Valerie Seitz

Sustainability Leadership Fellow Cohort: 2022-2023

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and Cell & Molecular Biology

Research Summary: In modern agriculture, cover crops are plants utilized to benefit soil health by increasing carbon and nitrogen content, suppressing weeds and pests, and promoting soil stability. In my research, we investigate how variations in small molecules released by cover crop roots influence the community of microorganisms that inhabit the soil. We have found that each species of cover crop releases a unique buffet of small molecules into the soil for microbial partners to dish up on! Underpinning these dynamic molecular interactions is a foundational step in maintaining the health and productivity of agricultural soils to meet increasing food demands.

Advisor: Jessica Prenni