Richard Lankau
Dr. Richard A. Lankau
Assistant Professor of Plant Biology


I am an environmental engineer turned microbial ecologist with broad interests in microbial population structure and plant-microbe interactions. My previous research addressed the effects of local environment, geography, and turnover on the composition and structure of both aquatic and plant-associated bacteria. I am specifically interested in the functional consequences of changing microbial communities. Currently, I am investigating the biogeography of fungal communities associated with several temperate forest tree species and whether the composition and structure of soil fungal communities play a role in adaptation of tree populations to particular geographic environments. 

Graduate Students

Chelsea Cunard 

I am most generally interested in evolution and ecology. Combining these two sciences into restoration and conservation of natural systems is the goal of my research. I am currently interested in invasive plants and their interactions with soil microbe communities. I am exploring how these interactions could be changing through time and how this information could be applied to management. Invasive species are especially interesting to me because of their large threat to ecosystem services and species diversity. Understanding the evolution of these invaders as well as the surrounding community could aid in reducing their abundance.  I received a B.S. in environmental science with a minor in forestry at the University of New Hampshire.

Jacquelyn Freeman
Jacquelyn Freeman





Rachel Nodurft
Rachel Nodurft
Research Professional III





Ryan Baskin


Charlene Chalmers
Charlene Chalmers