Biodiversity is important for human well-being including provision of food, fuel, fiber and shelter, purification of air and water, formation of soil, cycling of  nutrients, regulation of pests and diseases, and promotion of stability and resilience in ecosystems.  Biodiversity is threatened due to increased demand for the earth’s resources, land use change, intensification of agriculture and fisheries, urbanization, and global warming.  Our scientists study biodiversity from genes and molecules to the ecosystem level, explore the functions and attributes of biodiversity, and develop strategies to preserve and restore biodiversity and its desirable services.  Examples include identification of novel enzymes for biofuel production; characterization of genetic diversity in plants, pests, and pathogens for the development of pest and disease resistant cultivars; identification of genetic and species diversity for improving the biological control agents and honey bee health; and quantification of microbial and invertebrate species, population, community and trophic diversity to develop sustainable biological control programs and bolster resilience of managed and natural ecosystems while sustaining the desirable ecosystem services they provide.       

Figure 1

Figure 1:

Map of Geosmithia morbida sampling locations. Data include 62 isolates from seven different p
opulations—all populations except
Oregon (OR) were collected in the native region of black walnut. STRUCTURE results revealed two distinct clusters among G. morbida populations representing five subpopulations from Tennessee (Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon and Sevier) as one cluster and Oregon and North Carolina/Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) as the second cluster. UPGMA dendogram was constructed using Nei’s genetic distance Ds among seven G. morbida populations.