About me

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I’m a Ph.D. student at Université du Québec à Montréal (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), directed by Steve Kembel and Christian Messier.

My interests are plant ecology, plant-microbe interactions, bioinformatics, statistics, genetics and software carpentry.

I did my undergraduate studies in Biology at Université Laval in 2010 (Quebec city, Quebec, Canada), then I completed a Master in Terrestrial Ecology and Biodiversity Management at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in 2011 (Barcelona, Spain) and I continued studying a Master in Statistics at Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya in 2012 (Barcelona, Spain).

Now I’m back in Canada, working on plant-microbe interactions and genetics. We use next-generation sequencing techniques to identify the members of leaf (phyllosphere) microbial communities in Quebec’s temperate forest.

Until now I’ve been so lucky working with awesome people and this is my tribute to them. They are my wonderful field assistants.

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Left picture starting from the left: Sophie Carpentier, me, Gabrielle Jacques. Right picture: Maria Alejandra Hernandez and Raphaëlle Fréchon.

 

This is my Ph.D. project:

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Bacteria and fungi colonize almost all plant surfaces and tissues, from the roots (rhizosphere) to the leaves (phyllosphere). The diversity of these communities regulates several ecosystem functions, principally through its implication in enzymatic processes (nutritional, defensive and biochemical). Microorganisms are characterized by a high surface/volume, rapid growth and short generation time, allowing microbes to respond quickly to any environmental modifications. Every change in microbial biomass, metabolic activity or community structure could be considered the beginning of a global ecosystem change. Since 2000, a major revolution has affected microbial studies as the development of high-throughput sequencing methods has freed researchers from culture-dependent methods that limited census sampling depth and quality. Whereas various studies have quantified the soil microbial community’s key role in regulating plant community formation and dynamics, an insufficient number of studies have looked at phyllosphere microbial communities and the role they play in forest ecosystem dynamics. Some recent results suggest a very high complexity of phyllosphere microbial community dynamics, but the key determinants of the structure and variation of the leaf-habitat communities still need to be identified.

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Recent innovation in sequencing techniques has allowed the first complete, affordable and rapid microbial censuses. The aim of this project is to establish essential knowledge of the processes driving phyllosphere microbial community dynamics in the temperate forests of Quebec. This project has three objectives: (1) to identify macroscopic determinants of phyllosphere microbial community composition in natural temperate forests; (2) to determine microscale determinants of phyllosphere microbial dynamics of temperate trees; and (3) to test and observe the effects of urban stress on phyllosphere microbial community of urban trees in Montreal.


If you have a question or interest in our project feel free to contact me!

isabelle.laforest.lapointe@gmail.com

http://www.cef-cfr.ca/index.php?n=Membres.IsabelleLaforestLapointe
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