August: Lizzie Lombardi

I am a fourth-year graduate student studying plant-virus interactions in the Power lab. My work considers the impact of environmental change on plant response to viral associations. In order to integrate host adaptation to both variable abiotic conditions and heterogeneous biotic pressures (i.e. the real world), I study a single plant across its’ full known range in the mountains of western North America. I am currently assaying plant populations for viruses in order to build a viral diversity baseline across alpine and montane ecosystems, which may inform predictions regarding future viral range shifts into naïve host populations. In addition, I am also conducting common garden experiments to assess the roles that host genotype and environment play in facilitating the spread of viruses to new plants and environments.

I study alpine ecology because I care about mountains, and you’ll often find me in them even when I’m not working. I am also a fan of science fiction and evolutionary agriculture, and the combination thereof.