Secondary Core Area
MS, University of Colorado at Boulder
BS, University of North Carolina
Broadly, Emily investigates the relationships between environmental conditions, nutrient and pollutant biogeochemical cycles, and the microorganisms that regulate these cycles. She employ techniques from microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, statistical modeling, and environmental economics. Currently, she is conducting two primary projects. First, she is investigating the interactions between dissolved organic matter (DOM) characteristics, extracellular enzyme activity, microbial community structure, and mercury pollution in wild rice patches in the Great Lakes region. Her preliminary research has shown that reduced humic-like portions of the DOM pool inhibit mercury methylation, the process that generates bioavailable mercury, in unvegetated areas, while the same portions of the DOM pool facilitate mercury methylation in vegetated areas. Current research investigates these relationships in wild rice patches, an economically and culturally important resource for Native American communities in the Great Lakes region. Secondly, she is conducting a metaanalysis project to evaluate the relative utility of environmental parameters and microbial data in predicting rates of biogeochemical processes, such as biological carbon dioxide uptake. The project aims to improve ecosystem process models and to allow decisionmakers access to more accurate information than current predictions. Her group has been actively soliciting datasets for its metaanalysis and has established collaborations with over 35 authors from around the world. Current collaborators reside in diverse locations and study disparate ecosystems, ranging from here in Colorado to Europe, Asia, and Australia, and the group hopes to decipher common themes in the importance of environmental and microbial data in explaining ecosystem processes across the globe. For more details on other relevant projects, see Emily's advisor Diana Nemergut's website.