With an emphasis on enhancing equity and inclusion in science, we study the biodiversity and ecology of soils microbes with an aim to improve conservation efforts and sustain ecosystem resilience in the face of wildfires, droughts, species invasions and climate change. Plant-microbe interactions and feedbacks are important but cryptic components of how ecosystems function and respond to change. Microbes play a significant role structuring plant communities through positive and negative interactions, and the diversity of soil microbiota controls the processes governing biogeochemical cycling in soils. As we consider the threat of species loss and how plant communities will continue to shift under rapidly altered temperature and precipitation regimes, understanding these feedbacks emerges as a critical focus for plant community ecology, ecosystem science, and conservation ecology.
Working across a range of ecosystems from lowland Neotropical and high elevation conifer forests to semi-arid grasslands and tropical paramo, our research group uses a combination of field-based ecological experiments, microbiological techniques, and contemporary genetic and metagenomic tools to develop hypotheses to test the effects of plant-microbe interactions on plant community richness and species abundance, understand how environmental shifts will alter these interactions, and accurately predict the subsequent impacts on ecosystem function.
Our lab culture
Diverse perspectives, cultures, and past experiences make science and our scientific community stronger. We recognize and acknowledge those who have been and continue to be underrepresented in science. We welcome and support students and researchers regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability status, other aspects of identity, and their intersections. We continue to work to overcome our own biases and to combat discrimination in ecology and academia through education, training, and critical review of our behaviors and institutional policies.
Rachel Gallery is a Professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment (SNRE) at the University of Arizona located in the diverse and beautiful Sonoran desert. We welcome contact from prospective collaborators, lab members, and others.