Katherine (Trina) McMahon
1550 Linden Drive, 5552 Microbial Sciences Building
Trina McMahon and her students study the microbial ecology of both natural and engineered systems. They use molecular tools to investigate microbial community structure and function in lakes and activated sludge. Members also use high-frequency environmental sensor networks to measure important variables that they know influence bacterial communities. Sensor data provided through the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network guides the adaptive sampling efforts and provides rich contextual data for studies of lake bacterial community ecology. The McMahon lab is particularly interested in phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon cycling in lakes and how this relates to eutrophication and water quality. They are using highly resolved time series sampling of multiple lakes, combined with metagenomics and meta-trascriptomics to explore how different lineages of freshwater bacteria contribute to this cycling. They are also engaged in metagenomic and post-genomic approaches to dissecting the metabolism of bacteria specialized in the sequestration of phosphorus in activated sludge. This information will ultimately lead to the construction of more predictive mechanistic and ecosystem-scale models to describe such processes as wastewater treatment and freshwater nutrient cycling.