Courtney's research is broadly focused on how the chemistry and accessibility of soil organic matter influences its turnover and stabilization, and subsequently, how this impacts the functioning of natural and managed ecosystems.
Many of the global challenges we face (climate change, biodiversity loss, food security) are dependent upon soil processes, and her work examines current controls on soil carbon and nitrogen stability with the aim of predicting and managing the response of soils to global change scenarios. Her particular expertise lies in linking the quantity, accessibility, and chemical composition of soil carbon and nitrogen to microbial activity and community composition, using a variety of methods. Previous projects have focused plant-soil-microbe feedbacks in response along gradients of grassland and rangeland degradation (Australia and Texas), nutrient enrichment, and edaphic properties.
2015 - present Research Microbiologist (post-doc), USGS, Menlo Park CA
2012 - 2015 Office of the Chief Executive Postdoctoral Fellow, CSIRO, Adelaide SA, Australia
2008 - 2012 Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant, Purdue University, West Lafayette IN
2006 - 2007 Undergraduate Research Assistant, Miami University, Oxford OH
2005 - Laboratory Intern, Case Western Reserve, Cleveland, OH
Education and Certifications
Ph.D., Purdue University, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, 2012
B.A., Miami University (Ohio), Microbiology, 2007