Major advisor: Dr. Louise Egerton-Warburton
- Research topic: Soil health in agroecosystems
- Research interests: soil health/restoration, soil microbiome, sustainable/regenerative agriculture, agro-sociology
- New Roots for Restoration Biology Integration Institute Mini-Grant
My research focuses on several facets of soil health in agroecosystems. First, I am interested in how we measure and assess soil health in these systems, especially with respect to the soil microbiome. “Soil health” is a broad concept, which can be measured in many ways, e.g. assessing structure, nutrient contents, and the soil microbiome. Specifically, I am examining whether the biodiversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) serves as a useful and informative measure of overall soil health by seeing how it correlates with other measures. My research also investigates the use of various alternative cropping systems, such as polyculture with perennials, to restore soil health in agroecosystems which have become degraded through the use of intensive agricultural practices, i.e. monoculture with annual crops. Does the use of these practices restore soil health to a level sufficient to support the transformation of degraded farmland to restored prairie? Finally, my research seeks to understand gaps between soil scientists’ understanding of soil health as compared to that of those who actually manage agroecosystems by surveying farmers’ perspectives on soil health and engagement with scientific research on the topic, as well as seeing whether their assessment of a site’s soil health aligns with that of commonly-used lab tests of soil health.