Study Linking Microscale Processes with Landscape Impacts Wins Bormann Prize

keiser yale field work

As a doctoral student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Ashley Keiser’s research examined natural processes occurring at the microscale. Her dissertation work, for instance, focused on how microbes in the soil respond to changing conditions aboveground, such as new leaf litter from an introduced tree species.

But as her research has shown, those microscale processes can have very big impacts across the landscape.

In one study, Keiser found that reductions in soil carbon as a result of human disturbance — such as tree clearing — in turn promote nitrification at the landscape scale, which ultimately might impact the health of entire ecosystem. In a watershed, she says, everything is connected.