University of Miami Biology Ph.D. Student Honored At 8th International Conference on Mycorrhiza

Coral Gables, FL (September 3, 2015) — Joanna Weremijewicz, a biology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Miami College of Arts & Sciences, recently won the International Mycorrhiza Society Prize as the second runner-up for best oral presentation at the 8th International Conference on Mycorrhiza (ICOM) in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Connecting researchers, scientists, ecologists, and geneticists, the conference is the official symposium of the International Mycorrhiza Society where today’s researchers from across the globe share their findings and ideas in the study of relationships between fungi and plant growth.

“I am honored to have won a prize for my presentation and most grateful for all of the interesting insight and feedback I received following the talk,” said Weremijewicz.

The title of Weremijewicz’s presentation, “Common mycorrhizal networks amplify competition through preferential 15N allocation to large host plants,” is based on one of her dissertation chapters. The research focuses on competitive interactions between plants as they are mediated through networks of symbiotic fungi, known as mycorrhizal fungi. Plants compete for mineral nutrients and these fungi interconnect plants and then influence interactions by distributing mineral nutrients among them.

In her research, Weremijewicz used a nitrogen stable isotope to study how fungi distribute nitrogen to large plants that in turn provide the fungi with more sugars than smaller plants. UM Professors of Biology David Janos and Leo Sternberg assisted Weremijewicz with her scientific investigation.

Weremijewicz graduated from Loyola University in Chicago with a B.S. in biology before joining UM in 2010. She expects to complete her Ph.D. in May 2016.

September 03, 2015