My research focuses on soil biogeochemisty, on the role of microbes in soil organic matter production and turnover, how microbes influence soil carbon storage and nutrient availability and how they interact, compete or collaborate with plants belowground - in the rhizosphere. In particular, I am interested how soil microbes mediate processes involved in organic matter degradation and so control soil nutrient availability, and how they respond to changes in microclimatic conditions.
In laboratory incubations and field experiments I am using stable istope labelling assays to investigate effects of global change scenarios, e.g. elevatated CO2, drought or warming on carbon allocation from plants to soil microbes and on soil nutrient cycling. Moreover, I am studying how predicted changes affect microbial activity and physiology by analysing C mineralisation rates and extracellular enzyme activity rates. Currently, I am working on warmed grasslands in Iceland and on a tropical rainforest soil nutrient gradient in South America.