Yale School of the Environment
B.S., 2020 Wheaton College, Environmental Science
Click here for CV.
My research focuses on soil food webs and understanding how soil invertebrates are related to nutrient cycling and plant communities. My main goal is to investigate the relationship between soil food web diversity and nitrogen availability. I explore these questions using ground beetles as an indicator species because they are a large family of ground-dwelling arthropods that are easy to collect and identify (not to mention cute!). Another aspect of my research explores how soil food webs are responding to anthropogenic nitrogen disturbance. In many ecosystems, excess nitrogen from agriculture runoff or deposition reduces biodiversity and carbon storage which has adverse long-term effects on ecosystem function. I’m interested in understanding how soil food webs are responding to nitrogen pollution in forest systems and implications for biodiversity, carbon storage, and conservation.
In the Soil Ecology lab at The Morton Arboretum in Lise, Illinois from January 2020 – August 2021 I researched how specific tree species influence soil properties and their relationships to soil food webs under the mentorship of Drs. Meghan Midgley and Robert Buchkowski. In the summer of 2021, we surveyed differences in invertebrates communities in 18 forestry plots across various soil and litter environments. As an REU student in the summer of 2020, I used data from the National Ecological Observatory Network to investigate the abundance and diversity of ground beetles between forest types. We found that evergreen forests drive variation in ground beetle diversity and density but the mechanism for this difference needs to be more fully investigated, which brought me to my current work in the Schmitz lab.
Evergreen abundance drives ground beetle diversity and density in eastern temperate forests (in preparation).