Join us on Wednesday May 26th at 10:00AM PDT as Dr. Jeff Shaver, from the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, and Dr. Emily Bellis, from the Arkansas State University, will present their collaborative project.  The goal of their project is to characterize soil microbiome diversity in a unique model system for investigating bacterial-fungal interactions: tallgrass prairie restoration.


The soils studied represent a natural gradient of soil health in various stages of microbial community succession, with mature prairie soils generally characterized by fungal-dominated communities but less mature soils dominated by bacteria. We hypothesize that high diversity and abundance of soil fungal communities favor bacterial-fungal interactions over bacterial-bacterial competition, decreasing prevalence of antibacterial resistance and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in fungal-dominated communities.

They will discuss their results on soil microbiome succession across four time points: February 2019, March 2020, Summer 2021, and March 2021. We will detail our use of state-of-the-art long-read 16S and 18S-ITS1-ITS2 sequencing, and antibiotic disc diffusion and ARG qPCR assays for characterizing bacterial and fungal diversity and prevalence of antibiotic resistance and ARGs, respectively, in virgin, remnant, developed, and restored tallgrass prairie soils from Massard Prairie (virgin) and Ben Geren Golf Course in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Jeff Shaver, Ph.D.
Emily S. Bellis, Ph.D.
For more information about their project and partnership with Sebastian County Parks, see: Tallgrass Prairie Restoration 

This project is supported by the Arkansas INBRE program, with a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, (NIGMS), P20 GM103429 from the National Institutes of Health. This project involves faculty and students at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith and Arkansas State University, and Jay Randolph (Sebastian County Park Administrator and Ben Geren Golf Course Superintendent).