My research interests are focused on the molecular ecology and functional diversity of microbial communities. We use several types of molecular techniques, including PCR-RFLP, T-RFLP, LH-PCR, and DNA sequencing to study microbial community composition and functional diversity. Of particular interest is the study of genes that play functional roles in nitrogen-cycling, such as nifH (N-fixation), amoA (nitrification), nosZ (denitrification), and pmoA (methane oxidation), either by direct amplification of the DNA from environmental samples, or by amplification of their RNA transcripts.
I am currently involved in three major research projects: 1) Impacts of global warming on mycorrhizal fungal communities and N-cycling bacterial communities in the Canadian High Arctic; 2) Impacts of fire on re-establishment and regeneration of N-cycling bacterial communities of Douglas-fir in the southern Interior of British Columbia; and 3) Re-establishment and regeneration of mycorrhizal and N-cycling bacterial communities of lodgepole Pine following Mountain Pine Beetle attack in the central Interior of British Columbia.
I received my BSc from the University of Calgary in 1975, then worked at the Biosystematics Research Institute in Ottawa until I left to complete a PhD at the University of Victoria in 1985. I was a postdoctoral fellow at Université Laval and the University of Alberta before taking a faculty position at Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1990. I moved to UNBC in 1995.
Courses I teach include: Microbiology; Plant-Microbe Interactions; Insects, Fungi & Society; and upper division or graduate courses in Soil Ecology and Molecular Evolution and Ecology.