Nutrient cycling is the common thread that ties together different areas of research in our lab. We quantify the forms, biogeochemical transformations, and fluxes of essential nutrients for life on Earth, aiming to: (1) clarify important processes that underpin ecosystem function, (2) identify opportunities for beneficial intervention, and (3) design systems that achieve nutrient management objectives. This includes analyzing soils, sediments, plants, water, and wastes in "natural", engineered, urban, and agricultural ecosystems. We also use material flow analysis, modeling, and GIS to study nutrient dynamics at larger spatial scales.
Increasingly, we are focused on developing and evaluating strategies for nutrient recovery and recycling to support a circular economy. Transition paths to a circular nutrient economy are complex, and potential exists for myriad unintended consequences. Our lab is currently engaging with organics recycling businesses, farmers, pioneers in resource recovery from human waste, and fellow academics from diverse disciplines on this fascinating topic.
My teaching in the Rubenstein School is focused on ecological design in the contexts of water quality, waste management, and food systems.