Ball State University
Ball State University
Peatland food web ecology
With funding from the National Science Foundation (DEB-1651195), we are examining the role of food web structure on carbon cycling under variable nutrient availability in northern peatlands. This research evaluates the relative importance of bottom-up versus top-down effects (and their interactions) on peatland food webs and examines how the presence of an algal energy pathway regulates carbon inputs to and losses from boreal peatlands.
Ecosystem responses to climate change in boreal peatlands
We are studying the potential for long-term changes in hydrology to influence ecosystem carbon cycling by altering plant-microbial interactions in northern peatlands. The quality of organic matter varies widely among plants and organic matter from some plant species may be more easily metabolized by the microbial community than others. Therefore, changes in plant community composition, such as those expected with climate change, have the potential to influence ecosystem carbon flux by altering the composition of organic matter available to microorganisms. This research is being conducted as part of the Long-Term Research in Environmental Biology (LTREB) program and in collaboration with the Bonanza Creek LTER. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation (DEB-2011286 and DEB-2141285).
Benthic ecology of high alpine lakes
We are studying mechanisms controlling biofilm development along the nearshore of Castle Lake in northern California to better understand how conditions associated with long-term drought may influence autotrophic and heterotrophic processes in high alpine lakes. This research is being conducted at the Castle Lake Research Station in collaboration with Allison Rober (Ball State Univ.), Sudeep Chandra (Univ. Nevada-Reno), and Steven Sadro (U.C. Davis).
Ecosystem metabolism in Great Lakes wetlands
Increased water clarity and nutrient availability associated with invasive dressenid mussels have resulted in greater benthic algal biomass along the shoreline in the Laurentian Great Lakes. We are interested in determining how greater benthic production will alter carbon cycling in areas of the Great Lakes where benthic algal mats occur.
Predicting harmful algal blooms
We are evaluating associations between environmental conditions and the occurrence of toxin-producing cyanobacteria in an effort to build a model to predict the abundance and distribution of harmful algal blooms within agriculturally dominated watersheds.