Seminar Talk at UMBC

August, 2019

I had a wonderful time giving the seminar in the Geography and Environmental Systems Department at UMBC. It was a great group to talk to - lots of great questions, great lunch, and really fun meetings all day. Huge thanks to Matt Fagan for inviting me over for the day!

Starting a Lab!!!

July, 2019

I am incredibly excited to say that the Taylor Lab will be hatching next year at Harvard University! I will be starting a faculty position in the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Department, and my lab will be housed at the beautiful Arnold Arboretum. If you are a prospective graduate student or postdoc who's interested in ecosystem ecology and plant responses to global change, please contact me - I can't wait to see what great things the new lab will accomplish!

Herbivory paper out in JTE

July, 2019

Our paper showing that N fixer leaves have more N, but don't necessarily get eaten more by herbivores is out in Journal of Tropical Ecology. This was an REU project with Laura Ostrowsky, and I'm incredibly proud of the work she did. What a fun project to be a part of! 

Summer internship in the books

August 2019

I've had a wonderful summer wading through the weeds and thorns with our intern from Bryn Mawr College, Ashley Boyette. Ashley studied the effects of tree diversity, light availability, and soil properties on asymbiotic N fixation in the BiodiversiTREE experiment here at SERC. She also became a master at getting vehicles stuck in the mud.

Paper out in Ecology!

March 2019

Our new paper on the recuperation of N fixation, soil N, and tree growth in regenerating tropical forests is now out in Ecology. This is a culmination of several years of soil and tree sampling, and could never have happened without two wonderful co-authors, Robin & Duncan, and many other helping hands along the way. 

Talk at Harvard

February 2019

I had an absolutely wonderful time talking to the Harvard OEB department and the Arnold Arboretum. Grad students, Post-docs, and faculty members were all top-notch and extremely welcoming. And the aboretum is a tree-lovers dream. Thanks for a wonderful visit!

Talk at Princeton

February 2019

I had an amazing time talking to the Princeton EEB department. The department is full of great ecological minds from top-to-bottom, and I really enjoyed talking about everything from N fixation to Measles dynamics. Tons of really great work going on in EEB by really wonderful people!

N Fixation at AGU

December 2018

I was extremely honored to be invited to give a talk at the centennial AGU meeting in Washington D.C.! There were so many absolutely wonderful talks and I got to meet tons of interesting folks doing some great research. The sheer size of the meeting was impressive, and the free beer was a cherry on top.

Ecology on the Radio!

November, 2018

I had the great pleasure to talk with the folks at NPR's Living On Earth radio program about the many benefits of Natural Climate Solutions. They're doing great work spreading the gospel that we can do a lot of good for this Earth if we start letting more forests grow back to their original state. You can hear the full story here


September 2018

I had an amazing time at Biosphere II in Tucson working with an incredible international group of scientists to synthesize the existing evidence for a CO2 fertilization effect on terrestrial ecosystems. Huge thanks to Anthony Walker and the organization committee for putting on such a great workshop!

New Paper out in Nature Plants

September 2018

Duncan and I have a new paper out in Nature Plants showing that light is a strong regulator of tropical symbiotic nitrogen fixation and discussing the large potential implications of changing our mindset on what the primary regulators of this process might be. This work represents a huge effort from folks like Megan Wilcots, Richard Li, Ben Scott, and an especially huge thanks to Enrique Salicetti for keeping the plants from drying up!

Log paper out in Nature Ecology & Evolution!

July 2018

Several of us in the Menge-sphere put together this assessment of how commonly ecologists see and misinterpret logarithms. Spoiler alert: we see them a lot and we almost always misinterpret them. If you're craving a good read on logarithms, look no further. Huge thanks to Duncan for leading the charge and the rest of the group (and the thousands of ecologists that took our survey) that made this project a great success! Find the paper here and a blog about the paper here.

Assessing hurricane damage in Dominica

June 2018

I had a great time getting back to the island I love so dearly, Dominica, to assess the damage and recovery of the forests following hurricane Maria. The field work conditions were grueling, but Saara DeWalt and Elvis Stedman made it a great experience. It was also wonderful to share a Kubuli with collaborators and friends like Nancy Osler and Kimi Thomas among many others.

Headed to SERC

June 2018

I'm thrilled to officially announce that in August I'll be starting a post-doctoral position at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center with Dr. Kim LaPierre! Kim does fascinating work, and we've got great plans for digging into the regulation of symbiotic nitrogen fixation. It doesn't hurt that SERC is a beautiful facility with a great community of scientists.

There's a Doctor in the House!

May 2018

The Ph.D. is signed, sealed, and delivered! I graduated with 3 incredible women - Amrita Neelakantan, Nicole Thompson, and Maressa Takahashi - and a great time was had by all in spite of the rainy weather. My advisor, Duncan, even gave me a machete as a going-away present! My wife, Sarah, celebrated in a different way (pictured)....

Columbia E3B Dissertation Prize

May 2018

The faculty of the Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology Department selected me for the 2018 Department Dissertation Prize. I have so much respect for all of these faculty members, so it is a huge honor for me to be recognized by them. E3B has been a wonderful academic home for me over the past 5 years, and I will miss it dearly.

