"I applied to the Scholars program because I would like to further advance my research experience. This program gives undergraduates insight on what graduate school will be like for those who want to pursue careers in the Science field. I hope to learn the processes of working on an independent project and writing a paper worthy of being published. My goals are to impress my research advisor with my work ethic and have my work published at the end of the year."
My primary research interests involve the carbon cycle and how it may be impacted by global climate change. My research focuses on arctic regions because they are more susceptible to climate alterations. My primary academic interests are focused on ecosystem ecology.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- William Bartram Undergraduate Scholarship (2010-2011)
- UF Wetlands Club
- Green Team Captain for Aramark at UF
I volunteer with the Wetlands club to do clean-up projects around Gainesville.
Hobbies and Interests
- Dancing, ballet, jazz hip hop, reading, and the environment.
How the Environment Affects Litter Decomposition: A laboratory Incubation of Litter from Alaska
Arctic ecosystems have become the main focus of climate change studies due to the augmented effects of temperature increase in higher latitudes. Most of the arctic tundra contains extensive soil carbon stocks protected from decomposition by permafrost. A slight increase in temperature can stimulate permafrost thaw and litter decomposition,mineralizing organic carbon, and releasing carbon to the atmosphere. Increased rates of litter respiration and decomposition are correlated with temperature increase. Acceleration of litter decay directly impacts carbon and nitrogen cycling by releasing carbon to the atmosphere, mineralizing nitrogen and releasing it into the soil. Higher nutrient and temperature levels will not necessarily affect all plant species equally, but may alter the composition of existing plant communities. This may result in the introduction of new species with different allocations of biomass. Plants with modified growth my affect decomposition rates based on the quality of the litter. Biomass composition may differ in nitrogen levels and lignin content, which can also contribute to the alteration of carbon and nutrient cycling in the Alaskan tundra (Hobbie 1996). Two University of Florida graduate students are currently conducting litter decomposition studies to determine the effects of substrate and local environmental conditions on decomposition rates in the arctic and subarctic. Data shows different decomposition rates for the two locations, with the arctic litter having higher decomposition rates than the subarctic litter, despite each site using the same plant species as substrate. The goal of my research will be to explore the reason behind the different decay rates and to determine how environmental variables affect litter decomposition. The experiment will expose plant litters to different temperature treatments, one of which will simulate freeze/thaw cycles. Litter will be analyzed for mass loss and carbon and nitrogen content. Results will provide insight on environmental impacts on decomposition rates and nutrient availability.