I am interested in community and ecosystem ecology, ecosystem services, and sustainable agriculture. More specifically, I am interested in soil ecology and the relationships between soil organisms and their environment and the effect these relationships have on soil fertility, productivity and function. I am currently exploring the effect of residual antibiotics in dairy cattle manure on soil microbial communities.
I am interested in how microbial community structure and function affect the carbon cycle. One of the main ways microbiaI communities do this is through the decomposition of leaf litter. I use lab and field based approaches to determine how resource history (dominant leaf litter) influences a community’s function. Furthermore, I am interested in how microbial communities interact with each other through chemical signaling and how they interact with higher trophic levels. This can involve small molecule signaling such as those used in quorum sensing, as well as volatile organic compounds (VOC) that can traverse the air filled pore spaces in soil. I am currently working on understanding how VOCs are consumed and produced during leaf litter decomposition.