McGuire Microbial Ecology Lab

The primary focus of our lab is to understand how the community assembly processes of plant and soil microbial communities influence the diversity and distribution patterns of plant communities, and what the consequences of these relationships are for plant dynamics and ecosystem functions. We focus much of our work on tropical rain forests, which are the most diverse and productive terrestrial ecosystems on the planet, but are experiencing unprecedented changes from human activities such as logging, agriculture, and urbanization. These changes are causing major alterations in biodiversity and biogeochemical cycling across the planet, and soil fungi and bacteria often mediate ecosystem responses. We use an integrative approach that combines ecosystem-level measurements, field experiments, functional assays, and genomics to uncover the underlying ecological mechanisms for these patterns and processes, which can ultimately be leveraged for sustainable management and conservation.