Microbial Ecology and Ecosystem Ecology
My research sits at the interface between ecosystem and microbial ecology and seeks to understand the interrelationship between microbial communities and ecosystem processes. Specifically, I am interested in understanding how changes within the microbial community (e.g. composition, physiology, and population/community level interactions) affect and are in turn influenced by ecosystem processes (e.g. litter decomposition, carbon sequestration). My approach is question led and involves the use of both field and lab experiments that often incorporate stable isotopes, metagenomics, and other cutting edge methods. Some of my recent research includes understanding how root exudates affect the structure and function of microbial communities, how changes in aboveground community structure (i.e. the presence/absence of predators) affect belowground processes, and how restoration and biofuel management regimes affect microbial communities and the ecosystem processes they mediate.