Ph.D.; Microbiology; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
B.S.; Chemical Engineering; Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
The Mary W. and Foster G. McGaw Chair of Health Sciences
- Biology 116: Introduction to Cell Biology
- Biology 230: Microbiology
- Biology 345: Genomics
- Biology 472: Research and Design of Experiments
Austin College is located in the Blackland Prairie, an ecosystem distinguished by its rich black soil and abundant biodiversity. The native grasses that dominate this prairie ecosystem have deep roots that promote infiltration and storage of water and protect the soil from erosion. Historically, periodic fires and grazing by bison helped maintain this ecosystem by eliminating woody vegetation and promoting growth of native plants. Soil microbes located in and around the roots of the prairie plants are also important in the maintenance of this ecosystem. Microbes are key players in the cycling of nutrients and also contribute to helping shape the structure of the soil. With increasing agriculture and industrialization during the 19th and 20th centuries, most of the Blackland Prairie was converted to farmland. Today, less than 1% of the Blackland Prairie remains. With the increasing threat of Blackland Prairie disappearance, restoration has become a top priority. Keith Kisselle and I collaborate with Austin College students to study the impact that soil characteristics, grass species, and restoration management strategies have on shaping soil microbial communities in North Texas Prairies.