Yay Jennifer!

Congratulations to Jennifer Wen for successfully completing her thesis to earn her MS from SEAS!

Jennifer started in the lab fall 2020 and managed to complete her thesis despite all the hurdles from pandemic restrictions and supply issues alongside all the usual unexpected issues for environmental research. I feel like there should be a special seal for her diploma.

Jennifer’s work looked at a specific gene involved in nitrification, amoA, that is the key process for nitrogen cycling where ammonia is eventually converted to nitrate for uptake by other organisms. This process is only done by specific ammonia-oxidizing microbes, so insight into this gene gives information about those specific microbial communities. Her thesis focused on the archaeal groups (AOA) that have this gene.

Using molecular methods and sequencing, Jennifer examined the abundance and diversity of amoA in soil from Manistee National Forest. These sites were of similar age and plant communities but across a natural gradient of inorganic nitrogen amounts in the stands. The amoA communities formed distinct groupings by site, and she tested various environmental variables and found that soil pH and nitrogen mineralization were significantly different across the stands. Her results build and improve on our understanding of the nutrient cycling from a microbial ecology perspective in these forest ecosystems.

Her thesis presentation, part of the SEAS Capstone Symposium, was titled “Does Mineralization and pH Control the Distribution of Ammonia-Oxidizing Archaea in Temperate Forest Soils?” and can be found here (link in future).

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