I am an ecologist broadly interested in the forces that structure ecological communities. In my PhD, supervised by Dr. Deborah Goldberg at UM EEB, I studied how seed dispersal patterns and species traits interactively shape regional vegetation patterns and community response to climate change. Now, co-advised by Dr. Ashley Shade and Dr. Elena Litchman, I apply the tools and perspectives I learned studying plant community ecology to human gut microbiome dynamics. I am particularly interested in combining microbial phenotypic data and longitudinal community surveys to uncover the tradeoffs driving microbial community assembly in host-associated systems, and to identify when and how these differ from plant and animal systems.
PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 2017
University of Michigan
B.A. in Biology, 2007
Zoo School, 2003
Our gut microbes are part of us, and it is a current challenge to understand how the ecological mechanisms and patterns underlying their community dynamics affect our physical and mental health.
Alpine grassland species are already shifting their ranges in response to climate change. Can we use species traits to predict shifts in community composition and function in response to human-driven environmental changes?
Communication is central to science and depends on all of us being conversant with scientific principles and the scientific process. I try to incorporate science education, in a broad sense, into whatever I’m doing. Before graduate school, I spent two years mentoring Namibian college students at the Gobabeb Research and Training Center and managing science and conservation efforts of the Amazon rainforest at GVI Ecuador. During my PhD, I taught elementary school students in Detroit and was a graduate student instructor for four courses over seven semesters. In my last year, I helped design a R-based laboratory component for EEB 485: Population and Community Ecology, a graduate-level course at UM introducing students to the fundamental principles governing single and interacting populations. My labs are written in R Markdown and are available here.