Microbes in a Changing World

Research in the Burgin Lab integrates across the fields of environmental microbiology, aquatic biogeochemistry, and ecosystem ecology.  Microbial community composition and biogeochemical cycling regulate ecosystem functions such as primary productivity, nutrient availability, and carbon fluxes.  Furthermore, humans are increasingly modifying multiple elemental cycles, creating the need for restoration.  Our work centers on microbes as drivers of biogeochemistry in aquatic ecosystems, with a particular focus on the biogeochemical implications of aquatic ecosystem restoration.   We use tools from analytical chemistry, microbiology, and aquatic ecology to better understand how microbes control ecosystem-level nutrient fluxes.  Our projects connect to current environmental concerns including global change, the effects of land-use change on ecosystems, and aquatic eutrophication. We pursue mechanistic questions that span the basic-applied spectrum; integrative questions such as these are aligned with the research priorities of NSF (DEB-Ecosystems), the USDA and the EPA.