Community Structure and Population Biology
Research with undergraduate students in my lab focuses primarily (but not exclusively - see "the goat project" below) on various aspects of community structure and population biology of fungi. Four long-term projects are currently ongoing and I welcome student involvement in all: At Grinnell College's research station (CERA) in central Iowa, we have found that morel populations have high levels of genetic diversity (Dalgleish '00 & Jacobson 2005), in contrast to previous findings by other researchers. We have since been exploring aspects of their life history that might account for this fact. Also at CERA, we recently completed the third year of a multi-year project designed to compare macrofungal diversity (species richness and abundance) in upland oak hickory, upland savanna and riparian forests. To date we have discovered that all three habitat types are unexpectedly rich in macrofungal species (particularly decomposers), that relative species abundance changes greatly from year-to-year and that each habitat has a suite of unique species rarely (if ever found) in the adjacent habitats. Students involved in this project have been Pete Cueno (2005), Megan Germer (2007), Dave Honig (2005) Micheala Meckel (2003), Alison Mynsberge (2003), and Madi Salander (2007). The population biology of Welwitschia mirabilis and the seed pathogen, Aspergillis niger, that severely compromises seed survival of the plant remains an additional interest in my lab (Jacobson & Lester 2003, Pekarek & Jacobson 2006). With colleagues in the Netherlands, we are currently examining the origins of the unusually high levels of genetic variation that we have found in the populations of this asexual fungus associated with Namibia's national plant. Finally, as co-Director of CERA, I recently became involved in a long-term restoration project that has virtually nothing to do with fungi. Larissa Mottl (CERA manager) and I are mentoring MAP projects, conducted in this first year (summer 2008) by Curran Johnson '09 and Brian Perbix '09 (and summer interns), that examine the effects of goat browsing on plant species in woodland and prairie habitats. Our goal is to determine whether goats can be effectively deployed as a management tool for removing certain invasive woody species, with minimal detrimental effects to native vegetation communities. My recent work has been supported by NSF, the Iowa Academy of Science, a Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship, and Grinnell College.
- Fall BIO-150: Introduction to Biological Inquiry, "Effects of Climate Change on Organisms" ENV-195: Special Topic "Environmental Challenges and Responses"
- Spring BIO-252: Organisms, Evolution and Ecology, with Lab - K. Jacobson ENV-195: Special Topic "Environmental Challenges and Responses"
Archived courses taught by Dr. K. Jacobson
- Biology 150: Introduction to Biological Inquiry - "Effects of Climate Change on Organisms"
- Biology 252: Organisms, Evolution and Ecology
- Biology 325: Fungal Biology
- Tutorial: Communicating about climate change
- Tutorial: Images of Africa
- Jacobson K.M. & O.K. Miller Jr. (1992). Physiological variation between tree-associated populations of Suillus granulatus as determined by in vitro mycorrhizal synthesis experiments. Canadian Journal of Botany 70:26-3.
- Jacobson K.M., O.K. Miller Jr. & B.J.Turner (1993). RAPD markers are superior to somatic incompatibility tests for discriminating genotypes in natural populations of the ectomycorrhizal fungus Suillus granulatus. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, U.S.A. 90:9159-9163.
- Jacobson K.M., P.J. Jacobson & O.K. Miller Jr. (1993). The mycorrhizal status of Welwitschia mirabilis. Mycorrhiza 3:13-17.
- Jacobson K.M. & O.K. Miller Jr. (1994). Post-meiotic mitosis in the basidia of Suillus granulatus: implications for population structure and dispersal biology. Mycologia 86(4):510-515.
- Seely M.K. & K.M. Jacobson (1994). Desertification and Namibia: a perspective. Journal of African Zoology (108)1:21-36.
- Seely M.K. & K.M. Jacobson (1995). Desertification in Namibia. Environmental Review 1(1): 94-100.
