You are here: Home Prospective Students
Personal tools

Prospective Students

IMG0032.jpgI am seeking students interested in the microbial ecology of managed ecosystems with an interest in working across different spatial scales. Much of the research we do is applied and seeks to find solutions to contamination or other agricultural challenges such as recycling of wastes into soil nutrients (closing loops) or rebuilding depleted soils.  Recognizing that humans are inextricably linked to soils, recent research has extended into the social sciences and to understanding why people make the choices they do regarding soil management.

Microorganisms contribute to many environmental phenomena, whether we recognize it or not, and manifest themselves in a variety of ways. Graduate students in my lab, both MS and PhD students, are members of a variety of graduate groups and programs: Soils and Biogeochemistry, Microbiology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Ecology, Hydrologic Sciences, Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry, and International Agricultural Development. Research projects range include ones strongly focused on the molecular scale but always with application to understanding and sometimes managing microbial processes in nature.  Other projects are largely focused on the field scale and investigating how microbial populations and communities contribute to ecosystem services.

We study the microbial ecology of soils in agricultural ecosystems at the long term research plots at UC Davis' Russell Ranch, almond orchards and grape vineyards in California, and smallholder farms of Mukono District in Uganda.  We also conduct research in groundwater aquifers that have been contaminated with organic pollutants, particularly methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), or that are exposed to biofuels. 

The majority of our projects are multidisciplinary and involve, in some cases longstanding, collaborationswith hydrologists, engineers, agronomists, and social scientists. In some cases, students are co-advised by me and a professor from another discipline.