Exploring ecology with molecular tools
My research uses molecular tools, mainly DNA metabarcoding, to probe ecological questions. My current work at Harvard involves using DNA extracted from leeches to identify the animals that the leeches have fed on, in order to monitor changing biodiversity in the Ailao Mountains of China's Yunnan Province. My previous postdoctoral work at Princeton used DNA metabarcoding to explore how termites create spatial patterns in soil microbial communities in African savannas. My PhD research focused on ant-associated microbial and arthropod communities on the Vachellia (Acacia) drepanolobium ant-plants that grow in these savannas, using DNA barcoding, metabarcoding and stable isotope analysis to examine species associations, community compositions and trophic interactions.