I am interested in how disturbances and decomposition influence community assembly and forest carbon cycling.  My research focuses on the roles of plants, microbial decomposers, and invertebrate animals.  I use lightning as a model phenomenon for investigating the ramifications of disturbance in tropical forests.  After trees die, they decompose with major implications for the carbon budget.  I also explore how environmental conditions, biogeochemistry, and microbial community assembly influence decomposition. Please flip through this website and the photo gallery for a deeper look at my research program and my passion for education.

Repairing a tower-based camera that serves as part of the Remote Electronic Lightning Monitoring System in central Panama. Photo credit: Jeff Burchfield