Research Interests (300 words)
My research focuses on the invertebrates who live in the soil. These invertebrates (e.g. millipedes, springtails, isopods, etc.) are very important in the process of decomposition, which returns vital nutrients to the soil. I'm interested in what makes these invertebrates tick. What drives them to be present and active in the soils. To take a small look into this I set up an experiment along an elevational gradient where soil nutrients varied, knowing that nutritional value of leaves does drive decomposition. Additionally, I added two different nutrients, calcium and zinc, that play vital roles in how invertebrates build their exoskeleton. I did this to measure whether or not the community changes when additional nutrients are available. I also measured the decomposition activity of the invertebrates, because maybe their numbers didn't change but they became more active in order to obtain the newly available nutrients. By knowing more about what makes our soil invertebrates present and active, we can know more about how to make them efficiently cycle nutrients. This can have applications in areas where nutrients cycle slowly, such as in agricultural fields.