Soils are alive. Thousands of organisms thrive within ecosystems underneath our feet. These microorganisms grow, compete for resources, and execute a broad diversity of chemical transformations. They also regulate one of the largest carbon fluxes on Earth- the conversion of dead organic matter in soils to CO2. I work to understand how incorporating basic aspects of microbial community composition, structure and allocation can alter ecosystem theory and predictions of carbon and nitrogen cycling. I focus on the ecology of mycorrhizal fungi- a critical component of the plant microbiome- which symbiotically associate with the roots of most plants on Earth. I have also worked extensively on the ecology and allocation strategies of free-living bacterial and fungal decomposers.