Belowground biotic interactions and how they respond to, and influence climate change via climate-ecosystem carbon feedbacks.

Timespan: 
2012-2014
Principal Investigator: 

My research interests include soil, ecosystem and climate change ecology. Specifically, my work focuses on biotic interactions and how they respond to, and influence climate change via climate-ecosystem carbon feedbacks. My PhD work, conducted at Cardiff University, centered on the topic of soil biodiversity. This work advanced our theoretical and mechanistic understanding of how top-down processes control soil biodiversity and nutrient cycling. Under my YCEI Fellowship at Yale, I am working with experts from Harvard, Colorado State and Columbia Universities to advance our understanding of how these biotic interactions mediate feedbacks between soil respiration and atmospheric CO2 concentrations. I am currently working in the Harvard Forest Warming Experiment, exploring the potential for invertebrates to mitigate warming-induced changes in soil microbial respiration, with the eventual goal of incorporating microbial physiological responses and biotic interactions into global carbon models. I am also involved in the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative, attempting to understand the processes controlling soil biodiversity across large spatial scales.

My research also extends to other ecological systems. Ongoing work includes exploring network theory, stream macro-ecology, physiological and biochemical responses of plants to climate change and the subsequent consequences for litter decomposition and interactions between ants and termites across the Eastern United States. However, all of my work centers around a single ecological theme: attempting to advance our theoretical understanding of terrestrial ecosystems and their potential to mitigate or accentuate global climate change.

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