Hamilton Lab: Soil Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Interested in an opportunity to conduct scientific research in bioscience this summer? Dr. Hamilton will be researching soil microbial dynamics in soils from Yellowstone National Park and from local agricultural fields. The overarching goal is to elucidate the interactions between grazers, grasses and microbes that contribute to the ability of grassland systems to maintain primary productivity. This year, in collaboration with Dr. Humston’s lab, we will analyze the inputs of bacterial contamination from soil runoff in the Hays Creek Watershed. Sources of contamination from fecal waste originating from wildlife, agricultural, and human sources will be analyzed.

Methods: Spectrophotometric determinations of soil NH4+ and NO3-,soil and root respirometry, soil DNA extraction, PCR, quantitative PCR, Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism analysis, and DNA sequencing.

Projects:
Laboratory: Analysis of archived samples from Yellowstone National Park experiments conducted in 2005-2008. Analysis of surface soil contamination of fecal bacteria in the Hays Creek Watershed.

Field: Local sampling of agricultural fields with the potential to travel to YNP (depends on funding)

Modeling: Utilizing a database from over 350 soil samples I would like to begin to model the processes of soil N-cycling in relation to microbial abundance and diversity.

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