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.