My name is Lady Grant. I am an EBIO major and my areas of research include soil microbial ecology and toxicology. My research faculty mentor is Dr. Noah Fierer. After obtaining my bachelor’s degree I plan on beginning the journey of earning my PhD in Soil Science and hopefully begin working with farmers, ranchers and other organizations to protect our crop and public lands.
Studying the mechanisms underlying bacterial tolerance to toxic levels of aluminum is a necessary step in understanding soil fertility. In an acidic environment, naturally occurring aluminum compounds will solubilize causing the aluminum ion (Al3+) to reach toxic levels. This in turn can cause stunted root growth and diminish water and nutrient uptake in plants. Acidic soil conditions can be the result of anthropomorphic means or can exist naturally. Despite their low pH and high levels of aluminum, tropical soils can host a thriving and diverse microbial community. The goal of this study is to understand the ecological effects aluminum toxicity may have on tropical soil microbial communities along with isolating and identifying bacteria that show a tolerance to toxic levels of aluminum.