Contemporary human activities worldwide are altering the resources required by plants (e.g., carbon dioxide, precipitation, and nutrients) at an alarming rate. Understanding how ecosystems are responding to these resource alterations is important for predicting feedbacks between the atmosphere and the biosphere, which have large impacts on global climate and thus human society. My research focuses on the links between the carbon and nutrient cycles and how resource availability can influence biological processes, plant functional traits, and biodiversity preservation.
Most of my work has been conducted in the tropics. Since 2007, I have lead a long-term forest fertilization experiment in a lowland tropical rainforest in Costa Rica called EFFEX (EARTH Forest Fertilization Experiment), and where we have studied how nutrient limitation influences biological processes, such as forest productivity and greenhouse gas emissions from the forest floor. I also collaborate locally with scientists in the subsurface group at Argonne National Laboratory, where we are exploring methane dynamics and how microbial community composition relates to greenhouse gas emissions.