The Alliance adds a Microbiomes Working Group, led by Ann Lichens-Park

The aim of the Microbiomes Working Group is to identify knowledge and resource gaps that need to be addressed to advance our understanding of the role that microbes play within the broad phytobiome systems and how we can use this to improve agricultural sustainability. Plant and soil microbiomes are key components of the complex plant system known as phytobiomes, yet we know little about how these microbes and microbial community interact with the other geophysical and biological aspects of phytobiomes, such as weather, climate, soil, other plants, and management practices.

The group will organize a listening session at the upcoming International Phytobiomes Conference to hear attendees’ suggestions about key knowledge gaps in understanding plant and soil microbiomes. Input obtained from attendees will be incorporated into a white paper for broader distribution. Other plans include organizing a workshop at the 2023 Plant and Animal Genomes meeting in San Diego, California and organizing a microbiomes-focused session at the Phytobiomes Workshop which will be held in conjunction with the International Congress of Plant Pathology in 2023 in Lyon, France.

The Alliance Microbiomes Working Group will be led by Ann Lichens-Park who recently retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) after thirty years. While working for USDA, she administered numerous competitive grant programs focused on a wide variety of topics including microbial genomics, plant-microbe interactions, and agricultural microbiomes.

The Microbiomes Working Group currently comprises Gwyn Beattie (Iowa State University), Kellye Eversole (Phytobiomes Alliance), and Emmanuelle Maguin INRAE. Membership in Alliance working groups is restricted to Alliance sponsors, affiliates, and leaders of supported or led scientific projects.