Soils are alive. Thousands of organisms exist 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 ecology can alter ecosystem theory and predictions of carbon and nitrogen cycling. I focus on the ecology of mycorrhizal fungi- critical members of the plant microbiome- which symbiotically associate with the roots of most plants on Earth. While my research has focused on carbon-climate outcomes I am broadly interested in connections between microbial ecology and the emergent function of any complex system.
Starting May 2019 I will be re-locating to ETH Zurich to run a small group focused on the community and ecosystem ecology of mycorrhizas at molecular to Earth scales. This work is funded by an Ambizione grant I received from the Swiss National Science Foundation. The group will be in affiliation with and nested within Dr. Thomas Crowther's Ecosystem Ecology Laboratory.