Leonora Bittleston, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Department of Biology
Boise State University
Boise, ID 83725-1515
- B.S., University of California – Berkeley, 2007
- Ph.D., Harvard University, 2016
- Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2016-2019
The Bittleston Lab investigates the ecology and evolution of multispecies interactions. We aim to understand how microbial communities form, and how their dynamics affect their hosts as well as ecosystem structure and function. To study this, we use genomics tools to connect genes with ecology. Our study system is primarily the small, aquatic ecosystems that form inside the leaves of carnivorous pitcher plants, but will soon be extending to sagebrush-associated microbial communities.
Bittleston, L.S., Freedman, Z.B., Bernardin, J.R., Grothjan, J.J., Young, E.B., Record, S., Baiser, B., Gray, S.M. 2021. Exploring microbiome functional dynamics through space and time with trait-based theory. mSystems 6:e00530-21. https://doi.org/10.1128/mSystems.00530-21
Goyal, A., Bittleston, L.S., Leventhal, G.E., Lu, L., Cordero, O.X. 2021. Interactions between strains govern the eco-evolutionary dynamics of microbial communities. PREPRINT bioRxiv 2021.01.04.425224; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.01.04.425224
Bittleston, L.S., Gralka, M., Leventhal, G.E., Mizrahi, I., Cordero, O.X. 2020. Context-dependent dynamics lead to the assembly of functionally distinct microbial communities. Nature Communications 11, 1440. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15169-0
Gilbert, K.J., Bittleston, L.S., Naive, M.A.K., Kiszewski, A.E., Buenavente, P.A.C., Lohman, D.J., Pierce, N.E. 2020. Investigation of an elevational gradient reveals strong differences between bacterial and eukaryotic communities coinhabiting Nepenthes phytotelmata. Microbial Ecology https://doi.org/10.1007/s00248-020-01503-y
Shoemaker, L.G., Barner, A.K., Bittleston, L.S. and Teufel, A.I. 2020. Quantifying the relative importance of variation in predation and the environment for species coexistence. Ecology Letters doi:10.1111/ele.13482
Gilbert, K.J., Bittleston, L.S., Tong, W., Pierce, N.E. 2020. Tropical pitcher plants (Nepenthes) act as ecological filters by altering properties of their fluid microenvironments. Science Reports 10, 4431 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-61193-x
Bittleston, L.S., Wolock, C.J., Yahya, B.E., Chan, X.Y., Chan, K.C., Pierce, N.E., and Pringle, A. 2018. Convergence between the microcosms of Southeast Asian and North American pitcher plants. eLife 2018;7:e36741 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.36741
Bittleston, L.S. Commensals of Nepenthes pitchers. 2018. In Ellison, A.M., and Adamec, L. (Eds.), Carnivorous plants: physiology, ecology and evolution. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. Order here.
Baker, C.C.M., Bittleston, L.S., Sanders, J.G., and Pierce, N.E. 2016. Dissecting host-associated communities with DNA barcodes. Philosophical Transactions B DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0328.
Bittleston, L.S., Pierce, N.E., Ellison, A.M., and Pringle, A. 2016. Convergence in multispecies interactions. TREE 31: 269-280
Bittleston L.S., Baker, C.C.M., Strominger, L.B., Pringle, A. and Pierce, N. E. 2016. Metabarcoding as a tool for investigating arthropod diversity in Nepenthes pitcher plants. Austral Ecology 41: 120-132
Coletta-Filho, H.D., Bittleston, L.S., Lopes, J.R.S., Daugherty, M.P., and Almeida, R.P.P. 2015. Genetic distance may underlie virulence differences among isolates of a bacterial plant pathogen. Journal of Plant Pathology 97: 465-469
Bittleston L.S., Brockmann, F., Wcislo, W. and Van Bael, S.A. 2011. Endophytic fungi reduce leaf-cutting ant damage to seedlings. Biology Letters 7: 30–32
Degnan, P.H.*, Bittleston, L.S.*, Hansen, A.K., Sabree, Z.L., Moran, N.A. and Almeida, R.P.P. 2011. Origin and examination of a leafhopper facultative endosymbiont. Current Microbiology 62: 1565-1572
*Contributed equally to this work.
Coletta-Filho, H.D., Bittleston, L.S. and Almeida, R.P.P. 2011. Spatial genetic structure of a vector-borne generalist pathogen. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 77: 2596-2601
Prospective Graduate and Undergraduate Students
Undergraduate and graduate students interested in working in the lab should email me with your C.V. or resume, and a description of what you want to study and why.