Ecosystem Ecology and Biogeochemistry


Ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry seeks to understand how the physiological activities of organisms interact with the physical environment to control the flow of energy and cycling of nutrients in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
Italics = secondary appointment in EEB, can serve as graduate co-chair only

Joel D. Blum (can serve as graduate co-chair only)

Joel Blum's research interests are in geochemical controls on ecosystems, and trace element and isotope geochemistry.

Brad Cardinale (can serve as graduate co-chair only)

Brad Cardinale uses theory, experiments, and observational studies to address questions aimed at understanding how human alteration of the environment impacts the biotic diversity of communities and, in turn, how this loss can affect fluxes of energy and matter that are fundamental to all biological processes. His research features three primary branches: biodiversity and ecosystem processes, community assembly, and restoration ecology.

Vincent Denef

Vincent Denef uses metagenomic and metaproteomic approaches to gather an improved understanding of microbial population dynamics and community functioning within ecosystem context. He is particularly interested in the connection between genomic variation and altered ecological behavior, and how short- and long-term environmental change can drive both. While he has been studying these concepts in systems ranging from abandoned mines to the human gastrointestinal tract, he is currently focusing on freshwater systems such as the Laurentian Great Lakes.

Melissa Duhaime (can serve as graduate co-chair only)

Melissa Duhaime focuses on marine microbiology, spanning two themes: (i) ocean plastic-microbe associations and (ii) marine virus (meta)genomics. For the first, she investigates the role of microbes in the fate of marine plastics, and the role of plastics in marine microbial community structure and function in natural (N. Pacific Gyre, North Sea) and engineered (Biosphere2 Ocean) systems. For the second, she uses genomic tools to investigate evolution and ecology of ocean viruses (phages) and their microbial hosts, with particular interest in the role of nutrient limitation on infection dynamics and virus-host evolution.

Mark Hunter

Mark Hunter's research interests include plant-animal interactions, ecosystem ecology, biodiversity and population dynamics. His research links population processes with ecosystem processes in terrestrial environments and explores the mitigation of global environmental change.

George Kling

George Kling's research interests are in ecosystem ecology and aquatic biogeochemistry.

John Lehman

John Lehman's research interests are in limnology, aquatic science, and nutrient and trophic dynamics.

Knute Nadelhoffer

Knute Nadelhoffer's research interests are in ecosystem ecology, terrestrial biogeochemistry and global change.

Tom Schmidt

Thomas Schmidt's laboratory is focused on the physiology and ecology of microbes. We routinely develop and apply nucleic acid-based methods to explore and understand patterns of diversity and function of microbial communities, and to guide cultivation efforts. Our research is currently focused on two microbial communities: those found in terrestrial environments and are involved in the flux of greenhouse gases, and microbes that constitute mammalian microbiome. As we develop a better appreciation for the relationship between the structure and function of these microbial communities, we are conducting research to uncover fundamental principles that explain distribution patterns of microbial populations.

Donald Zak (can serve as graduate co-chair only)

Donald Zak's work draws on ecology, microbiology, and biochemistry and is focused at several scales of understanding, ranging from the molecular to the ecosystem scale. Current research centers on understanding the link between plant and microbial activity within terrestrial ecosystems, and the influence climate change may have on these dynamics. Teaching includes courses in soil ecology and ecosystem ecology.