Betsy Arnold

Betsy Arnold

Professor, Plant Science
Curator, Robert L Gilbertson Mycological Herbarium
Member of the Graduate Faculty
Professor, Genetics - GIDP
Professor, Applied BioSciences - GIDP
Primary Department
Contact
(520) 396-0854

Work Summary

Work Summary

I am an evolutionary ecologist with expertise in plant microbiomes in both wild and agricultural ecosystems. My group and I use the tools of microbiology, molecular ecology, informatics, systematics, organismal biology, and genomics to study the distributions and impacts of plant-associated microbes worldwide, with study sites that range from the Arctic to tropical rainforests. Our interests in fungal biodiversity, plant-microbe interactions, fungal-bacterial dynamics, and molecular ecology are readily translated to animal systems in diverse settings. We collaborate with agricultural experts in academia and industry, natural products chemists interested in pharmaceutical drug discovery, and academic partners interested in identifying and translating principles of biodiversity research to human endeavors. We are active in outreach, especially with high school researchers, teachers, and classes, and welcome diverse graduate students and undergraduates with an interest in plant microbiology and its applications.

Research Interest

Research Interest

A. Elizabeth (Betsy) Arnold (Ph.D., ecology and evolutionary biology) leads a diverse group of researchers and educators with interests in the ecology, evolution, and potential applications of symbiotic microbes for host health. The special focus of the lab is on the fungal portion of plant microbiomes, with particular interest in foliar endophytic fungi and the soilborne fungi that interact with seeds -- but their interests also include animal-associated fungi, bacterial biodiversity, fungal-bacterial interactions, and the establishment of complex ecological systems in new environments. Their field sites range from the Arctic to tropical rainforests to Biosphere2, and locally, encompass both wild and agricultural systems. Their expertise includes traditional microbiology, phylogenetics, population biology, molecular ecology, genomics, and field biology, as well as fungal identification for stakeholders and medical professionals. Arnold's team collaborates widely on questions related to conservation, agricultural innovation, pharmaceutical drug discovery, and biodiversity discovery in diverse settings worldwide.

Arnold co-directs the National Science Foundation graduate training program in Ecosystem Genomics and is Curator of the Robert L. Gilbertson Mycological Herbarium, the southwest's premier reference collection of fungal biodiversity. She is a Fellow of the Mycological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has published over 140 peer-reviewed publications to date. She has been recognized for her teaching excellence as a Bart Cardon Fellow in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and by the Mycological Society of America, and for her commitment to diversity by awards from CALS and UArizona. She and her team are active in education and outreach, with strong ties to area high schools as well as a diverse portfolio of undergraduate and graduate teaching and research opportunities.