I'm an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Huxley College at Western Washington University. I apply the principles of science and engineering to a broad range of topics that include soil ecology, toxicology, restoration, energy, and perhaps most importantly, the elegant application of statistics.

Diverse native plant community.
(Bitterroot Valley, Montana)

 

Research

I'm interested in how soil (physically, chemically, and biotically) affects individual plants and structures plant communities. This work can be applied broadly to improve practices in the remediation and restoration of both anthropogenically and naturally disturbed systems as well as predict the response of plant communities to future changes. My research focuses on mycorrhizae, an ancient plant-fungal symbiosis in which the plant provides the fungus with carbon and the fungus provides the host plant with a suite of potential benefits, the most common being increased nutrient acquisition. I'm exploring the interactions between ectomycorrhizae and arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM) through dual host plants, the role of AM in plant invasions, and the effects of AM on host plants across stress gradients of pH and temperature. I am particularly excited about the potential of mycorrhizal networks to connect multiple plants into 'meta-organisms' that communicate and share nutrients. Learn more about our research group and current projects in the Soil Ecology Lab.

Fungal storage structures in plant roots

Teaching

I'm teaching Contaminant Movement in the Environment (ESCI 460) in Winter Quarter 2014. This is an advanced "Fate and Transport" course that emphasizes the use of quantitative problem solving skills in determining the phases a contaminant may partition into, how quickly it may move through the environment, how it might degrade, and what form it may ultimately persist in. In Spring 2014, I'm teaching Applications in Energy Production (ESCI 480). In this field-based class we will visit conventional and alternative energy facilities and learn how energy is produced and delivered to consumers. We will pay particular attention to the basic physics, chemistry and biology of energy systems as well as their impacts on the environment. Also in the spring I will be teaching Biostatistical Analysis (ESCI 340) in which we will study, at an introductory and intermediate level, data analysis and statistical tests commonly used in the biological and environmental sciences including descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, regression and correlation, experimental design

Education

B.S. (Civil Engineering), Michigan Technological University, 1995

M.Sc. (Environmental Engineering), University of Colorado, 1997

Ph.D. (Environmental Science), Montana State University, 2004