Norton - Research

 Norton - Research

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Dr. Jenny Norton’s research focuses on understanding key organisms in the nitrogen and carbon cycles of terrestrial systems on many different levels - from individual genes to ecosystem processes. Key areas of research interest include:

  • Ecology of nitrification and genomics of ammonia oxidizing bacteria.
  • Microbial carbon and nitrogen cycling in soils.
  • DNA probes for enzymatic functions.
  • Microbial / plant interactions in waste management.
  • Role of microbial community structure in biogeochemistry and bioremediation.

Currently funded projects in these areas include (click on links below for proposal abstracts):

  • Functional Genomics and Ecology of Nitrifying Bacteria:
    • Improving the understanding of the genomics of nitrifiers, characterizing the processes in agricultural and wildland systems, and delineation of limiting factors for nitrification in water delivery/wastewater treatment systems. (UAES)
    • Development of a Research Coordination Network to organize activities of researchers in this field and to disseminate results. (NSF)
    • Genome sequencing for Nitrosomonas sp. AL212 and Isolate IS-79, ammonia-oxidizing bacteria adapted for growth at low ammonia concentrations. (JGI)
  • Functional and Molecular Diversity in Nitrogen Cycle Enzymes Under Contrasting Agricultural Management Systems (USDA):
    • Describing functional diversity in the root-zone of microbial communities responsible for selected N transformations in agroecosystems under contrasting nitrogen management.

    • Recovering and characterizing novel bacterial and fungal genes encoding key enzymatic functions in N transformations.
    • Delineation of the role of bacterial and archaeal ammonia oxidizers in soil nitrification.
  • Below Ground Feedbacks in Plant Communities in Western Rangelands: 
    • Delineating positive feedbacks from cheatgrass-induced changes in nutrient cycling, and developing management strategies to speed reestablishment of perennial plant species on cheatgrass-dominated rangelands (USDA).
    • Determining plant-soil feedbacks in the shrub steppe ecosystem - collaboration with investigators to characterize microbial communities using next-generation sequencing of phylogenetic and functional genes extracted from soils (see A. Kumultiski).

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