How does life imprint itself on a planet?

The Molecular Biogeochemistry Lab employs an interdisciplinary approach to explore carbon and nutrient dynamics in climatically-sensitive watersheds. Specifically, we look at microbially-mediated transformations of organic matter, and the implications of these modifications on carbon storage in different reservoirs. As carbon is exchanged between different air, land, and sea reservoirs, it is the ubiquitously-present microorganisms that inevitably control fluxes to and from the various carbon pools and ultimately dictate the reactivity of different reservoirs. These microorganisms are linked together in communities through evolving networks of metabolite exchange and trophic cascades. Scaled over a landscape or an entire volume of ocean, the numerical abundance and interconnectivity of microbial communities represent an enormous reservoir of biological diversity and metabolic power integral to global nutrient and climate balance. To address the interdisciplinary questions we are interested in we combine bulk- and molecular-level analyses to explore the chemical nature of the organic matter with advanced molecular biological techniques to probe the functional role of the microbial communities facilitating the organic matter transformations. 

Life on the edge: Adaptations to extreme environments 

How can life exist elsewhere in the solar system?

Biogeochemical fluxes from glaciers and ice sheets to the oceans

What is the nature and mechanism of organic carbon and nutrients exported from glacial systems?

What are the implications of this export on past and future carbon cycling? 

How do microbial community shifts in different environments drive biogeochemical cycling?

Microbial controls on marine carbon cycling

How do microbes transform, cycle, and store carbon in the ocean?