Climate change and anthropogenic disturbance in the environment affect the quality of terrestrial carbon and the microbial use of carbon in both terrestrial and aquatic systems. One of the most important unknown factors to C modelling and climate projections studies is the carbon use efficiency of microbial decomposers and the biological feedback of decomposition of organic matter to climate change.
The aim of my PhD project is to understand the ecology of the major microbial decomposers, bacteria and fungi, focusing on their contribution to carbon cycling. In contrast with terrestrial ecosystems, microbial growth rates and respiration have been extensively studied in aquatic ecosystems. I am interested in the development and application of growth-based techniques to bridge the knowledge between aquatic and terrestrial microbial ecology, focusing on the microbial contribution to carbon cycling.
To achieve this, I am working with growth-based methods, stable isotopes and microbial community structure, but I also focus on environmental factors controlling microbial growth.
My current project includes studies on litter decomposition, priming effect, and a critical review bridging the aquatic and terrestrial ecology.