University of Massachusetts at Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd
Wheatley 3-008 (office)
McCormack 324/326 (lab)
Boston, MA 02125
Fields of study:
microbial ecology, microbial diversity, ecosystems ecology, urban ecosystems, aquatic biogeochemistry, salt marsh and estuarine ecology, functional genomics of nitrogen cycling bacteria and archaea
I am interested in all aspects of the interaction between humans and the environment.
My work runs the gamut from modeling how changing land use on watersheds alters the geochemistry of receiving waters to understanding how climate change and ocean acidification will alter the structure and function of microbial communities. In particular I have been focusing on both how human activities are altering the structure and function of microbial communities and in turn how microbial communities can help ameliorate pollution from human sources.
Boston provides a great "field" site for understanding how urban ecosystems influence biogeochemical cycling and the microbes that are responsible for those processes. Projects in my lab include examining how increasing urbanization of watersheds is altering the structure and biogeochemical function of receiving estuarine waters. I am also interested in how microbial communities can increase the productivity of urban agriculture. If you have interests in any aspects of the interactions between urban environments and microbial communities please contact me to explore possible future collaborations.
There is a lot to be learned about the exact nature of the interaction between microbial communities and their biogeochemical function. In addition to my interest in urban ecology, I am also interested in exploring the exact nature of these interactions. I use a combination of mesocosm experiments, numerical modeling, biogeochemical flux measurements, and molecular methods to understand how changing microbial community composition and gene expression correlate with changes in geochemistry. Specifically I use quantitative PCR and microarrays to explore how changes in the composition and expression of key functional genes in the nitrogen cycle, nirS and amoA (encoding genes for denitrification and ammonia oxidation) translate into changes in geochemistry.
Finally, I have a particular interest in nitrogen cycling in salt marshes. Marshes are critically important because of their location between land and sea and because they are able to intercept land-derived nitrogen before in reaches fragile estuarine ecosystems. We need to understand how the microbial communities in salt marshes respond to increases in nitrogen loads if we are to protect our precious coastal resources. I have active research ongoing in salt marshes on Cape Cod and I am currently accepting applications for graduate students to continue work on this project.
Council on Science and Technology Teaching Fellow, Princeton University (2007-2010)
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological Laboratory (2005-2007)
PhD Biology, Boston University Marine Program, Woods Hole MA (2005)
BA Biology, Colby College, Waterville, ME (1994)