Microbial ecology, soil microbiology, biogeochemistry
Plant-microbe interactions, soil fertility/development, ecological succession, nutrient cycling.
My research broadly centers around soil microbiology, plant-microbe interactions, and microbial biogeochemistry in understanding how ecosystems develop and function. I use primary and secondary successional systems to examine the factors that shape the assembly of soil microbial communities and the biogeochemical processes they mediate. With increasing disturbance frequency and the impacts of climate change, biotic community recovery from disturbance, primary succession, and alterations in plant communities all present instances where related changes in microbial communities may have great implications for global biogeochemical cycling and how ecosystems development and function.
In particular, I am interested in how microbial and plant communities may interact to drive ecosystem succession and when, why, how, and to what extent feedbacks between plant and microbial communities matter in ecosystem dynamics. Present work includes studies in glacial forefields, alpine tundra, and recently burned montane environments. Insights from this work are relevant to understanding the factors that govern microbial community assembly, biogeochemical cycling, and soil and ecosystem development. As such my research intersects with issues of ecological theory, plant performance, and soil fertility.
- NSF Graduate Research Fellow, National Science Foundation, 2011