I am a microbial ecologist and evolutionary biologist who studies the diversity, structure, and genome dynamics of freshwater microbial communities.
Climate change dramatically impacts freshwater ecosystems, which are becoming warmer, more acidic, and nutrient rich. The collective influence of the microbial inhabitants of these ecosystems, despite their tiny size, can have an immense impact on water quality. Microbes may cause lake-wide harmful cyanobacterial blooms, the partial or complete deoxygenation of bottom waters in lakes, and their activity helps to determine whether a lake is a source or sink of carbon.
Despite their large impact, we lack fundamental knowledge on the ecology and evolution of these aquatic microbial systems. Therefore, research in the lab focuses on how aquatic environments and microhabitats influence microbial community diversity, composition, metabolic activity, and evolution. To address these topics, our lab uses a combination of field work, molecular methods, and computational tools.