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Student Research Peeks Into the Unseen World in the Trees

Junior Aubrey Habron, sophomore Olivia Rode, sophomore Mary Strecker and Chad Scholes, Ph.D., professor of biology, work on a project to identify different types of bacteria in the local phyllosphere.


here might be more to the trees around us than meets the eye — a lot more.

Just like the human body is home to an ecosystem of microorganisms unique as a fingerprint called the microbiome, an unseen world exists among plants, too — it’s known as the phyllosphere. Recently, a group of Rockhurst University students have been trying to paint a picture of the local phyllosphere. With faculty adviser Chad Scholes, Ph.D., professor of biology, the team scoured campus and Kansas City’s Swope Park for leaf samples, from which they grew cultures to send off for DNA sequencing and later cataloguing. Junior biology major Audrey Habron said she appreciated the opportunity to be part of a project in an emerging field of science. “I’m interested in this as a career path — I love plants,” she said. “As soon as I heard about this, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”

RU, the magazine of Rockhurst University, is published by the Office of Public Relations and Marketing. STAFF Jeremiah Barber, ’16 EMBA, Alicia Douglas, Katherine Frohoff, ’09 EMBA, Estuardo Garcia, ’18 M.A., Jennifer Knobel, Courtney Lee, Tim Linn, Michelle Smith, Melissa Thompson, Angela Verhulst EDITOR Katherine Frohoff DESIGN JJB Creative Design CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., Estuardo Garcia, Jennifer Knobel, Tim Linn, Julia Mangan, senior, Michelle Smith, Catherine Thompson, Ph.D. PHOTOGRAPHY Doug Clark, Estuardo Garcia, Rebecca Izquierdo, Tim Linn, Mark McDonald, Earl Richardson, Dan Videtich SEND LETTERS TO Katherine Frohoff, Rockhurst University, 1100 Rockhurst Road, Kansas City, MO 64110-2561 or 816-501-4151 RU magazine is printed on FSC certified uncoated paper.



Profile for Rockhurst University

RU: Summer 2018  

The magazine for Rockhurst University.

RU: Summer 2018  

The magazine for Rockhurst University.

Profile for rockhurst