- Jacobson P.J., Jacobson K.M. & Seely M.K. (1995). Ephemeral Rivers and their Catchments: Sustaining People and Development in Western Namibia. Desert Research Foundation of Namibia and Department of Water Affairs, Windhoek. 160 pp.
- Jacobson K.M. (1996). Fungal ecology in the Etosha National Park, Namibia. Madoqua 20(1): 149-155.
- Jacobson K.M. (1997). Moisture and substrate stability determine VA-mycorrhizal fungal community distribution and structure in an arid grassland. Journal of Arid Environments 35:59-76.
- Abrams M.M., P.J. Jacobson, K.M. Jacobson, M.K. Seely. (1997). Survey of soil chemical properties across a landscape in the Namib Desert. Journal of Arid Environments. 35:29-38
- Jacobson, P.J. & K.M. Jacobson. (1997). Encouraging, training and supporting "Ecologists/Biologists as Problem Solvers" - some opinions from Providence. Guest Editorial. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 78(1):4-6.
- Jurgens, N., A. Gunster, M.K. Seely, K.M. Jacobson. (1997). Chapter 10: Deserts. In: Vegetation of Southern Africa Ed. D. Richardson, Cambridge University Press, London.
- Mannheimer, C. & K.M. Jacobson. (1998). Fungal diversity in Namibia. In: Barnard, P. (ed). Biological Diversity in Namibia: a Country Study. Windhoek: Namibian National Biodiversity Task Force. 332 pp.
- Andre, H.M., M.-I. Noti, K.M. Jacobson. (1998). The soil microarthropods of the Namib Desert: a patchy mosaic. Journal of African Zoology 111:499-517.
- Jacobson, K.M. & P.J. Jacobson. (1998). Rainfall regulates decomposition of buried cellulose in the Namib Desert. Journal of Arid Environments 38(4):571-83.
- Jacobson, K.M., P.J. Jacobson, O.K. Miller Jr. (1999) The autecology of Battarrea stevenii (Liboshitz) Fr. in ephemeral rivers of southwestern Africa. Mycological Research 103: 9-17.
- Jacobson, P.J., K.M. Jacobson, P.L. Angermeier and D.S. Cherry. (1999). Transport, retention, and ecological significance of woody debris within a large ephemeral river. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 18:429-444.
- Jacobson, P.J., K.M. Jacobson, P.L. Angermeier and D.S. Cherry. (2000). Hydrologic influences on soil properties along ephemeral rivers in the Namib Desert. Journal of Arid Environments 45:21-34.
- Jacobson, P.J., K.M. Jacobson, P.L. Angermeier and D.S. Cherry. (2000). Variation in material transport and water chemistry along a large ephemeral river in the Namib Desert. Freshwater Biology 44:481-492.
- Jacobson, K.M & E.A. Lester '00. (2003) A first assessment of genetic variation in Welwitschia mirabilis Hook. Journal of Heredity 94(3):212-217.
- Jacobson, K.M. (2004) The effects of flooding regimes on mycorrhizal associations of Populus fremontii in dryland riparian forests. Pp.275-280 In: C. Cripps (ed.) Fungi in Forest Ecosystems: Diversity, Systematics, and Ecology, New York Botanical Gardens, NY.
- H. Dalgleish '00 & K.M. Jacobson. (2005) A first assessment of genetic variation among Morchella esculenta (morel) populations. Journal of Heredity. 96(3):1-8
- E. Pekarek '05, K. Jacobson, and A. Donovan '01. (2006) High levels of genetic variation exist in Aspergillus niger populations infecting Welwitschia mirabilis Hook. Journal of Heredity 97(3):270-278.
- Beauchamp V.B. , K.M. Jacobson, J,. Johnson, L. J. Kennedy, B. S. Richter and J.C. Stutz. (In Press) Mycorrhizal Ecology. In: Ecology and Conservation of Desert Riparian Ecosystems: The San Pedro River Example. Eds. J.C. Stromberg and B. Tellman. University of Arizona Press.