Ph.D., Botany, Duke University, 1996
M.S., Biology, University of Michigan, 1989
B.A., Zoology, University of Massachusetts, 1983
Bever-Schultz Research Laboratory
Area of specialization
Plant-soil microbial ecology
My research extends from understanding factors that underlie the re-establishment of prairies to environmental education. One focus of our lab is the interaction between the soil community and the prairie plant community. We consider the impact of members of the soil community on plant survival and growth. Generally we study arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). This is a group of soil fungi that associates with plant roots.They mine soil nutrients and water and transport them back to their hosts. We address questions related to the benefits and costs of these relationships to both plants and fungi. Some of our work tests whether AMF can enhance host plant survival and growth in prairie restorations.
I am also interested in community outreach. Much of my work has focused on developing environmental awareness of students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Using the model of students teaching students, I have developed programs where university students work with younger students on projects that are experimentally driven and that enhance student understanding of the science standards for their grade--with an appreciation of their local environment woven into the activities. I hope to explore attitudinal shifts in student appreciation of their environment, as well as their depth of knowledge, as they move through environmental programs at elementary, secondary and university levels.
Please see a list of Peggy's publications on her forthcoming lab website.