We live on a microbial planet where all major and life-sustaining biogeochemcial cycles are maintained and catalyzed by microorganisms. As a self-styled microbial ecologist, I love studying the complex linkages between microbes, their neighbors, and their surrounding environment. I explore these concepts in a pristine groundwater microbiome, and in particular I am intersted in carbon cycling dynamics in the aquifer and the surface to subsurface connections. I am currently a postdoctoral research in AquaDiva at Friedrich Schiller Universität working with Prof. Dr. Kirsten Küsel and her Aquatic Geomicrobiology team.
My previous research as a PhD student in Dr. Joel Kostka’s lab, focused on how the Deepwater Horizon oil spill affected environmental microorganisms, and the possible mechanisms by which the microbial community aided in removing contaminating oil. The overall goal was to advance our understanding of the fate and consequences of deposited DWH crude oil to benthic ecosystems and the in situ microbial community in the Gulf of Mexico.
In general, I like to combine hypotheses generated by ‘omics methods, field rate measurements, and lab-based environment simulations (micro/mesocosms) to parse out microbial structure/function relationships on ecosystem processes. Furthermore I am interested in the genetic mechanisms that exploit (or create) niches, and the role of community interactions on maintaining or defining these niches.