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Kirsten Hofmockel is an associate professor in the Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology Department at Iowa State University.  She directs the Microbial Ecology Laboratory, which focuses on connecting microscale mechanism to ecosystem-scale biogeochemical processes.

I am a PhD Candidate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program. I am interested in the effect of environmental gradients and land management on microbial community abundance and activity and, in turn, how changes in microbial communities feedback to influence nutrient cycling. My research focuses on the effect of alternative biomass cropping systems on carbon and nitrogen cycling, with specific focus on denitrification at the Landscape Biomass Project @ the Uthe Farm.
Email: sharg(at)

Ph.D. 2014
My research interests focus on soil ecology and tallgrass prairie restoration. I am specifically interested in the role of soil aggregates in mediating microbial interactions with organic matter and resulting effects on ecosystem C and N storage and cycling. I believe understanding these processes is vital to addressing environmental challenges in anthropogenic grasslands, including prairies and croplands.
I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Illinois Natural History Survey in Dr. Andrew Miller's Mycology Lab.


I am a Ph. D. student interested in the effect of microbial community processes on ecosystem processes. By working in soil I hope to strengthen our knowledge about interactions between physical, chemical, and biological processes at different scales. More specifically, I study the link between soil microbial activity and greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, CH4, and N2O) in agro-ecosystems at the Uthe Farm Landscape Biomass Project.

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My Masters research focuses on the implications of conventional crop rotations and diversified, low external input crop rotations for soil nutrient cycling at Marsden Farm in Boone County, Iowa. I use measures of soil microbial biomass and enzyme activity throughout the growing season to study the pools and processes that drive nitrogen availability. The overarching goal of my research is to understand the belowground processes underpinning sustainable agricultural systems.

Email: aeking (at) iastate (dot) edu

I’m a soil microbial ecologist interested in the mechanisms underlying the structure and diversity of soil-born bacterial and fungal communities. Specifically, I seek to provide new insights into how specific soil parameters, such as habitat connectivity as determined by soil structure and hydration status influence microbial interactions as well as bacterial and fungal community structure at scales relevant to microbes, which are the aggregate and pore scale. In my research I combine culturing approaches and microcosm experimentation with field-surveys and high-throughput sequencing techniques.
My current research goal is to contribute to a better understanding of the contributions of microbial diversity to ecosystem functioning. Specifically, I aim at gaining new insights into the relationships between soil structure, microbial community composition and ecosystem carbon cycling by combining lab experiments and field-surveys.


I am a Ph.D. student in the Interdepartmental Microbiology program. My research focuses on determining the key microbial organisms involved in C cycling, particularly cellulose degradation. I use a combination of field experiments, to determine the impact of plant/soil interactions on microbial cellulose degradation, and lab incubations with fluorescently labeled cellulose nanocrystals to directly determine the key microbes involved in C cycling.

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I am a Research Associate II in Kirsten Hofmockel’s lab and am responsible for organization and coordination of the day-to-day lab and fieldwork activities for the postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and undergraduate research assistants. My background is in microbial ecology with an interest in how microbial diversity and function in a broad range of ecosystems is impacted by human activities such as agriculture, eutrophication and climate change.


I am a microbial ecologist in Kirsten Hofmockel’s lab with broad interests in ecosystem processes, microbial communities, plant-microbe symbiotic relationships, and nutrient cycling.
More specifically, my research focuses on the long-term consequences of organic amendments and crop-system diversification on soil microbial community composition, as well as the metabolically active populations involved in carbon and nitrogen transformations.
By combining microcosm experiments with high-throughput sequencing methods, I aim to provide valuable knowledge about how microbial diversity regulates nutrient cycling, allowing us to develop sustainable management strategies that maintain crop yields whilst guarding ecological integrity.

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow associated with the Hofmockel lab. I am an ecologist working at the interface of above- and below-ground communities. My interests include ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, climate change, and invasive species. Through my research program, I examine local, mechanism-driven questions, which have advanced ecological theory regarding microbial community function, and landscape-level biogeochemical inquiries that relate to land management. Overall, my work builds on our understanding of how soil decomposer community function will change with shifting plant communities and climate. This is critical for creating realistic C and N budgets at local and regional scales. Because this work examines biogeochemical effects across the landscape, it will help us to better understand impacts to hydrological and atmospheric systems as well as human populations. Ultimately, I hope that my work will contribute to more informed land-use and policy decisions.

Personal website:

I'm a post-doc with Brian Wilsey and Kirsten Hofmockel. I am interested in belowground carbon processes in response to climate change and land use.

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