I graduated from Northern Arizona University with my Ph.D. in Biology, and was a member of the Soil Ecology lab group with Dr. Nancy Collins Johnson.  I carried out research investigating the symbiotic roles of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and soil bacteria in resource relationships with grassland plants and biogeochemical nutrient cycling of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus.

Years of mycorrhizal research has proven the importance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in terrestrial ecosystems, yet we know very little about the direct and indirect interactions between free-living/symbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria and other beneficial rhizobacteria, AM fungi, and their host plants. In my Ph.D research I addressed the importance of this tripartite symbiosis in grasslands, with a focus on changes after experimental changes in resource availability. The majority of my research took place at two sites in the midwestern US, including Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (BioCON), and Fermilab in a sustainable bioenergy cropping experiment. The target plant species are broadly, native prairie grasses, forbs and legumes, from natural to low-input grassland systems.

By incorporating next generation genetic sequencing, including metagenomics and metatranscriptomics, and various other molecular tools in long-term manipulative experiments I’ve been able to address a lot of interesting ecological questions. Please take a look at the ‘Publications’ page for either full-text articles or links to articles that I have authored with collaborators.

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