Garret Suen, PhD

Position title: Bacteriology


Bacteria, Symbiosis, Host Response

Microbial communities associated with herbivores are fundamental to ecosystem functioning in almost all environments on Earth. Specifically, these communities facilitate the conversion of plant biomass into nutrients usable by their host, thereby bridging primary producers and secondary consumers. My research is focused on understanding the evolution and ecology of herbivore-associated microbial communities on three different scales. At the broadest scale, I am interested in how these communities evolve across host type, host diet, and geographical distribution. At an intermediate level, I am interested in how members of these communities interact with each other to coordinate the breakdown of plant biomass and produce nutrients for their host. At the finest scale, I am interested in understanding how microbes fundamentally degrade polysaccharides (cellulose and hemicelluloses) in plant cell walls.