My research training has been highly interdisciplinary, at the interface of ecology/environmental science, aquatic/stream and terrestrial systems, microbial ecology and biogeochemistry. My research interests focus broadly on ecosystem ecology including assessing functional integrity of aquatic systems, impacts of environmental stressors on aquatic ecosystems, ecosystem ecology of microbial communities, conservation biology and trophic cascades within streams. These activities require a multidisciplinary approach and my use of stable carbon isotope probing of phospholipids techniques has proved successful for linking specific populations within complex microbial consortia with substrate utilization. Furthermore, in collaboration with Stroud Water Research Centre, Avondale, Pennsylvania, I have contributed additional empirical data to support microbial biogeography in aquatic ecosystems.
The results of this study have provided evidence that environmental heterogeneity directly influence the biogeographical patterns exhibited by microbes. Also, this findings support emerging picture in lotic ecosystem for non-random patterns in microbial biomass and community structure and that local environmental heterogeneity regulate microbial distribution over annual cycles.
My Masters in Environmental Science from the UNESCO – International Institute for Infrastructure, Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering (UNESCO-IHE), Delft, the Netherland focused on stream ecology. My research activities took me to German Black forest investigating litter decomposition across multiple spatial scales in German Black forest streams working with Scott Tiegs and Mark Gessner. Results showed an important practical implication that natural variability need not compromised litter decomposition assays as a means of assessing functional ecosystem integrity.
My doctoral study was at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL (http://bsc.ua.edu/frontiers-of-biology-2012/) where I was a Teaching/Research Assistant at the Microbial Ecology Lab of Dr. Robert Findlay. My interdisciplinary research to elucidate the bacteria responsible for the utilization of humic dissolved organic matter (DOM) in stream ecosystem using Stable Isotope Probing (SIP) of phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) and 13C enriched DOM, combines biogeochemistry, lipidomics and microbial ecology to better understand the biodegradability of natural organic matter and associated microbial community but also will increase our knowledge of DOM dynamics.
PLFAs are a major component of the cell membrane of all microbes (bacteria and eukaryotes) and are relatively easily extracted from natural samples. PLFA analysis provides direct information on the whole microbial community and major advantages of using PLFA as biomarkers includes quantitative information on viable (living) biomass, community structure (Population “Fingerprint”) and microbial activity.
I am broadly trained in stable isotope and PLFA techniques, stream, terrestrial and microbial ecology. My research activities have been and continue to be field and laboratory based and requires a multidisciplinary approach.
Apart from research, I enjoy traveling (been to 14 countries in 4 continents), writing poems and articles, enjoy jazz, photography, nature, play lawn tennis, chess and scrabble.