|Part of the key to the success of invasive non-native plants in grasslands may be the ways in which they alter community composition belowground. We will work at Concordia’s Long Lake Research Station and surrounding sites to compare species composition of one component of the soil community, the fungi that form partnerships with the roots of most plant species, between recently established prairie, natural prairies and invaded grasslands. Students will have the opportunity to work in the field extracting soil cores and growing, harvesting and learning to identify plants. In the lab, students will use microscopy to identify fungal species and look at root colonization rates by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. There will also be an opportunity to use molecular techniques to extract DNA from spores and plant roots and amplify fungal genes using the polymerase chain reaction.