Anny Chung is a broadly trained ecologist, and leads the Plant and Microbial Ecology Lab. She received her AB (Biology and International Studies) from Washington University in St. Louis in 2011, and PhD (Biology) from the University of New Mexico in 2017. She completed a postdoc at Utah State University before joining the faculty at UGA in 2019. Anny currently holds appointments with the Department of Plant Biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Plant Pathology in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Research in her lab spans a broad range of topics from microbial community assembly, plant-soil feedbacks, competition and coexistence, range edge dynamics, to the effects of climate change on soil fungal communities.
I am interested in how cross-trophic species interactions drive competition and coexistence in plant communities. I am particularly fascinated by the interactions between plants and their microbial associates, and how these interactions can help answer fundamental questions such as: “Why are some species abundant while others rare?”, “How do species coexist in diverse communities?”, and “What limits species ranges and population abundance?” Classical approaches to answering these questions have focused on defining key abiotic drivers, such as climate or mineral resources, modified by species interactions, such as competition or consumption. Yet these mechanisms often fall short of explaining the dynamics of taxa that have seemingly similar resource requirements, such as plants. Microbial symbionts have high potential to shift the current paradigm in population and community ecology. My work has shown that plant-microbe interactions can alter plant competition and coexistence, explain population commonness and rarity, and contribute to species turnover and stability over decadal time scales. Ongoing and future work will evaluate the importance of plant-microbe interactions relative to other coexistence mechanisms, connecting the disparate scales of microbial and plant populations, and building a framework to predict the impacts of plant-microbe interactions across environments.
University of New Mexico, Ph.D. 2017
Washington University in St. Louis, A.B. 2011