I am currently pursuing a Doctorate in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My research centers on the ways in which plants can shape the rhizosphere through their roots. I am a part of the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproduct Innovation (CABBI) and I use bioenergy grasses such as sorghum as a model for my research. I approach ecosystem ecology questions from a biogeochemical perspective.
Mangroves, particularly Avicennia germinans, are expanding northward along the Atlantic coast of Florida toward Georgia. Soils have been sampled from the rhizosphere of different species across sites at varying latitudes near St. Augustine, Florida, with plant tissue harvested from the corresponding mangrove individuals. Several incubation experiments will be performed to examine the effect that microorganisms associated with mangroves will have when introduced into the new salt marsh soil, including responses to both continual warming and sudden freezing events.