Congratulations to Brown-MBL student Lindsay Brin, who successfully defended her PhD dissertation in September at Brown University. Brin conducted her doctoral research in the labs of Brown Assistant Professor Jeremy Rich and MBL Ecosystems Center Senior Scientist Anne Giblin. She was enrolled in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown.
Brin’s research focused on the relationship between environmental factors and microbially mediated nitrate reduction processes in coastal sediments. The rates and relative importance of these processes affect how much nitrogen is available in coastal ecosystems for growth of algae and other primary producers, and are linked to climate through global marine nitrogen cycling. Understanding the controls on these processes is essential for predicting the effects of climate change and other environmental alterations on coastal ecosystems.
Brin illustrated the role of temperature, organic matter, and nitrate in determining rates of nitrate reduction in New England coastal sediments, providing some of the first seasonal data on these processes and the first measurements of certain reduction processes (anammox and DNRA) in these sediments. She demonstrated that warming and changes in organic matter availability could affect positive feedbacks on primary productivity by altering fluxes of nitrogen between the sediments and the water column, and further showed that DNRA may be an important, hitherto unappreciated process in temperate continental shelf sediments.
During her graduate studies, Brin’s research was supported by a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, a Stanley Watson Graduate Fellowship in Environmental Studies, and a Sounds Conservancy Grant.
This month, Brin begins a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology at the Potato Research Centre in Fredericton, NB, Canada. She is studying the effects of climate change, particularly altered snow cover, on nitrogen cycling in agricultural soils. Snow insulates the ground and also provides water when it melts in the spring, so changes in snowfall have the potential to alter soil processes. Through lab studies and a two-year field study, her research will address the question: How does altered snow cover affect soil nitrogen cycling and microbial communities in the winter and through the following growing season?