Tyler is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation (FREC) broadly interested in terrestrial biogeochemistry and hillslope/catchment hydrology. He received a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 2015 and a M.S. in Forestry in 2019, both from Virginia Tech. As an undergraduate, his interest in biogeochemistry was sparked by working in Dr. Durelle Scott’s lab in Biological Systems Engineering studying elemental cycling in floodplains and streams, first as an NSF REU student and then as an undergraduate researcher. Between finishing his B.S. and starting his M.S., Tyler worked in Dr. Brian Strahm’s lab in FREC as a research technician studying soil biogeochemistry. This work, which leveraged soil samples from National Ecological Observatory Network sites across the U.S., focused on soil organic matter dynamics at a continental scale, and Tyler continued this work for his M.S. thesis.
For his dissertation work, Tyler is part of an international team working to better understand water and nutrient cycling in planted radiata pine forests in New Zealand. His specific focus is on the export of nitrogen (N) from catchments and the relative roles of transport processes versus reaction rates in controlling N export. In addition to improving our fundamental understanding of N cycling and export in forested catchments, this work has potential management and policy implications related to water quality.
As an IGC fellow, one of Tyler’s goals is to better understand how science is actually translated into policy. Given biogeochemistry’s central role in various ecosystem services (e.g., production of food/fiber/fuel, provision of clean drinking water, etc.) and the numerous effects of global change on biogeochemical cycling, he believes incorporating scientific knowledge of biogeochemistry into policy is an important part of addressing the global change challenges facing humanity.