I'm an assistant professor at the University of Idaho, father, husband, former Missouri farm boy, and Army Vet. I love to explore the relationship between soil microbial communities and ecosystem processes. Ultimately, I want to understand how this relationship impacts the way we manage soils.
I am a postdoctoral researcher exploring microbial and invertebrate communities at the University of Idaho. In collaboration with Dr. Strickland, we are examining a variety of topics, from herbivore/plant/microbial interactions to the ecological impacts of agricultural antibiotic use. Through my research I hope to shed light on what factors drive community structure in belowground environments. Ultimately, I strive to understand how these incredibly diverse communities influence the health and function of ecosystems and the organisms that inhabit them.
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.
I received my bachelors in sustainable agriculture from the University of Maine, and am currently a research assistant looking to earn a masters in soil and land resources. I am interested in looking at ways to quantify soil health, with a focus on soil microbial communities. I believe, with greater understanding of the processes within the soil, we can better manage our soils to help ameliorate the effects of climate change. It is my goal to develop a deeper understanding of the biological, chemical, and physical mechanisms within the soil that contribute to soil health.
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.