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Science and the Environment

Springfield Researcher Studies How Microbes Affect Pollination

Emily McTavish

We all know that many plants need pollinating and that this activity is crucial to the agriculture on which we depend.  However, in most cases, our understanding can be somewhat simplistic, centering on the honeybee and its relationship with various flowers.  It turns out the interactions between pollinators, of which there are many besides honeybees, and plants is a complicated one.  Not only is the development of the characteristics of both plant and animal dependent on each participant, there are other forces at work in the relationship, namely microbes.  Dr. Avery Russell, of the MSU Biology Department, is studying interactions along these lines.  Combining field and lab work, he is searching to better understand the complicated interplay in these systems.  This week, he stops by STEM Spots to talk about his work, and the ways it can enhance future studies.