Broadly, I am interested in terrestrial ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry. I like thinking about microbial linkages between global change and ecosystem-scale processes and am especially interested in questions that will advance our understanding of nutrient cycling dynamics and address knowledge gaps for management/mitigation purposes in the face of global change.Currently I am focused on better understanding the influence of geomorphology, climate, and biological diversity on nitrogen cycling and limitation in lowland tropical forests and the underlying mechanisms of control. Additionally I am a student of Brown University and the MBL’s
“Reverse Ecology” IGERT program. My cohort and I are working to integrate net generation sequencing into improving our understanding of nitrogen cycling in salt marsh systems.In addition to my research I enjoy designing and participating in creative communication and outreach efforts to connect the public and decision makers to science.
Lindsay McCulloch – Ph.D. Student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
I am interested in tropical ecosystem ecology with a specific interest in how nutrients move throughout a system. Broadly, I study the interface between plants and soils and the varying potential influences they have on each other. I often think about the relationship between fungal hyphae and plants and how that facilitates the movement of nutrients in typically nutrient poor soils. I plan to better understand how this relationship contributes to larger processes, such as the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycle to gain a better understanding of the intricate workings of these cycles and potential global impacts.
Audrey Massmann – Ph.D. Student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
After graduating from Barnard College with a major in environmental science and a minor in chemistry, I taught science in New York City public schools. I now work with the Porder Lab to study the biogeochemistry of tropical soils in the context of land-use changes. I am interested in the role of symbiotic relationships and microbe-mineral interactions in mobilizing nutrients needed for plant growth. My previous research includes comparing the soil microbial communities of Malaysian rainforests and oil palm plantations, as well as exploring the potential of New York City green roofs to serve as corridors for soil microbial diversity.
Kelsey Fenn – Undergraduate Environmental Science Concentrator
I believe that better understanding the natural world is an integral tool to shaping and interpreting the human world. Much of modern agricultural mimics some of the basic principles of terrestrial ecosystems, and I am interested in learning about the complexities and nuances of those mechanisms. My senior thesis examines nutrient cycling in tropical forests to understand how belowground biodiversity is influenced by abiotic factors. My project focuses on the Brazilian Atlantic Forest to assess symbiotic associations between Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) and native, legume trees. I am curious to study the parameters of this mutualism that is thought to be more intricate than a dichotomous relationship where AMF provide nutrients to plants in exchange for carbon. This research is important to me by providing a deeper look into the mechanisms of belowground symbiotic microorganisms. After I finish my undergraduate studies, I plan to apply this experience in belowground tropical ecosystems to human integrated systems, focusing on agroecology.
Sawyer Balint – Undergraduate Environmental Science Concentrator
I am interested in the influence of terrestrial ecosystems on global climate, and how further study of biological process can advance our predictions of future climate change. As an avid outdoorsman and competitive sailor, I have long had a personal connection and interest in the intersection between ecology and climate. Most of the work I have participated in so far has focused on biogeochemistry and ecosystem ecology. Specifically, I have been involved in the study of nutrient cycling in tropical landscapes, with a strong emphasis on how changes in climate and biological diversity affect phosphorous cycling and nitrogen fixation.
Ruby Ho (Lab Manager)
I am responsible for the day to day operations in the lab, including helping students with their work and running samples that come in from our various projects. All inquiries that are lab-specific should be sent to me.
Some Recent Lab Alums:
Joy Winborne (former Post Doc): Current whereabouts: Post doc at Boston University in the Hutyra Lab
Justin Becknell (former Post Doc): Current whereabouts: Assistant Professor of Ecology, Colby College
Aida Feng (former undergrad): Current whereabouts: Fulbright Fellowship in Germany
Maya Almaraz (former PhD Student): Current whereabouts: NSF Funded post doc in Ben Houlton’s Lab at UC Davis
Eric Roy (former post doc): Current whereabouts: Assistant Professor at The University of Vermont
Rachel Chelsea Nagy (former Ph.D. student): Current whereabouts: Postdoctoral Fellow in Balch Lab at CU Boulder.
Cooper Tamayo (former undergrad): Current whereabouts: MS in Environmental Management at the Bren School, UCSB.
Rebekah Stein (former undergrad): Current whereabouts: Graduate program in Ecology at the University of Michigan
Laura Schreeg (former post doc): Current whereabouts: Program Manager at U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S.Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Steven Goldsmith (former post doc). Current whereabouts: Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Villanova.
Joaquin Chaves (former post doc). Current whereabouts: Research Scientist, NASA Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry
Shelby Hayhoe Riskin (former Ph.D. student). Current whereabouts: Publishing papers and being a mom.
Carmen Tubbesing (former Bio undergrad). Current whereabouts: Ph.D. Student, UC Berkeley.
Jesse Bateman (former GeoBio undergrad). Current whereabouts: Graduate student in ecology at Stanford.
Mana Tang (former GeoBio undergrad). Current whereabouts: Graduate student in anthropology at the Washington University in St. Louis
Timothy Huth (former Env. Studies MS student). Current whereabouts: Risk analyst at Risk Management Solutions.