Abstract: Soil microbial communities are an essential component of Earth’s ecosphere. They regulate carbon and nutrient cycling and interact closely with plants via root-rhizosphere interactions. The composition of microbial communities is determined by direct and indirect interactions with both biotic and abiotic environmental factors and can influence ecosystem scale processes (e.g., plant productivity, gas exchange) through taxa-specific functional capacities. Using genomic sequencing, field measurements, and soil chemical characterization, my research focuses on untangling the interactions that determine microbial community structure and exploring subsequent effects on the genetic capacity for organic matter decomposition, nutrient cycling, and metabolic activity.
Here I will present an overview of my research including 1) soil bacterial community dynamics in a forest suffering ash tree decline; 2) Arctic soil bacterial responses to permafrost thaw and variations in soil chemistry; and 3) Arctic soil microbial community and functional responses to artificially increased snow accumulation in situ and associated vegetation shifts.