Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Anika Bansal

Ballistospore Dispersal In the Phyllosphere

Yeast are an important part of the leaf microbiome. A particular clade of phyllosphere yeast is known to form structures called ballistospores, which use a catapult-like launching mechanism to disperse. This enhanced dispersal is thought to play an important role in shaping the assembly and ecological dynamics of the leaf microbiome. In my study, I aim to quantify the dispersal patterns of a common foliar yeast, Sporobolomyces nylandii, to model the effect of ballistospore dispersal in leaf microbial communities. In addition, I investigate how co-dispersal of yeast and various phyllosphere bacteria may occur via bacterial hitch-hiking on ballistospores.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you so much for this opportunity! I'm so excited to develop my research skills to prepare for a future career in STEM, as well as investigate an incredibly fascinating part of the plant microbiome.
Profile image of Anika Bansal
Major: Integrative Biology
Mentor: Britt Koskella/ Integrative Biology
Sponsor: Chandra Research Fellows - Chandra Fund
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