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Dr. Brian Badgley

FACULTY AFFILIATE   |   Global Change Center

School of Plant and Environmental Sciences

Google Scholar  •  Dept Page   •  540-231-9629


Research in my lab focuses on environmental microbiology and microbial ecology, with two particular interests. First, we are interested in elucidating the ecological roles of microbial populations and communities in natural systems.  Microbes mediate many important processes at the ecosystem and global scales, yet approximately 99% of all microbes are not culturable, meaning we know little or nothing about their distribution or role in the environment. Second, we are interested in the fate of particular microorganisms in the environment, such as pathogens, water quality indicators, or biodegraders. Even though these organisms may be relatively low in abundance, they are still highly significant, particularly from an applied perspective, and it is important to understand their survival and transport through ecosystems.

By combining new methods in genomics and metagenomics with traditional culture based techniques we can seek to gain new insights into these important questions in a variety of habitats. We also strive to conduct highly collaborative and interdisciplinary projects, working with a variety of colleagues from ecosystem ecology, agriculture, chemistry, engineering, and public health. Examples of some of the studies in which we are currently involved include:

  • Patterns in microbial diversity and community structure in a variety of habitats, including reclaimed mine soils, agricultural and forest soils, stream waters and sediments, ballast water in cargo ships, and the surface of mouse skin.
  • The impact of storm events on sediment resuspension and microbial transport in stream ecosystems.
  • The effect of diversity on ecological function in soil microbial communities.