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Morrissey, Ember

Assistant Professor of Environmental Microbiology

Soils are the most biodiverse habitats on earth, with a single gram typically containing thousands of bacterial, fungal, and archaeal “species” or phylotypes.  It is perhaps due to this great diversity that so many fundamental questions about the assembly and functioning of these communities remain unanswered. The overarching aim of Dr. Morrissey’s research program is to better understand ecosystem biogeochemistry through the consideration of microbial communities. Specifically, we seek determine: 1) how environmental conditions structure microbial communities and 2) how the composition of these communities regulates ecosystem biogeochemistry. To accomplish these aims, we use a variety of modern genetic and bioinformatic tools in combination with assessments of microbial activity and ecosystem biogeochemistry. As microbial community composition influences ecosystem processes, the study of microbial communities will enable us to better manage and predict ecosystem processes relevant to mitigating today’s environmental problems. 

Select Publications

  1. Morrissey EM , Mau RL, Schwartz E, Caporaso JG, Dijkstra P, van Gestel N, Koch BJ, Liu CM, Hayer M, Mc Hugh TA, Marks JC, Price LB, Hungate BA (2016). Phylogenetic organization of bacterial activity. The ISME Journal. doi:10.1038/ismej.2016.28
  2. Morrissey EM , Franklin RB (2015) Evolutionary history influences the salinity preference of bacterial taxa in wetland soils. Frontiers in Microbiology,6.
  3. Morrissey EM , McHugh TA, Preteska L, Hayer M, Dijkstra P, Hungate BA, Schwartz E.  (2015) Dynamics of extracellular DNA decomposition and bacterial community structure in relation to soil mineralogy. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 86:42-49.
  4. Morrissey EM , Gillespie JL, Morina JC, Franklin RB (2014) Salinity affects microbial activity and soil organic matter content in tidal wetlands. Global Change Biology. 20:1351-1362.
  5. Morrissey EM , Berrier DJ, Neubauer SC, Franklin RB (2014) Using microbial communities and extracellular enzymes to link soil organic matter characteristics to greenhouse gas production in a tidal freshwater wetland. Biogeochemistry. 117:473-490.
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