Research

The Tfaily lab uses innovative and state-of-the-art techniques to map organic matter, scaling genes to ecosystems, in order to better predict ecosystem functions and climate impact implications. Our research spans a variety of ecosystems, including peatlands, rainforests, and watersheds.  

Focuses include: 

  • Biotic and abiotic influences on organic matter transformations 
    • Organic matter degradation 
    • Microbial respiration and greenhouse gas emission 
    • Ecosystem focuses – peatlands, rainforest, watershed 
  • Sphagnum, a peatland keystone species 
    • Organic matter control and degradation
    • Antimicrobial characteristics 
  • Rhizosphere interactions (biogeochemical and microbial)
  • Stable Isotope Probing Metabolomics (SIP Metabolomics) 
    • Tracking plant and microbe metabolite fate using labeled isotope analytical techniques

Projects: 

IsoGenie – a Department of Energy funded interdisciplinary investigation of how permafrost thaw, driven by a changing climate, is altering carbon cycling in Arctic peatlands. The goal of this international-wide collaboration project located in Sweden is to improve permafrost understanding to refine predictive models of climate feedbacks. 

SPRUCE – the primary component of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Science Scientific Focus Area of Oakridge National Laboratory’s Climate Change Program. This study aims to assess the response of northern peatland ecosystems in Minnesota to increase in temperature and exposures to elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  

B2 WALD – a stable isotope labeling experiment located in the Biosphere 2 Tropical Rainforest. This is an ecosystem-wide controlled temperature perturbation experiment coupled with isotope labeling in order to understand the implications of carbon cycling with respect to a changing climate.  

University of Arizona, ecosystems genomics collaboration: 

  1. Meredith Lab – investigating microbial drivers of soil-atmosphere trace gas fluxes across a range of scales
  2. Uren Lab – integrative microbial ecology, mycology, fungal genomics, plant ecology and evolution
  3. Hurwitz Lab – using large-scale –omics datasets, high-throughput computing, and big data analytics to answer questions related to the relationship between microbes, their hosts, and the environment.  
  4. Saleska Lab – how ecological communities regulate land surface interactions with the atmosphere and with climate, from local to global scales. 
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