I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biology and the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology. I am interested in how soil microbial communities cycle nutrients through ecosystems. I am particularly interested in the heterogeneity of these microbial communities, both spatially and temporally. Currently, I am studying the relative importance of microbial community composition versus other abiotic factors in predicting rates of respiration in grassland soils. My goal is to be able to apply this information to understanding the effects of global climate change and impacts for conservation.
Alster, C.J., A. Koyama, N.G. Johnson, M.D. Wallenstein, J.C von Fischer. 2016. Temperature sensitivity of soil microbial communities: an application of macromolecular rate theory to microbial respiration. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences.
Alster, C.J., D.P. German, Y. Lu, and S.D. Allison. 2013. Microbial enzymatic responses to reduced precipitation and to increased nitrogen in a southern Californian grassland. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 64: 68-79.
Hernandez, D.L., E.H. Esch, C.J. Alster, M.J. McKone, and P. Camill. 2013. Rapid accumulation of soil carbon and nitrogen in a prairie restoration chronosequence. Soil Science Society of America Journal 77: 2029-2038.