Microbial diversity: bacteria cultured from soils are used to measure microbial niche space, functional traits, and their phylogenetic distributions. This information is used to identify generalist and specialists, which provides insight into mechanisms of coexistence.
Field biology: because microorganisms are found in all ecosystems, our research often involves field work in managed and natural habitats such as University Lake at Indiana University’s Research and Teaching Preserve.
Developing and testing theory: our lab develops and tests theory related to microbial diversity. We are particularly interested in life history theory features such as dormancy, which can influence the persistence of genotypes, the maintenance of diversity, and the functioning of communities.
Microbial evolution: owing to their rapid growth rates an large population size, microorganisms often undergo “rapid” evolutionary change owing to starvation or phage phage predation. We study how these evolutionary changes feedback on ecological processes such as species interactions and ecosystem functioning.
Microbial Biodiversity: From Evolution To Ecosystems
Microorganisms are the most abundant and diverse life forms on Earth. They attain high population densities, have fast reproductive rates, and evolve rapidly to changes in their environment. Moreover, microbes carry out important functions, including nutrient cycling, trace gas flux, and carbon sequestration, which are important for the stability of natural and managed ecosystems.
We study the ecology and evolution of microbial communities. We are interested in the biotic and abiotic factors that generate and maintain microbial biodiversity. In turn, we seek to understand the implications of microbial diversity for ecosystem functioning. We conduct research in terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and use a variety of tools including molecular biology, simulation modeling, laboratory experiments, field surveys, and whole ecosystem manipulations in natural and managed ecosystems.
Jay T. Lennon
Department of Biology
1001 East 3rd Street
Bloomington, IN 47405 USA
Office Phone: (812) 856-0962
Lab Phone: (812) 856-7235
Fax: (812) 855-6082