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Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Elica Moss discusses her work within the fields of environmental microbiology and environmental health at the Alabama A&M University

Elica M. Moss is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Microbiology and Coordinator of the Environmental Health Science Program at AAMU.  Currently there is a major emphasis on the application of environmental metagenomic approaches to improve our understanding of the composition, phylogeny, and physiology of diverse microbial communities inhabiting different environments.  Research in her lab includes Escherichia coli Relationship with Land Use, Seasonality and Physiochemical Parameters in a Tennessee River Tributary and the Metagenomic Analysis of Bacterial Soil Communities in Forest and Agricultural soils.

Monitoring concentrations of Escherichia coli assesses the microbiological impairment of water.  Research is conducted in the most dominant lands of the watershed (forest, urban and agricultural) to identify the impacts of physiochemical parameters (dissolved oxygen, DO, conductivity, pH and seasonal temperature), which may serve as drivers of E. coli occurrence. We hypothesize that E. coli, enumerated using the IDEXX system, would exhibit seasonal fluxes during the study and within each land-use area; illustrate relationships among land use and be significantly impacted by physiochemical parameters.

The soil environment is abounding with microbes performing fundamental roles in plant growth promotion, soil fertility, water quality and controlling biogeochemical cycles such as carbon sequestration.  Specifically, Dr. Moss’s the lab is evaluating the Effect of Different Concentrations of Biochar on Bacterial Community Structure and Carbon Sequestration Potential; The Influence of Land-Use on Bacterial Community Composition of Agricultural Soils managed for Industrial Hemp, Switchgrass, Sweetgum, Soybean; and the Bacterial Community Microbiology of Surface and Subsurface Irrigation Water.  All studies are conducted at the AAMU Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station where we examine the diversity and structure in various agricultural systems using high throughput 16S rRNA gene sequencing utilizing Illumina® MiSeq™.

All research involves the training and dedication of hard-working undergraduate and graduate students with a focus on environmental metagenomics and conventional microbiological analysis.

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