Here in the Ecosystems Lab, we test the drivers and patterns of element cycling in ecosystems from polar to tropical, terrestrial to aquatic, and fresh to salty. We are especially interested in the insights that can be gained by looking at how ecosystems respond to chemical perturbations, whether natural or of human origin. Past and ongoing work is/has focused on:

  • impacts of elevated nutrients, engineered nanomaterials, mining contaminants, or increased salinity on ecosystem function
  • interactive effects of nutrient and metal(loid) contamination on ecosystem function
  • distribution of metals, metalloids, carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous in dissolved, nanoparticle, and colloidal forms
  • interactions of the biota with elements in different size fractions
  • microbial detoxification of arsenic to enhance restoration success in high arsenic soils
  • floating treatment wetlands as a way to improve wastewater lagoon ecosystem efficacy

We use approaches from microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, and ecosystem ecology to pursue the broad patterns and underlying mechanisms of element cycling in ecosystems.