Tammy Tintjer
Associate Professor of Biology 
Biology Department Chair
Office: Parente 311
Phone: 570-208-5900 x8102
email: tammytintjer@kings.edu

Educational Background

B.S. Biology/Environmental Science, Auburn University at Montgomery, AL 1995

Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology/Minor: Plant Sciences. Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 2005
Horizontal and vertical transmission in the host-parasite interaction, Elymus hystrix infected with Epichloë elymi.

Courses Taught  

  • Biol 113 Evolution & Diversity
  • Biol 210 Organisms & their Ecosystems
  • Biol 270 Sophomore Seminar
  • Biol 370 Junior Seminar
  • Biol 420 Botanical Pharmacology
  • Biol 430 Ecology
  • Core 270 Natural Science Perspectives

Research Interests    
Symbioses—close associations between different species—are ubiquitous in nature and often have strong effects on the survival and reproduction of the species involved, the host and the symbiont. I study symbioses between plant hosts and fungal symbionts, with the goal of understanding the ecological and evolutionary consequences of such associations.

In particular I study the symbiosis between grasses and systemic fungal endophytes (family: Clavicipitaceae). In many cool season grasses these fungi live intercellularly within the above-ground portions of grass tissue. The fungal endophyte can spread by spores to new grass hosts—horizontal transmission. The fungus can also grow into the grass seeds and spread to the next generation of the grass—vertical transmission. One goal of my research is to understand the relationship between the transmission mode of the endophyte and the evolution of virulence, or harm to the host.

The fungal endophyte often produces secondary metabolites—various classes of alkaloids—that can negatively affect grass herbivores and thus help to protect the grass from being eaten. Another goal of my research is to understand the ecological consequences of this plant-fungus symbiosis—including effects on the host’s distribution, population dynamics, and community interactions and structure. Currently in the lab we are developing and refining a bioassays, including one using brine shrimp (a.k.a sea monkeys) to detect the anti-herbivore bioactivity of the fungal endophyte.

Recent Conference Presentations 

Fink, O. and T. Tintjer. 2018. Fungal endophyte effect on Spodoptera frugiperda feeding on Agrostis hyemalis compared with results of the brine shrimp bioassay. Conference presentation at the 10th International Symposium of Fungal Endophytes in Grasses Salamanca, Spain

Fink, O. and T. Tintjer. 2016. Fungal Endophyte Harms Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, larvae feeding on the grass Agrostis hyemalis. Poster presented at the 2016 Meeting of Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Ecological Society of America. Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

T. Tintjer. 2015. Application of the brine shrimp lethality assay to detect the bioactivity of the endophyte-infected grass (Agrostis hyemalis). Conference presentation at the 9th International Symposium of Fungal Endophytes in Grasses, LaTrobe University, Melbourne Australia

Kolbeck, M. and T. Tintjer. 2015. Use of a brine shrimp (Artemia salina) assay to evaluate endophyte-infected Agrostis hyemalis toxicity. Poster presented at the 90th Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA

Leger, A. and T. Tintjer. 2015. Success Rate and Effects on Growth of Artificial Combinations of Cool Season Grasses and Strains of Fungal Endophytes. Poster presented at the 90th Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA

Hippeli, S. and T. Tintjer. 2014. The Role of the Endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum in the invasive properties of Festuca arundinacea through Soil Community Feedback. Poster presented at 90th meeting of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA

Custer, G., T. Tintjer, and J. Belanger. 2014. Assessment of Protection of Host Tissues by Vertically Transmitted Fungal Endophytes. Poster presented at the 90th Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA

Barna, L. and T. Tintjer. 2013. Longitudinal Study of Foraging Preferences of Castor canadensis in a Leatherleaf-Sedge Wetland Habitat. Poster presented at the 89th Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, University of Pittsburgh-Bradford, Bradford, PA

Barna, L. and T. Tintjer. 2012. Foraging Preferences of Castor canadensis in a Leatherleaf-sedge Wetland Habitat. Poster presented at the 88th Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, Cedar Crest College. Allentown, PA

Publications

Kolbeck, M. and T. Tintjer. 2016. The use of a brine shrimp assay to detect bioactivity in the endophyte-infected grass, Agrostis hyemalis Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science. 90(1): 13-20

Tintjer, T., Leuchtmann, A. and Clay, K. 2008. Variation in horizontal and vertical transmission of the endophyte Epichloë elymi infecting the grass Elymus hystrix. New Phytologist. 179: 236-245.

Tintjer, T. and J. A. Rudgers. 2006. Grass herbivore interactions altered by strains of a native endophyte. New Phytologist. 170: 513-521.

Clay, K., Reinhart, K., Rudgers, J., Tintjer, T., Koslow, J. and S. L. Flory. 2008. Red queen communities. Pp. 145-178, In Ecology of Infectious Diseases: Interactions between diseases and ecosystems. (V. Eviner, F. Keesing and R. Ostfeld, Eds.). Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Flory, S.L., E. Ingram, B. Heidinger, T. Tintjer. 2005. Hands–On in the Non-Laboratory Classroom: Reconstructing Plant Phylogenies Using Morphological Characters. The American Biology Teacher 67(9):542-547.

White, J. F. Jr., T. E. Drake (Tintjer) and T. I. Martin. 1996. Endophyte-host associations in grasses: XXIII. A study of two species of Balansia that form stromata on nodes of grasses. Mycologia 88 (1): 89-97.