People and Research
Lab Position: Lab Director – Microbial Ecology
Current Research: My research interests and expertise are in the areas of molecular microbial ecology, molecular genetics, and environmental microbiology. I am primarily interested in assessing community-level responses and interactions between microbes, other trophic levels, and the environment. Relevant current and emerging projects include using microflora as markers for biogeographical analysis of animal populations, determining the microbial community composition and ecology of animal gastrointestinal (GI) tracts, and ecophysiological studies of animals to assess effects of diet, behavior, disease, and other parameters on GI microflora (and vice versa). My group is also involved in a number of related research topics including linking bacterial community structure, function, activity and diversity in metal-contaminated and pristine river sediment systems; exploring the role of the soil microbial community in the success of invasive weeds; examining the role of charcoal from forest fires in controlling the distribution and activity of nitrifying bacteria in forest soils; and assessing the fate and transport of microbes in the environment. Our recent research has striven to integrate robust statistical and modeling components to effectively interpret large and often complex data sets derived from molecular analysis of microbial community responses to a variety of parameters. Many projects in the lab cross disciplinary boundaries, uniting aspects of microbial ecology with animal physiology and pathology, biogeochemistry, population ecology, plant ecology, and other areas.