Rainfall will likely be reduced and more variable in many regions of the world as climate change accelerates, which will increase water stress for plants, including many important crops. I am interested in the role of soil biota in ameliorating the detrimental effects of water stress on plants and how agricultural systems can be made more resilient to drought. I am currently working on several projects focused on how arbuscular mycorrhizae affect affect plant responses to low and variable water regimes with collaborators at the University of Adelaide (Australia) and the University of Nevada Reno.
Prior research in the Jackson Lab focused on how tightly-couple nitrogen cycling (i.e. sufficient nitrogen availability with low potential for loss) can be achieved on working organic farms. (see Nutrient Cycling on Organic Farms across a California Landscape). Embedded within this landscape study was a more process-based approach that linked plant root physiology (see Gene Expression in Tomato Roots), soil N pools, and detailed characterization of soil organic matter, the latter through a collaboration with Andrew Margenot. The goal was to gain understanding of the plant-microbe-soil system in relation to nitrogen availability and plant nitrogen uptake on organic farms. Better understanding of these interactions could result in novel indicators of soil nutrient availability, such as “interviewing the plant” by measuring gene expression in roots. Such indicators are especially needed in farming systems that rely on organic matter mineralization for crop nutrients.
I am a Postdoc in the Jackson Lab and a recent graduate from the Graduate Group in Ecology at UC Davis.
Office: 3150 Plant and Environmental Sciences Building
tmbowles (at) ucdavis.edu