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I received my undergraduate training in biology and ecology with a minor degree in marine biology from the University of New Hampshire. Through work-study programs, I worked with eel grass and studied the effects of the wasting disease responsible for it’s decline on the east coast. I became interested in microbial-plant and microbial-animal interactions and pursued graduate studies in this research area at the University of South Carolina under the direction of Dr. Charles R. Lovell. There I studied the relationship between nitrogen-fixing bacteria (diazotrophs) and the saltmarsh cord grass, Spartina alterniflora. I investigated the impacts of tidal gradients (creek-side to upper marsh) and carbon input (through root exudation) on diazotroph assemblage composition using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis. Please see my C.V. for published papers. After graduating, I worked for a private company that performed microbial community analysis on a variety of samples using DGGE and polar lipid fatty acid analyses. I joined Dr. Andersen’s lab in Fall 2004.
My current interests include assessing and understanding functional stability of microbial communities, disturbance phenomena and the resultant microbial diversity fluctuations, and microbial processes in bioremediation.