Graduate Student of the Month - Melissa Warren

My research focuses on the interactions between nitrogen and methane cycling in a northern latitude peatland in northern Minnesota, the site of the DOE Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Climatic and Environmental Change (SPRUCE) experiment. SPRUCE is a large-scale mesocosm project studying the effects of increased CO2 and temperatures on a nutrient-poor peatland ecosystem. Peatlands and permafrost regions have gained increased interest due to the predicted rise in temperature expected to impact these regions in the next century. The future of peatland’s role in the sequestration or release of carbon to the atmosphere is uncertain. For my Master’s research, I measured spatial and temporal variation in nitrogen fixation rates under varying temperature and methane concentrations for SPRUCE peat samples. My PhD research will investigate the response of microbial nitrogen and methane cycling to warming and elevated CO2.

Melissa I graduated cum laude from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia with a B.S. in Biology. She serves on the student committee for the 2015 Southeastern Biogeochemical Symposium and is currently completing her Master’s work in the group of Dr. Jennifer Glass and will begin her PhD in the summer. Dr. Joel Kostka and Dr. Chris Schadt (ORNL) are members on her Master’s committee. When Melissa is not working on her research, she can be found anywhere outside, running, hiking, horseback riding, and relaxing with friends and family.