Chelsea completed her Ph.D. in May 2014 at the University of California Merced where Steve Hart was her major advisor, and joined the Aronson Lab as a postdoc in June 2014. Prior to that, she received her B.S. from DePaul University in Chicago. Chelsea is interested in understanding the mechanisms that mediate soil microbial community composition and function in an era of global change, and identifying the subsequent implications for ecosystem processes. At UC Riverside, she has been working to identify how regional and global dispersal of bacteria and archaea influences soil microbial composition along an altitudinal gradient in the California Sierra Nevada. In addition to this primary project, Chelsea has collaborated on several projects investigating microbial responses to wet-up in desert ecosystems and plant-soil-microbe interactions of exotic plants, native range expanders, and iconic native plants such as the Giant sequoia.
I study the soil legacy effects of invasive grasses for the purpose of creating more successful restorations. My research can be broken into three parts: understanding the impact of legacy effects on native plant growth, determining if there are microbial legacy effects, and discovering a way to reverse these legacy effects for restoration purposes. I'm also beginning a project that compares the rhizosphere microbes of plants in restored, native, and post-invasion sites to better understand plant-microbe symbioses during restoration.
My primary research interest is in understanding the soil conditions that affect how microbes cycle greenhouse gases. I currently have two ongoing projects: one is looking at the effect of copper on greenhouse gas cycling in a local soil, and the other is comparing soil profiles from sites around the country with a wide variety of nutrient and genomic analyses.
The focus of my research is to determine if slugs have the capability to transport bacteria by using microcosm experiments. I am also sequencing slugs from the microcosm experiments to learn about the slug microbiome and what bacteria are transported.