Vincent G. Martinson
Genetics, Invertebrate Biology, Microbial Ecology, Microbiology
Host–microbiota interactions, microbial community ecology, genomics, evolution of microbial symbiosis especially in insect-microbe systems (e.g., honey bee, bumble bee, native Drosophila, mosquitoes, beetles).
Every animal harbors a microbial community that can include pathogens and the commensal/beneficial microbiota; therefore, managing and maintaining relationships with microorganisms has critically shaped the evolution of animals. My research explores: What forces drive the assembly of microbial communities? and How do microbes alter their host? Working at the axes of organismal biology, ecology and microbiology I utilize aspects of each to identify patterns of microbe-host association in nature and experimentally manipulate those associations. My work incorporates (1) environmental DNA sampling methods (16S rRNA, metagenomics) to observe microorganisms in their native environment; (2) culturing microbes and genome sequencing to identify metabolic features; and (3) experimental manipulation of the microbes and their hosts to discover the consequences of host-microbe associations.
My focus is the microbial associates of insects, the most diverse group of animals, which are incredibly important in terrestrial ecosystem ecology, in agricultural systems as pests and pollinators, and in human health as vectors for disease.