One of the first things people notice when they walk into a forest is the immense diversity. While there is much to see throughout the canopy, the vast majority of a forest’s diversity lies hidden below our feet in the thick mat of leaf litter. Inspired by this hidden diversity, I have built a research program focused on uncovering the complexities of this below ground environment.

More specifically, I am a community ecologist who asks broad ecological questions about what drives ecosystem function and community assembly using some of the smallest and most numerous things on earth: chemical elements, microorganisms and invertebrates. I combine the technical toolkit of a microbiologist and bioinformatician to conduct field and lab-based experiments that investigate key ecological processes. While my research interests are extensive, a common theme throughout is exploring soil and leaf litter environments to understand ecosystem-level processes like nutrient cycling and decomposition.

Please feel free to contact me with any comments or questions you may have.

Examining an Azteca trigona nest on Barro Colorado Island in Panama.