Bauer Lab

Welcome to the Bauer lab!  Members of the lab are part of the Biology Department and/or the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability at Miami University in Oxford, OH.

We study plant ecology, and we are especially interested in questions with relevance to restoration ecology and sustainable agriculture.  A primary focus in the lab is interactions between plants and soil microorganisms, including mycorrhizal fungi and rhizobia.  We are also working on projects measuring the resilience of plant communities to environmental change, plant – pollinator interactions in restored prairies, and forecasting the outcomes of ecological restoration efforts.



KSJonathan Bauer

I am an assistant professor in the Biology Department and the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability at Miami University.

CV  Google Scholar

Current Lab Members


Screenshot (106)Grace Brock

Grace is a research assistant in the Bauer Lab. She joined in Fall 2020 after receiving a B.A. in Botany and Creative Writing. She’s currently working on establishing fungal cultures from soil cores of several Midwestern prairie sites for the purpose of analyzing plant-fungl symbiosis. Grace is interested in the restoration of natural areas (as well as the colonization of barren  or environmentally challenging areas) using the multi-mutualist model.


Emily Galloway

Emily is currently working on her PhD in Biology. She’s interested in studying the role that microbes play in prairie restoration. She intends to blend soil ecology and community assembly into a restoration focus to contribute to the knowledge gap of how the biological and physical composition below-ground affects the above-ground in prairies. Emily is motivated to apply this research to restoration practices that can then be applied to the public or benefit practitioners. Emily joined the Bauer Lab in Fall 2020.

Screenshot (107)Laura Schonken

Laura is an undergraduate Botany major, with co-majors in Fashion and Sustainability. Laura recently joined the lab in Fall 2021 and has enjoyed assisting with preparations for several lab projects, as well as developing her skillset in fungal spore extraction, plant care and data analysis.



Katie Stahlhut

Katie is a PhD Botany student. She joined the Bauer Lab in Fall 2020. Katie is currently working on a meta-analysis on intraspecific variation in mycorrhizal growth response, which she hopes to use as a foundation for future research into how genetic variation impacts AM symbiosis. She has also conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of mycorrhizal colonization in sunflower

Bauer Lab Alumni


Karly Cazzato

 Karly is an M.S. Botany student currently researching plant-soil feedback. She joined the Bauer Lab in Fall 2020. Prior to coming to Miami University, Karly studied the impacts of a hemiparasite on legumes in restored prairies at Illinois State University. In addition, Karly has a B.S. in Statistics and enjoys using mathematical models to predict restoration outcomes. She hopes to work with the statistical analysis of biological data after finishing her Masters Degree.

Screenshot_20200813 (1)Laura Fehling

Laura is a Botany Masters student in Hank Stevens’ lab. She’s currently working on a project testing the context dependency and complementarity of multi-species mutualisms with the native legume Chamaecrista fasciculata. Laura is interested in understanding the complexity of multi-mutualist interactions, how these interactions might shift under future climate change, and the application of this research to restoration and conservation practices. She began collaborating with the Bauer Lab in Fall 2020.

IMG_4649Alex Bowers

Alex is an undergraduate majoring in Botany and Environmental Earth Science. He joined the Bauer Lab in Fall 2019 and has been assisting lab mate Karly Cazzato with running and analyzing plant-soil feedback projects in the greenhouse.


favoriteJosie Laing

Josie is an undergraduate Botany major, with co-majors in Food Systems and Food Studies. She’s working on a collaborative project with fellow lab members Stahlhut and Witt. This follows a summer Eco REU project in which Josie studied plant trait responses to mycorrhizal colonization. Josie is also interested in mapping out a framework that connects the leaf economic spectrum to the root economic spectrum for each of the 27 prairie species she’s currently studying.

IMG_0163Lydia Witt

Lydia is an undergraduate Biology major. She joined the Bauer Lab in February 2020 and is interested in the impact that arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and soil microbes have on life history traits. Lydia received an Undergraduate Summer Scholar Fellowship in the summer of 2021 and worked alongside lab mates Laing and Stahlhut to study the effects of mycorrhizae on the traits of 27 prairie plant species.

20180301_103124Sidney Noble

Sidney is working at the Indiana Dunes, near the site of some of the first ecological research on plant succession, to understand the resilience and restoration potential of plant communities in a changing environment.

Sidney is a M.S. Botany student in the Biology Department.

20180906_175342.jpgTristan Barley

Tristan is studying pollination in restored prairies to determine if the fitness of rare plant species may be pollen or pollinator limited.

Tristan is a M.En. student in the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability.

Veronica BriggsIMG_20191014_093943_957 (2)

Veronica is an undergraduate majoring in Botany and Environmental Science. During her time in the Bauer Lab, she worked on a project examining how soil fertility gradients impact the dynamics of plant-mycorrhizal symbioses. 


