The grant was awarded from the US Department of Defense – Strategic Environmental Research and

Development Program (2013-2018) for the project: Restoration of soil microbial function following

degradation on DoD lands: Mediating biological invasions in a global change context.

Global environmental change includes simultaneous stresses to ecosystems, including

climate, pollution, and invasion by toxic, nonnative organisms. Especially sensitive to

these changes are the soil fungi, which play a critical role in ecosystem function and

native tree growth. This research will employ cutting-edge high throughput gene

sequencing approaches and a global change simulation experiment, to test whether and

how well soil fungi can be restored after invasion by the toxic nonnative plant, Alliaria

petiolata, under predicted scenarios of global change in Massachusetts. This work will

advance fundamental ecological research on fungal-mediated responses of key

Northeastern tree species to global change, and will help land managers optimize the

chances of ecosystem restoration under a suite of ongoing environmental stresses.