We all live downstream.
Water quality is an expression of what is happening on the surrounding land. Our lab seeks to understand the role that microorganisms, such as algae, bacteria, and fungi, play in regulating stream ecosystem function, how humans alter these dynamics, and, ultimately, what that means for aquatic and terrestrial life on the receiving end. We are specifically interested in the response of algae and bacteria to nutrient pulses associated with storm runoff, and how adjacent land-use modifies these responses. For example, a current project investigates how stream microorganisms metabolize nutrients that are exported to larger rivers and estuaries, like the Chesapeake Bay. Our aim is to better inform stream nutrient thresholds to minimize negative downstream impacts.