I'm an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Huxley College at Western Washington University. I apply the principles of science and engineering to a broad range of topics that include soil ecology, fate and transport, restoration, and perhaps most importantly, the elegant application of statistics.
I'm interested in how soil (physically, chemically, and biotically) affects individual plants and competitive interactions among plants. This work can be applied broadly to improve practices in the remediation and restoration as well as predict the response of plant communities to future changes. My research focuses on mycorrhizae, an ancient plant-fungal symbiosis in which the plant provides the fungus with carbon and the fungus provides the host plant with a suite of potential benefits, the most common being increased nutrient acquisition.
My current research projects include examining (1) ectomycorrhizae and arbuscular mycorrhizae in the revegetation of the dewatered reservoirs following dam removal on the Elwha River and (2) a meta-analysis of arbuscular mycorrhizae function in plant invasions.
Cortese, A.M. & Bunn, R.A.. (2016). Availability and function of arbuscular mycorrhizal and ectomycorrhizal fungi during revegetation of dewatered reservoirs left after dam removal. Restoration Ecology. doi: 10.1111/rec.12406
Bunn, R. A., Ramsey, P. W., & Lekberg, Y. (2015). Do native and invasive plants differ in their interactions with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi? A meta-analysis. Journal of Ecology, 103: 1547–1556. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12456
Bunn, R. A., Lekberg, Y., Gallagher, C., Rosendahl, S., & Ramsey, P. W. (2014). Grassland invaders and their mycorrhizal symbionts: a study across climate and invasion gradients. Ecology and Evolution, 4(6):794–805. doi:10.1002/ece3.917
Zabinski, C.A. & Bunn, R.A. (2014). Function of mycorrhizae in extreme environments, pp. 201-214, In Zakaria M. Solaiman, Lynette K. Abbott and Ajit K.Varma [eds.], Mycorrhizal Fungi: Use in Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Springer Soil Biology Series
Bunn, R. A., Lekberg, Y., & Zabinski, C. A. (2009). Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi ameliorate temperature stress in thermophilic plants. Ecology, 90(5), 1378–1388.
Bunn, R. A., Magelky, R. D., Ryan, J. N., & Elimelech, M. (2002). Mobilization of natural colloids from an iron oxide-coated sand aquifer: effect of pH and ionic strength. Environmental Science & Technology, 36(3), 314–22.
Bunn, R. A., & Zabinski, C. A. (2003). Arbuscular mycorrhizae in thermal-influenced soils in Yellowstone National Park. Western North American Naturalist, 63(4), 409–415.
Ryan, J. N., Elimelech, M., Ard (Bunn), R. A., Harvey, R. W., & Johnson, P. R. (1999). Bacteriophage PRD1 and Silica Colloid Transport and Recovery in an Iron Oxide-Coated Sand Aquifer. Environmental Science & Technology, 33(1), 63–73. doi:10.1021/es980350+
PhD Land Resources & Environmental Sciences, Montana State University Bozeman; MS Environmental Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder; BS Civil Engineering, Michigan Technology University-Houghton