SERC Intern Finds a Fungus to Bring Orchids Back to Life
As an intern at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), Hope Brooks played a role in discovering a fungus that will resurrect dormant orchids. When above ground conditions are far from ideal, orchids can lie underground and dormant for years. During her SERC internship, Brooks collected genome quality DNA from samples of earth around orchids. She and a team of two staff scientists conducted research on these samples while trying to figure out how to save the “rarest orchid east of the Mississippi,” and bring orchids out of their dormant state. Brooks’s engagement as an intern lead to the identification of the orchid mycorrhizal fungi. A fungus that plays a key role in bringing orchids out from the underground and their dormant state.
Today, after three summers as a research intern at SERC, Hope Brooks is now employed as a Research Technician at SERC.