Research

You can also find me on Google Scholar and Research Gate!

I work to illuminate the tangled web of relationships between plants, microbes, soils, and the environment. My research focuses on plant-soil-microbe interactions in carbon and nitrogen cycling, with a particular eye for how complex interactions can result in unexpected phenomena. I approach my research from a variety of scales, ranging from examining microbial DNA in a tiny sample of soil, manipulating soil conditions in laboratory incubations, comparing field sites that make up natural gradients, and using meta-analysis to compare findings from around the world.

Soil carbon persistence and data-driven climate policy: Soil carbon sequestration, particularly through sustainable  agricultural practices, is being promoted as a means of climate change mitigation. But, questions remain about the viability of this strategy. My current research explores the role of soil microbes in building soil carbon and what that means for the longevity of soil carbon sequestered through agricultural management practices. I am especially interested in how this knowledge can be translated into data-driven public policy incentivizing agricultural management strategies most likely to contribute to long-term soil carbon sequestration.

Plant-soil-microbe interactions in ecosystem nitrogen cycling: 

Peatland ecology and biogeochemistry: I worked as a research assistant in Dr. Melanie Vile‘s peatland ecosystem ecology lab at Villanova University from 2009-2013. I completed my senior honors thesis, advised by Dr. Vile, on molybdenum and phosphorus limitation of nitrogen fixation in boreal peatlands in 2013.

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Experimental plots at Mariana Bog, Alberta, Canada, where I conducted my undergraduate thesis research.