Summary

I investigate multiple dimensions of terrestrial ecology, employing tools and analytics to elucidate spatiotemporal patterns and processes of fungi, plants and their associated organisms – in light of global change (atmospheric chemistry, climate change, land-use change and pollution).

Research topics 

Global change biology (climate, nitrogen, CO2, O3, teaching)

Ecology (conservation, community, invasion, landscape, macro-, ecosystem, teaching)

Mycology (conservation, ecology, invasion, identification (mushrooms, root tips, molecular), fungaria, global change, mycorrhizae, teaching, wood-decay)

Big data (citizen science, herbarium/fungaria collections, meta-databases, open-access, phenology, statistical, “wrangling”)

R (a statistical package; data processing / formatting, statistical analyses, teaching)

Statistics (distributional modelling, experimental design, multivariate analyses, mixed effects models, regression techniques, processing data, spatial analyses)

Molecular processes (DNA extraction, TRFLP, Sanger sequencing and analysis, and high throughput sequencing)

Field work (arboretum, natural lands, restoration, experimental designs, productivity, respiration, global change)

 

Vision

My goals are to lead, coordinate and conduct ecological research related to fungi and plants – within a global change backdrop –combined with education across demographics, i.e., students, the general public, scientists and policy-makers, on our contemporary knowledge of it – as well as the gaps – and thinking about the future implications. Fungi, plants, and their interactions, are integral for natural systems, as well as societies and subsequent policies that are implemented.

History

I am a data scientist who focuses on analysing ecological impacts of global change. I am also a fungal ecologist who investigates how these organisms interact with their environment and biotic associations, across multiple scales and forms of data. And, I am a terrestrial ecologist, ultimately interested in all components of biology and natural history, although especially focused on forests, fungi and global change.

I, during my PhD, investigated how increased tropospheric carbon dioxide and ozone feedback through forest trees to their ectomycorrhizal fungal symbionts, in terms of species composition, productivity and respiration. I have also investigated nitrogen deposition and abatement on ectomycorrhizal fungi; this is an on-going project with collaborators, that was initiated in addition to instructing undergraduate students in biology subjects. I, next, transitioned into full-time research, and have from that time forward focused on global change impacts to fungi in Europe, with published research demonstrating the importance of climate, land-use change, and biotic components to fungi.

I have, during the most recent past years, been utilizing large datasets of observational data (museum & citizen-science fungal fruit body recordings) to address the global change topics, via use of these data when integrated with open-access, multiscale environmental data. Modelling approaches have targeted varied topics, from phenology patterns of fungi due to direct and indirect effects by climate and vegetation (using remote sensing data) – with future predictions – to the macroecology of fungal assemblages at continental scales and related to their primary environmental correlates, to land-use change and the importance of forest types for diversity. I have additional experience with ecosystem, community, traits and molecular ecology (environmental DNA), and especially when applied to fungi, with all topics in relation to global change. My research spans experimental forms (e.g., Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) ecosystem-level field sites; manipulative field experiments; molecular and microscopy lab analyses; protected and conserved natural area surveys) as well as types of data and statistical methods. I focus on northern systems, especially forests, across continents (North America and Europe).

I also have experience instructing and mentoring undergraduate and MS students, and further experience transferring skills to peers and students, especially related to mycorrhizal fungi, R, and statistical analyses.

There are three US states and four European countries, across over nine research and teaching institutions, that I have lived within and worked from. A vastly diverse set of professional experiences, then, is something I can draw upon for inspiration and advice during future research, educational and mentoring opportunities.

Academic degrees 

Doctorate, January 2005 – August 2009, Michigan Technological University (Forestry Science)

Bachelor of Science, August 1999 – August 2004, University of Wisconsin – Madison (BotanyBiological Aspects of Conservation)

 


Photo credit: Evia photos