Water Sample Picture

Dan Sedlacek

Dan recently received his IES Masters degree with a focus on land resources and food systems. He joined the Bauer Lab in Fall 2019 and notably worked as a TA for Jonathan’s Food Systems class where he assisted students as they analyzed plant-mycorrhizal interactions to further lab research. Dan’s personal research consists of working with farmers and landowners to develop a method of communication between individuals and local government organizations.


Current Projects:

Predictive Ecology –We are testing the mechanisms that shape the outcomes of ecological restoration, including the effects of management history, soil conditions, and plant × microbial interactions. With this understanding, we are working toward developing models that can forecast the outcomes of ecological restoration and provide insights into the mechanisms that shape plant communities.


Interacting Symbioses – Partnering with beneficial bacteria and fungi can be an essential strategy for plants to acquire nutrients. These partnerships can be affected both by competition among mutualists for the plant’s resources and by changes in the surrounding soil environment.  Since many plant species of conservation concern are reliant on mutualisms with bacteria and fungi, understanding the context dependency of these mutualisms may improve our ability to restore these plants to degraded environments.


Sustainable Agriculture – The productivity of crop plants can be strongly affected by microorganisms. We are beginning new research projects to understand how we can manage soils to promote beneficial microorganisms and limit the negative effects of soil pathogens.



more info @ Google Scholar

Noble SL and JT Bauer. 2022. Influence of canopy cover and canopy heterogeneity on plant diversity within oak savannas.  Natural Areas Journal 42:242-251

Barley, TA, MG Martinez Algarin, JT Bauer. 2022. The effects of flower patch density on pollinator visitation. Environmental Entomology 51:482-491 – this research was highlighted on the Entomological Society of America’s blog “Entomology Today” and on the podcast “Backyard Ecology

Koziol, L, JT Bauer, E Duell, K Hickman, G House, P Schultz, A Tipton, G Wilson, JD Bever. 2022. Manipulating plant microbiomes in the field: native mycorrhizae advance plant succession and improve native plant restoration. Journal of Applied Ecology 59:1976-1985

Zaret MM, JT Bauer, K Clay, BK Whitaker. 2021. Conspecific leaf litter induces negative feedbacks in Asteraceae seedlings. Ecology 102:e03557

Catano, CP, TJ Bassett, JT Bauer, E Grman, AM Groves, CR Zirbel, and LA Brudvig. 2022. Soil resources mediate the strength of species but not trait convergence across grassland restorations. Journal of Applied Ecology 59:382-393

Reinhart, KO, JT Bauer, S McCarthy-Neumann, AS MacDougall, JL Hierro, MC Chiuffo, SA Mangan, J Heinze, J Bergmann, J Joshi, RP Duncan, JM Diez, P Kardol, G Rutten, M Fischer, WH van der Putten, TM Bezemer, and J Klironomos. 2021. Globally, plant-soil feedbacks are week predictors of plant abundance.  Ecology and Evolution 11:1756–1768

Anderson, RC, MR Anderson, JT Bauer, C Loebach, MA Slater, A Mullarkey, M Engelhardt. 2021. Alliaria petiolata, an invasive species, response to extreme long-term climate events (ECE’s) and drought. Ecosphere e03510

Grman, E, CR Zirbel, JT Bauer, AM Groves, T Bassett, LA Brudvig. 2021. Super-abundant C4 grasses are a mixed blessing in restored prairies. 29:e13281

Groves, AM, JT Bauer, LA Brudvig. 2020. Assembly of restored communities is contingent on planting year weather conditions.  Scientific Reports 10:5953

Grman, E, J Allen, E Galloway, J McBride, JT Bauer, PA Price. 2020. Inoculation with remnant prairie soils increased the growth of three native prairie legumes but not necessarily their associations with beneficial soil microbes.  Restoration Ecology 28:S393-S399

Bauer JT, L Koziol, and JD Bever. 2020. Local adaptation of mycorrhizae communities changes plant community composition and increases above-ground productivity. Oecologia 192:735-744

Barber, NA, AK Farrell, RC Blackburn, JT Bauer, AM Groves, LA Brudvig, and HP Jones. 2019. Grassland restoration characteristics influence phylogenetic and taxonomic structure of plant communities and suggest assembly mechanisms. Journal of Ecology 107:2105–2120.

