My research focuses on how plants interact with soil organisms, how these interactions respond to global change, and what the consequences are for ecosystem functioning. Plants interact with soil organisms, in particular soil microbes, through a variety of mechanisms: they modify the soil environment through their litter inputs and through altering soil nutrient and moisture contents, but they also interact directy with soil organisms throuhg their roots and root exudates. I like to mechanistically unravel those mechanisms and assess their importance for ecosystem functioning in real-world ecosystems, with a particular focus on carbon and nitrogen cycling.
I perform this research together with my team and my colleagues, and with numerous external collaborators and stakeholders - science is a team effort! I also engage in broader societal discussions around sustainability and nature conservation, and I very much enjoy writing about a variety of topics.
You can read more about the research of my group in the tab “Research interests”.
In addition to my research, I am passionate about instilling an appreciation of soils in the wider public, and about training the next generation of grounded soil scientists who will tackle our grand challenges of sustainable food production, conserving biodiversity, and climate mitigation and adaptation.
I am also a strong proponent of diversity, equity, and transparency in academia and STEM. I blog about these issues, about my science, and about academia in general.