Hanover Forest Science Seminar Series: Ashley Keiser
Date: April 4, 2017
Time: 4-5 p.m. (coffee and cookies at 3:50 p.m.)
Natural Resources Building, 480 Wilson Road, Room 225
Ashley Keiser presents “The interplay between biotic and abiotic controls over litter decomposition processes.”
My research explores a key ecological process, litter decomposition, through the lens of the belowground, decomposer community. Foliar litter decomposition is mediated by the soil microbial community, but research consistently shows climate and litter quality are the primary drivers in cross-site studies. My research builds from the dominant paradigm that soil microbial communities are functionally equivalent due to their high genetic diversity, and thus, potential for redundancy across space. I demonstrate that soil microbial communities are in fact functionally dissimilar, and that they hold these functional legacies over time. At the same time, abiotic factors exert control over decomposition processes both independent of and in conjunction with the microbial community. I will discuss the interaction between these biotic and abiotic controls, and how this interplay affects our ability to make predictions regarding patterns in decomposition and hence the cycling of carbon and nutrients.