Crawford KM, JT Bauer, LS Comita, MB Eppinga, DJ Johnson, SA Mangan, SA Queenborough, AE Strand, KN Suding, J Umbanhowar, and JD Bever. 2019. Evolutionary history determines plant coexistence via pathogen-mediated plant-soil feedback. Ecology Letters 22:1274-1284

Koziol L, PA Schultz, G House, JT Bauer, E Middleton, and JD Bever. 2018. Plant microbiome and native plant restoration: The example of mycorrhizal fungi. Bioscience

 Bach, EM, G Narvaez-Rivera, K Murray, JT Bauer, and KS Hofmockel. 2018. The dynamic life of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal symbionts. Ecology 99:978-979

 Bauer JT, L Koziol and JD Bever. 2018Ecology of Floristic Quality Analysis: testing for correlations between coefficients of conservatism, species traits, and mycorrhizal responsiveness. AoB Plants 10:plx073

Flory, SF, JT Bauer, RP Phillips, and K Clay. 2017Effects of a non-native grass decline with succession. Journal of Ecology 105:1475–1484

Whitaker, BW, JT Bauer, K Clay, and JD Bever. 2017. Negative plant-phyllosphere feedbacks in native Asteraceae hosts – a novel extension of the plant-soil feedback framework.  Ecology Letters 20:1064-1073

 Bauer JT, AJ Miller, N Blumenthal, JK Ferguson, and HL Reynolds. 2017. Microbial legacy effects vs. plant-soil feedbacks: Effects on plant community composition and productivity. Journal of Applied Ecology 54:1028:1039

Brudvig, LA, RS Barak, JT Bauer, TT Caughlin, DC Laughlin, L Larios, JW Matthews, KL Stuble, NE Turley, and CR Zirbel. 2017. Interpreting variation to advance predictive restoration science. Journal of Applied Ecology 54:1018-1027

 Bauer, JT and HL Reynolds. 2016. Restoring native understory to a woodland invaded by Euonymus fortunei: multiple factors affect success. Restoration Ecology 24:45-52

 Bauer, JT, KLM Mack, and JD Bever. 2015. Plant-soil feedbacks as drivers of succession: Evidence from remnant and restored tallgrass prairies. Ecosphere 6:158

Lankau, RA, JT Bauer, MR Anderson and RC Anderson. 2014. Long-term legacies and partial recovery of mycorrhizal communities after invasive plant removal. Biological Invasions 16:1979-1990

Shannon, SM, JT Bauer, WE Anderson, HL Reynolds. 2014. Invasive shrubs reduce arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization in Eastern deciduous forest mesocosms. Plant Ecology 382:317-328

Flory, SL and JT Bauer. 2014. Experimental evidence for indirect facilitation among invasive plants. Journal of Ecology 102:12-18

Bauer, JT, NM Kleczewski, JD Bever, K Clay and HL Reynolds. 2012. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and the productivity and structure of prairie grassland communities. Oecologia.170:1089-1098

Bauer, JT, SM Shannon, RE Stoops, and HL Reynolds. 2012. Context dependency of the allelopathic effects of Lonicera maackii on seed germination. Plant Ecology. 213:1907–1916

Bauer, JT 2012. Invasive species: Back-seat drivers of ecosystem change? Biological Invasions. 7:1295-1304

Kleczewski, NM, JT Bauer, K Clay, J Bever and HL Reynolds. 2012. A survey of endophytic fungi of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and their putative roles in plant growth. Fungal Ecology.5:521-529

Herold, J, MR Anderson, JT Bauer, V Borowicz and RC Anderson. 2011. Comparison of the effect of early and late removal of second-year garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) on first-year plants and deciduous forest spring and summer dominant herbaceous groundlayer species in central Illinois, USA. Ecological Restoration. 29:225-233

Bauer, JT, and SL Flory. 2011. Decline in a native species (Senna hebecarpa, Caesalpiniaceae) resulting from an experimental invasion of Microstegium vimineum(Poaceae). American Midland Naturalist. 165:1 105-115

Anderson, RC, MR Anderson, JT Bauer, M Slater, J Herold, P Baumhardt, VA Borowicz. 2010. Effect of Removal of Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolataBrassicaceae) on Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Inoculum Potential in Forest Soils. The Open Ecology Journal. 3:41-47

Bauer, JT, RC Anderson and MR Anderson. 2010. Competitive Interactions among First-Year and Second-Year Plants of the Invasive, Biennial Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and Native Ground Layer Vegetation. Restoration Ecology. 18:5 720-728


I am currently recruiting students to join the lab!  If you haven’t already, please see our research interests and some of our publications.  I am happy to help students develop research projects that suit their interests, but it is best if those interests are reasonably well aligned with ongoing work in the lab.

Undergraduates – If you are interested in the work we do, please feel free to contact me.  There may be opportunities to get involved in the lab as a paid technician, assisting with the lab’s ongoing research efforts.  I also welcome students interested in completing thesis research projects within the lab.

Graduate Students– I am currently recruiting MS and PhD students in the Biology Department, and there is support through teaching or research assistantships.  I am also happy to work with students on thesis or practicum projects through the M.En. program in the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability.  If you are interested in joining the lab, please contact me with your CV and research interests.

Post Docs –As funding becomes available, I will advertise here, on ecolog, and Twitter.  I would also be happy to work with prospective postdocs on fellowship applications.  Potential sources of funding include the USDA-NIFA fellowships (which supported my postdoc work), NSF postdocs, and the Smith Fellows Program.