Science Seminar Abstract: Cara Case


Microbial Roles in Soil Health and Nutrient Cycling


Microbes in the soil play a crucial role in nutrient cycling and soil health which is still not fully understood. The Soil Science research team at Texas AgriLife Research Center at Overton is investigating this microbial role through several projects on East Texas soils. One project examines the interactions of methanogens and methanotrophs in a perennial pasture with different cattle stocking rates. Another project compares microbial abundance and diversity between legumes inoculated with a commercial nitrogen-fixing bacterium and legumes allowed to be colonized by native nitrogen fixing bacteria already present in the soil. A project focused on Caddo Lake explores the role of anaerobic bacteria in the methylation (and thus increased toxicity) of dry-deposited mercury. Analysis techniques used include ion chromatography, non-metallic combustion, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR).

Speaker Background

2004 LeTourneau University. Double major: Chemistry with Biological Concentration, Biology.

2005-2007 worked at Ana-Lab (environmental analytical chemistry) for a year and a half

2009 Texas A&M University. MS in Agronomy.

2010-2015 Research Assistant, LeTourneau Biodiesel project under Dr. Andrée Elliott

2016 to current: Research Associate, Texas A&M AgriLife Research at Overton, TX