We investigate how microbial communities affect carbon cycling and nutrient turnover by linking shifts in microbial communities and their physiology to changes in ecosystem processes, such as carbon cycling and nutrient turnover.
Despite recent advances in techniques to analyze "who's there" in microbial communities, the field of microbial ecology is still in its infancy. Although there are some exceptions, we still lack an understanding of how microorganisms affect ecosystem processes. Due to rapid changes in sequencing technology, we now know that soils harbor a vast repository of microbial diversity, and we are now able to probe deeper into connections between microbail communities, their physiology, and ecosystem function. We aim to explore:
In order to probe the relationships between microbial communities and the ecosystem processes they mediate, we use observations from natural and managed ecosystems and manipulative experiments to target both trends and then mechanisms behind them. We merge genomic approaches with stable isotopes and microbial functional analysis.