Justine Garcia


Justine is interested in symbiosis and how the ecology and evolution of microbes is shaped by living with a host. She previously worked with Burkholderia in insects and is now working with the same bacteria in Dictyostelium. After received her B.S. in biology and B.A. in chemistry from the University of New Mexico in 2007, Justine moved to the Population Biology, Ecology, and Evolution program at Emory University to work with Nicole Gerardo and she received her Ph.D. in 2015. In her dissertation work, Justine showed that insects can form specific associations with a subset of bacteria in the environment by filtering out undesirable bacteria. She hopes to use the Dictyostelium – Burkholderia system to understand the genetic basis of host-bacteria specificity in both partners.


  • Garcia, J.R., and Gerardo, N.M. (2014) The symbiont side of symbiosis: do microbes really benefit? Frontiers in Microbiology 5: 510. This article was included in the “Recent advances in symbiosis research: integrative approaches” special issue.
  • Parker, B.J., Garcia, J.R., and Gerardo, N.M. 2014. Genetic variation in resistance and fecundity tolerance in a natural host-pathogen interaction. Evolution 68 (8): 2421 – 2429.
  • Garcia, J.R., Laughton, A.M., Malik, Z.‡, Parker, B.J., Trincot, C., Chiang, S., Chung, E.‡, & Gerardo, N.M. (2014) Partner associations across sympatric broad-headed bug species and their environmentally acquired bacterial symbionts. Molecular Ecology 23 (6): 1333– 1347. This article was included in the “Nature’s Microbiome” special issue.
  • Colman, D.*, Garcia, J.R.*, Jackson-Weaver, O., Karlstrom, K., Crossey, L., & Takacs- Vesbach, C. (2014) An analysis of geothermal and carbonic springs in the western United States sustained by deep fluid inputs. Geobiology 12 (1): 83-98.*co-first authors
  • Moquin, S.A., Garcia, J.R., Takacs-Vesbach, C.D., & Shepherd, U.L. (2012) Bacterial diversity of bryophyte-dominant biological soil crusts and associated mites. Journal of Arid Environments 87: 110-117.
  • Van Horn, D.J., Garcia, J.R., Loker, E.S., Mitchell, K.R., Mkoji, G.M., Adema, C.M., & Takacs-Vesbach, C.D. (2012) Complex intestinal bacterial communities in three species of planorbid snails. Journal of Molluscan Studies 78: 74-80.
  • FitzPatrick, S.K.*, Liberatore, K.L.*, Garcia, J.R., Burghardt, I., Coleman, D., Moquin, S., Takacs-Vesbach, C.D., & Shepherd, U.L. (2012) Symbiodinium diversity in the soft coral Heteroxenia sp. and its nudibranch predator Phyllodesmium lizardensis. Coral Reefs 31 (3): 895-905. *co-first authors.
  • Laughton, A.M., Garcia, J.R., Altincicek, B., Strand, M.R. & Gerardo, N.M. (2011) Characterization of the immune responses in the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum. Journal of Insect Physiology 57 (6): 830-839.
  • Schloss, P.D., Westcott, S.L., Ryabin, T., Hall, J.R., Hartmann, M., Hollister, E.B., Lesniewski, R.A., Oakley, B.B., Parks, D.H., Robinson, C.J., Sahl, J.W., Stres, B., Thallinger, G.G., Van Horn, D.J. & Weber C.F. (2009) Introducing mothur: open-source, platformindependent,
    community-supported software for describing and comparing microbial
    communities. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 75 (23): 7537-7541.
  • Hall, J.R., Mitchell, K.R., Jackson-Weaver, O., Kooser, A.S., Cron, B.R., Crossey, L.J. & Takacs-Vesbach, C.D. (2008) Molecular characterization of the diversity and distribution of a thermal spring microbial community using rRNA and metabolic genes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 74 (15): 4910-4922.