- 2012.8-current PhD in Ecology, Pennsylvania State University
- 2009.9-2012.7 MSc in Ecology, Peking University, China
- 2005.9-2009.7 BSc in Ecology, Peking University, China
Adviser: David Eissenstat
Weile is funded by the Ecology Graduate Program, ESM Department and the National Science Foundation (IOS 1120482)
My research centers on understanding the nutrient foraging strategies of mycorrhizal roots across temperatre tree species. Both root morphology and mycorrhizal status can influence root nutrient foraging, and how much the mycorrhizas can benefit nutrient acquisition is likely related to root morphology in different species. To study the relationship between mycorrhizal dependence and root morphology in root nutrient foraging, I will conduct experiments in a common garden with trees that vary widely in root morphology and including both ectomycorrhizal and arbuscular mycorrhizal species. In order to estimate nutrient benefits from fungi to plant roots in different species, the abundance, community structure and functional diversity of the root associated mycorrhizal fungi will be investigated by phospholipid fatty acids analysis, DNA barcoding and hyphal ingrowth cores, respectively. Additionally, I will test the influence of inter-specific competition of trees on their respectitve nutrient foraging strategies.
Outside of my work on nutrient foraging of mycorrhizal roots, I am also interested in lots of aspects in belowground ecology, including the root trait variation and evolution, root and mycorrhizal respiration, as well as the seasonal dynamics of soil microbial community across diverse vegetation types.
Root competitions in nutrient foraging among temperate trees. J. Lloyd Huck Dissertation Research Grant, Penn State Univ. 2015-2016, $5000.
W Chen, RT Koide, TS Adams, JL DeForest, L Cheng, DM Eissenstat. (in press) Root morphology and mycorrhizal symbioses together shape nutrient foraging strategies of temperate trees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).
L Cheng, W Chen, T Adams, X Wei, L Li, ML McCormack, JL DeForest, R Koide & D Eissenstat. (in press) Mycorrhizal fungi and roots with different morphology are complementary in foraging nutrient patches. Ecology.
L Trocha , E Rudy , W Chen , M Dabert , DM Eissenstat. (in press) Linking the respiration of fungal sporocarps with their nitrogen concentration: variation among species, tissues, and guilds. Functional Ecology, 10.1111/1365-2435.12688.
W Chen, H Zeng, D Eissenstat & D Guo. 2013. Variation of first-order root traits across climatic gradients and evolutionary trends in geological time. Global Ecology & Biogeography 22: 846-856.
W Wang, W Chen & S Wang. 2010. Forest soil respiration and its heterotrophic and autotrophic components: Global patterns and responses to temperature and precipitation. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 42: 1236-1244.