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Abstract: Microorganisms are the driving force behind biogeochemical processes, yet the impact of rapid anthropogenic-induced environmental change on microbial responses and resulting ecosystem functions is not fully understood. Although microbial communities, or microbiomes, are commonly associated with ecological processes, their fast generation times and large population sizes also make them amenable to rapid adaptation to changing climate conditions. This work underscores the importance of considering both ecological and evolutionary responses, with a particular focus on the latter, to better understand the implications for biogeochemical cycles. By exploring the evolutionary dynamics of microbial communities, we aim to uncover how these organisms will adapt to environmental change and how their responses will affect biogeochemical processes on a larger scale. Through this research, we hope to deepen our understanding of the interconnectedness of microorganisms and the vital roles they play in maintaining the health of our planet.

Bio: Dr. Chase received his B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2012, where he conducted research with Prof. Stephen Hubbell in theoretical ecology to understand the stochastic processes driving plant community assembly in tropical forests. He then pursued his Ph.D. at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), working with Prof. Jennifer Martiny on microbial ecology and the biogeographic processes structuring human-associated and environmental microbiomes. His research in this area led to a Department of Energy fellowship to work with Dr. Eoin Brodie at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab on understanding soil carbon cycling and sequestration. Dr. Chase went on to receive a Scripps Postdoctoral Fellowship, where he worked with Prof. Paul Jensen at the Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, to identify novel marine natural products in understudied microbiomes.

In the fall of 2022, Dr. Chase joined the faculty at Southern Methodist University in the Department of Earth Sciences, where he leads a research group that seeks to bridge microbial ecology and natural product biochemistry to understand how microbes communicate with each other and their environment. Through his work, Dr. Chase hopes to shed light on the important roles that microorganisms play in biogeochemical processes and the impact of environmental change on microbial communities.

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Research and Operations Center (ROC), 2.103
17217 Waterview Pkwy #1.202, Dallas, TX 75252

Natural Sciences & Mathematics

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  • William Harpole

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