site-specific water-availability predicts the bacterial community associated with coast redwood roots MOLECULAR ECOLOGY Willing, C. E., Pierroz, G., Coleman-Derr, D., Dawson, T. E. 2020


    Experimental drought has been shown to delay the development of the root microbiome and increase the relative abundance of Actinobacteria, however, the generalizability of these findings to natural systems or other diverse plant hosts remains unknown. Bacterial cell wall thickness and growth morphology (e.g., filamentous or unicellular) have been proposed as traits that may mediate bacterial responses to environmental drivers. Leveraging a natural gradient of water-availability across the coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) range, we tested three hypotheses: (a) that site-specific water-availability is an important predictor of bacterial community composition for redwood roots and rhizosphere soils; (b) that there is relative enrichment of Actinobacteria and other monoderm bacterial groups within the redwood microbiome in response to drier conditions; and (c) that bacterial growth morphology is an important predictor of bacteria response to water-availability, where filamentous taxa will become more dominant at drier sites compared to unicellular bacteria. We find that both α- and β-diversity of redwood bacterial communities is partially explained by water-availability and that Actinobacterial enrichment is a conserved response of land plants to water-deficit. Further, we highlight how the trend of Actinobacterial enrichment in the redwood system is largely driven by the Actinomycetales. We propose bacterial growth morphology (filamentous vs. unicellular) as an additional mechanism behind the increase in Actinomycetales with increasing aridity. A trait-based approach including cell-wall thickness and growth morphology may explain the distribution of bacterial taxa across environmental gradients and help to predict patterns of bacterial community composition for a wide range of host plants.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/mec.15666

    View details for Web of Science ID 000583198200001

    View details for PubMedID 33000868