Exploring the Ecology of East African Savannas
My research interests lie in the exciting world of species interactions: how they evolve, how they work, and how systems of interacting species may show novel emergent properties. As a postdoc in the Pringle and Tarnita labs, I am exploring how fungus-farming termites in East African savannahs generate spatial patterns that propagate throughout the ecosystem. I am currently using molecular methods to assess population structure in the termites and their fungal crops, and to explore spatial variation in soil microbial communities – both projects in collaboration with colleagues Jessica Castillo Vardaro and Johan Pansu. My PhD work focused on ant-associated microbial and arthropod communities on the Vachellia drepanolobium ant-plants that grow in these savannahs.