Microbial mediation of plant and ecosystem responses to global change components. We are currently investigating the mechanisms through which soil microorganisms mediate plant and ecosystem responses to elevated atmospheric CO2, O3 and N inputs. Our major focus is on how microorganisms respond to alterations in C and N availability under these global change components, and what are the implications of the resulting changes in terms of ecosystem C storage.
Microbial interactions and pathogen/disease suppression. We want to know whether and how the structure, diversity and activities of soil microbial and mesofaunal communities influence the population dynamics and activities of soilborne pathogenic fungi, Pythium spp. and Rhizoctonia spp. in particular.
Microbial mediation of plant interactions. We are interested in understanding how microbes, mycorrhizal and endophytic fungi in particular, modulate the interactions among coexisting plant species. Effects of disturbance on the structure and activities of soil organisms. Our current research examines how disturbance such as conventional farming and elevated atmospheric CO2 affects soil microbes and soil food web interactions and how the resulting alterations in soil organisms influence C and N cycling.