Research Overview

Photo of seagrass

Environmental drivers of the seagrass microbiome

A series of projects investigating the potential biotic and abiotic drivers of microbiome assembly in seagrass beds including observing (1) differences across locations within a seagrass patch, (2) differences related to proximity to a marina and (3) succession during ammonification.

Photo of Cassie holding a core containing seagrass; Photo credit: Katy Dynarski

Seagrass-associated fungi

Not a lot is known about the diversity of marine fungi or what role fungi might play in associations with marine plants. This project seeks to survey the taxonomic and functional diversity of seagrass associated fungi and to determine the evolutionary and ecological importance of these associations.

Photo of CA wildflowers; Photo credit: Andrew Latimer

Grassland plant microbiomes

I am collaborating with PhD candidate Marina LaForgia in Susan Harrison and Andrew Latimer's labs at UC Davis, to study below-ground plant-microbe feedback loops during competition between native wildflowers and invasive grass species in California grasslands across varying precipitation regimes.

Photo of a crab

Land crab microbiomes

I am collaborating with PhD candidate Victoria Morgan in Rick Grosberg's lab at UC Davis, to study the gut microbiomes of crabs across a gradient of terrestriality. We are interested in looking for patterns of co-evolution and convergent evolution in the gut microbiomes of land crabs.

Photo of phoronids taken by Ken-ichi Ueda; https://www.flickr.com/photos/ken-ichi/

Phoronid microbiomes

Phoronids are a tiny (~12 species) phyla of marine invertebrates that live inside protective chitinous tubes in the sediment. We sampled phoronids found inside and outside of seagrass beds to investigate their microbiome.

Photo of Arkashin Shurf, Kamchatka, Russia taken by Russell Neches; https://www.flickr.com/photos/rneches/

Miscellaneous projects

These projects involve turning existing, but long forgotten, datasets into thoughtful and useful analyses. Currently these include (1) metagenomic data from hot springs in Kamchatka, Russia and (2) metagenomic data from aquariums.

Recent publications

Three Incredible Tales of Microbial Symbiosis

Our recent science communication article, "Even Superheroes Need Help Sometimes: Three Incredible Tales of Microbial Symbiosis", is now available. Frontiers for Young Minds is an awesome journal for kids, reviewed by kids.

Ammonification in seagrass sediments

In our paper, "Microbiome succession during ammonification in eelgrass bed sediments", we observed microbial community succession related to sulfur cycling, but could find no correlation between the community and rates of ammonification.