I am interested in the many ways that microbes shape and are shaped by their environment and am fascinated by the idea that these organisms are capable of planetary scale change yet beholden to the constraints of evolution and ecology. I was introduced to these questions as an undergraduate at Stanford where I investigated soil carbon cycling at the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment. My desire to learn more about microbial ecology led me to Dr. Alexandra Worden’s lab at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in which I completed a Master’s degree on the vitamin requirements of eukaryotic phytoplankton. As a Ph.D. student in the Morel lab, I am studying the role of trace metals in marine and terrestrial nitrogen fixation. In particular, I am interested in the environmental distribution of “alternative”’ nitrogenase enzymes – enzymes that use different (Fe or V instead of Mo) trace metals at their active site – as well as the ways that nitrogen fixers interact with other soil and marine microbes and the impact this has on the nitrogen cycle.