Join the lab

I am seeking bright, motivated graduate students to join the lab for Fall 2019.



Khum, Shivam, and Aaron planting tiny Hypercium seeds! 

The Afkhami lab at the University of Miami, Florida focuses on studies of the ecology, evolution, conservation, and genomics of species interactions at scales ranging from genes to ecosystems. We use wide range of approaches, including long term field/greenhouse experiments, mathematical modeling, laboratory-based molecular methods and genomics. While our research spans all types of interactions and we are interested in a diversity of systems, we most often study positive species associations in plant-microbial mutualisms (e.g., rhizobia, mycorrhizal fungi, and fungal endophytes). Our research is aimed at understanding the mechanisms underlying how mutualisms work and integrating these associations into the broader questions of ecology and evolution.





Khum visiting Archbold Biological Station to check out endangered and threatened Florida scrub species!

For example, we ask questions like “Can mutualism cause range expansions into new habitats?”, “What is the impact of microbial mutualisms on plant and herbivore community diversity?”, “How do complex multispecies mutualisms impact fitness, what is the genomic basis of these effects, and how do they impact gene coexpression networks?”, “Can mutualists also act as reproductive manipulations?”, “Does mutualism drive diversification of plant radiations?”, “Can we improve sustainable agriculture through use of natural species interactions?”, and “How do microbial interactions, such as plant-soil feedbacks, influence persistence of rare and endangered species?” One place we are currently conducting a great deal of research is at Archbold Biological Station (, looking at microbial effects on species of conservation concern.




Close up of Medicago experiment with ~5000 plants, looking at genomic basis of how organisms respond to multiple mutualistic microbes.



Michelle staining grass roots for mycorrhizal fungi!

Students will be encouraged to develop their own research interests and projects. Support for graduate students and their research at UM is excellent, and I have supplemental funding available. Please email me at if interested!