Mapping Fungal Relationships in Trees

Korena Mafune is a 2021 Washington Research Foundation postdoctoral fellow in the University of Washington’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, where she studies the symbiotic interactions among plants, fungi, and bacteria. She received her PhD from UW’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, where she studied the root-associated fungal communities of old-growth bigleaf maple trees in Washington’s Queets and Hoh temperate rainforests. These trees accumulate layers of leaves and other organic matter on their canopy branches, which decay over time and produce a thick mat of organic soil high above the forest floor. Bigleaf maple trees have the capability to grow extensive adventitious rooting networks into these canopy soils which associate with fungal communities that thrive in the damp Pacific Northwest forests; some of these fungal associates attach to the roots and expand their fungal network outwards to aid the tree in taking up plant nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus which the trees rooting system may not be able to reach on its own.

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Modeling & Predicting Tree Growth with Data Science

Stuart Ian Graham is a graduate student in the University of Washington’s Biology program who recently published a paper with Senior Data Science Fellow and eScience Institute Research Scientist Ariel Rokem, along with others from the University of Washington, Université de Montpellier, and University of California Los Angeles. The paper, published in the Forests journal and titled “Regularized Regression: A New Tool for Investigating and Predicting Tree Growth,” initially grew from a 2019 Winter Incubator project at eScience, which paired Graham and Rokem together to utilize data science to explore how neighboring tree species can influence one another’s growth rates in Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington State.

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