• Santa Barbara has many local slime molds and fungi!

The overarching goal of our research is to understand how symbiotic associations evolve and influence "host" (e.g., plant) and "guest" (e.g., fungal) communities. We study mainly plant-microbial interactions, including highly co-evolved legume-rhizobia mutualisms and fungal endophytes living inside leaves of all plants. We are particularly interested in evolutionary patterns and mechanisms (e.g., evolution of host-specificity, natural selection for symbiotic traits, neutral vs. niche-selection mechanisms). To attain these research goals, we strive to build and maintain an intellectually diverse community of life-long learners with open minds.