My research emphasis is in agroecosystem soil ecology and biogeochemistry. I explore the role of microbial communities in decomposition dynamics and rhizosphere processes, their influences on soil organic matter formation and stabilization, and their responses to agricultural management and global change. Visit my home page here.
Laurel is a PhD student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology and an NSF IGERT fellow. She graduated from St Olaf College with a B.A. in Biology and emphasis in biogeochemistry. Laurel is broadly interested in how complex interactions among plants, soils, and microbes regulate soil carbon cycling at the terrestrial-aquatic interface. Her current projects include tracking how shrub expansion in the Arctic will influence the carbon-climate feedback, assessing how permafrost thaw will regulate terrestrial-aquatic connectivity, and determining how geomorphic complexity influences metabolite distribution in subalpine watersheds. She was recently awarded a Department of Energy Science Graduate Student Research award to characterize root exudate chemistries and stabilization potentials on soil minerals. Laurel works closely with her advisor Matt Wallenstein, postdoc Megan Machmuller, and wonderful committee members—Francesca Cotrufo, Claudia Boot, and Tim Covino.
Megan’s research addresses how microbes and their interactions with the surrounding environment regulate ecosystem function. Her research aims to gain a better mechanistic understanding of the ecological processes influenced by climate change and agriculture management. She has studied these principles in several ecosystems including Arctic tundra, subtropical and temperate forests, and managed grassland and cropping systems. Currently, Megan is a USDA NIFA postdoctoral fellow investigating how crop domestication influences the rhizosphere microbial processes that facilitate crop health. You can find more detail about Megan and her research here.