Dr. Michala Phillips is an ecologist studying how biotic interactions, disturbance and global change mediate community assembly of plants and soil microbes to affect emergent ecosystem functions.
Michala is passionate about using basic science to create knowledge that can be used to support sustainable restoration and management needs of ecosystems. She integrates community, ecosystem, plant and microbial ecology in her research by using statistical modeling to combine data from a diversity of approaches (field, greenhouse, sensor networks, soil chemistry and molecular biology techniques). Her aim is to build a better understanding of community assembly and ecosystem processes following disturbances to inform restoration and adaptive land management efforts. Towards this goal, Michala works closely with a broad range of collaborators, including federal agency partners, to create research questions, develop projects, and communicate the knowledge gained from research. Some of her primary research interests are understanding how fire, atmospheric nitrogen deposition, and climate change catalyze state changes, such as invasion by exotic plants, with the ultimate goal of developing innovative management solutions.
Education and Certifications
Ph.D. Plant Biology, Plant Ecology emphasis - University of California, Riverside. Dissertation: “Invasion in the Chaparral: Uncovering Soil Microbial and Plant Physiological Mechanisms,” 2019.
M.S. Environmental Science, American University, College of Arts and Sciences, Washington, D.C., 2013.
B.A. in Environmental Studies, American University, College of Arts and Sciences, Washington, D.C., 2012.
Honors and Awards
NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology - 2021
USDA-NIFA Postdoctoral Fellowship - 2021