The symbiotic interactions between plants and many organisms can tell us a lot about biodiversity, especially in the context of a rapidly changing climate. As Canada Research Chair in Genomics and Metabolomics of the Symbiosis Between Tropical Plants and Microbes, Dr. Juan Carlos Villarreal A. is studying the genomics and metabolomics of the symbiosis between tropical plants and microbes.
He and his research team are exploring the microbiome, genomic underpinnings and chemical richness of the symbiosis between tropical gymnosperms, nitrogen-fixing bacteria and fungi. They hope to learn more about the temporal and spatial diversity of plants, their associated symbionts (organisms that live in symbiosis), and the genomic underpinnings of these associations. Ultimately, this research may help us understand how climate change may affect organisms and their associated symbionts in regions where the climate is undergoing rapid transformation, such as the Arctic.