Leaf surfaces are typically occupied by a variety of arthropods and microbes. In some specialized plants like carnivorous pitcher plants, the leaf is modified into a water-impounding structure that hosts a miniature aquatic ecosystem. Whether flat leaves or pitchers, plants in general have the potential to modify the environmental conditions on their leaf surfaces. I will discuss such plant-regulated abiotic factors and how they influence their symbiotic inhabitants in turn.

Dr. Kadeem Gilbert


Kadeem Gilbert is an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University, based at the Kellogg Biological Station and affiliated with the Department of Plant Biology, program in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, and the Plant Resilience Institute. He began his faculty position in August 2021. Prior to that he was a USDA-NIFA postdoctoral fellow at Penn State University from 2019-2021. He earned his BS in Applied Ecology from Cornell University in 2012 and his PhD from the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University in 2019, where he studied the ecology and evolution of pitcher trait diversity in tropical pitcher plants and their interactions with symbiotic insects and microbes.