Understanding the effect of changing resource availability on soil microbial communities

Microbial diversity across three dryland sites

Christopher (Chris) Beltz is a Ph.D. candidate in Forestry & Environmental Studies at Yale. His research explores the interactions between the carbon and nitrogen cycles in the semi-arid environments of the western United States. Understanding the interplay between these two major nutrient cycles is critical to understanding the major drivers of ecosystem structure and ecosystem function in the drylands across the globe. Chris is particularly interested in structure-function relationships and how these may be altered under changing resource availability.

The Yale Center for Research Computing (YCRC) and its high performance computing (HPC) infrastructure has been integral to Chris’s research. The HPC resources and computing power are critical for running his bioinformatic analyses on microbial communities, using both bacterial and fungal DNA. In the long run, this research will help to better understand the response of microbial communities to altered water and nitrogen availability – both which are predicted to occur in the future.

**Image is from an initial analysis (currently unpublished) of microbial diversity across three dryland sites.