Faculty Advisor(s)Jen Schweitzer
I am interested in discovering how within species genetic variation affects plant and soil community composition and ecosystem function. I study both above- and below-ground aspects of the ecosystem, including soil microbial and mycorrhizal communities, nutrient cycling and associated plant communities. Specifically, I am exploring genetic variation within the clonal, woody shrub Rhododendron, a dominant understory shrub in Southern Appalachian forests.
Before coming to UT for graduate school, I enjoyed applying my scientific background by conducting research with the non-profit Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council and the UT Department of Forestry, managing rare and keystone species with the National Park Service, and working as a science writing mentor with NSF and NIH doctoral fellows. I look forward to continuing developing connections among academic, non-profit, management and communication realms of scientific research.