Dr. Placid Mike Gabriel Mpeketula

I am interested in understanding the role of soil microbes such as bacteria and fungi in mediating ecosystems processesFungi are a major part of soil biodiversity, yet mechanisms driving their large-scale ecological ranges and distribution are poorly understood. Apart from mutualisms AMF play crucial roles in carbon sequestration in soils and the global carbon cycle.  But cryptic lifestyles of AMF make their community structure and composition enigmatic. My research at the Living Living Laboratory of the Kellogg Biological Station – Long Term Ecological Research (KBS-LTER) in Southern Michigan, USA focused on understanding roles of cropping system diversity on AMF species composition and ecosystem function using both morphological characterization and genomic approaches. Soil health indicators of interest in my research included water stable aggregation and soil carbon measures such as total soil carbon and permanganate oxidizable carbon (POX-C)  in the integrated nutrient management systems at KBS-LTER.

I’m also collaborating with Prof Phil Robertson, Prof S. Snapp at Michigan State University and a multidisciplinary team from the University of Malawi on tropical agro ecosystems on NSF funded Soil Carbon Mapping Project in Malawi administered by the National Academies of Science (NAS). Our soil fertility related projects aim at answering fundamental questions over broader geographical extents to improve soil fertility for sustainable agriculture and enhanced ecosystem services. I have published some articles on various topics ranging from microbial ecology to spatial modeling aimed at understanding both microbial level controls to global ecosystem controls that modulate various processes in nature.

Areas of Expertise: Agroecology and Soil Science