Dissertation Defended

April 2018

I successfully defended my dissertation on the ecological drivers and consequences of tropical nitrogen fixing trees to my committee and the Columbia E3B department. Lots of laughs, a bit of science, and several embarrassing pictures were shared at the defense. This event was the culmination of years of work by me and tons of people around me, and I'm forever thankful for the help I've received from all of these folks.

OTS Student Paper Award

April 2018

Our paper on how nitrogen fixers can inhibit tropical forest regeneration was selected as the 2018 Outstanding Student Paper by the Organization for Tropical Studies! The work for this paper was conducted at La Selva, an OTS station, and the staff and facilities that OTS provided were an huge asset to my co-authors and I when conducting this work. Thanks OTS!

Feature in Yale Scientific

February 2018

The work that we've been doing on nitrogen-fixing trees in Costa Rica was recently highlighted in Yale Scientific Magazine! Genevieve Sertic put together a wonderful article on our findings that nitrogen-fixing trees can have inhibitory effects on tropical forest regeneration rates. Huge thanks for her interest in our work! You can read Genevieve's article here

Article Feature on Soil Carbon

February 2018

I had the chance to talk with the Earth Institute's Renee Cho about the future of the soil carbon pool and its role in future climate change. Parts of our interview were featured in her article on soil carbon storage that's now featured on the Earth Institute's State of the Planet blog. 

Seminar at the Smithsonian

January 2018

I had the great pleasure of giving a seminar on how nitrogen-fixing trees influence the process of tropical forest regeneration at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The STRI staff were wonderful hosts, and I had a great time talking tropical forests with some of the top researchers in the field. 

Our PNAS paper got highlighted in Science's Editor's Choice

September 2017

Science magazine did a great job of summing up our recent paper on the competitive/facilitative effects of nitrogen-fixing trees in a short write-up in the Editor's Choice section of their journal. Many thanks to the folks at Science for helping spread the gospel about the complicated effects of N fixers! You can find their piece here

Feature in ESA's Ecotone Blog

August 2017

My experiences talking to our U.S. Senators and Representatives about science funding with ESA's Graduate Student Policy Award program are featured on ESA's Ecotone blog. Our visit to D.C. was incredibly eye-opening, and I would absolutely encourage any ecology grad students out there to apply for the program!

Paper on Ecological Effects of N fixers out in PNAS

August 2017

I'm incredibly excited to say our paper on the inhibitory effects of nitrogen-fixing trees in Costa Rican rainforests has come out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This work features the N-fixation expertise of Duncan Menge, the statistical wizardry of Bene Bachelot, and almost 20 years of forest dynamics data from Robin Chazdon. 

ESA Annual Meeting

August 2017

ESA 2017 did not disappoint! There were so many great talks, tons of old friends from all over that were great to catch up with, and lots of great new faces to meet. A beautiful (albeit smoky) backdrop and a brewpub on every corner didn't hurt either... 

Reuniting with the Woodstoich Crew

July 2017

I had a blast getting back together with the folks from Woodstoich 2014 to talk ecological stoichiometry again. We reunited at a really top-notch science institute, Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg outside of Bremen, Germany. We also got to bring in some new faces to the project from all over Europe.

Funding for ESA 2017

July 2017

Two sections of ESA - the Student Section and the Physiological Ecology section - have been incredibly generous to provide travel funding for me to attend this year's meeting in Portland. Huge thanks to both sections! This type of support is so, so important to folks like me. 

Summer Field Work is Underway

June 2017

Back at it again! The wonderful Ben Scott (pictured) and myself are elbow deep in the mud searching for nodules and dodging snakes in our quest to determine the relative effects of light and soil nitrogen on rates of symbiotic nitrogen fixation.

Funding from Garden Club of America

May 2017

I'm ecstatic to announce that I've received a Visiting Gardens Fellowship from the Garden Club of America to continue my research on nitrogen-fixing trees in Costa Rica! Without this funding, I wouldn't be able to put the final puzzle pieces together for my dissertation work. These types of grants are so critical to graduate students like myself, and I'm extremely appreciative of GCA for their support.

Successful PPRC Conference

May 2017

My fellow E3B PhD students and I hosted grad students from Princeton, U. Penn, and Rutgers at the annual PPRC conference this May. We had over 50 people attend, and got to listen to really great research all around. Can't wait to head to Rutgers next year!

Representing ESA on Capitol Hill

April 2017

I had the wonderful opportunity to join 5 other graduate students from across the country to represent ESA in Washington. Our teams met with Senators and Representatives to promote federal funding for NSF in the coming fiscal year. Many thanks to the folks at ESA for providing this opportunity!

Presentation at Black Rock Board Meeting

March 2017

I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to the Black Rock Forest Board of Directors about our work on how Witch Hazel shrubs may help shape the future of northeastern forests. They were a very welcoming group that does great work conserving the Hudson Valley.

Paper out on responses of an understory shrub to canopy die-off

December, 2016

Our paper on the growth and physiology responses of American Witch-hazel to the die-off of canopy oak trees is now out in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research. This is the product of a ton of work from a ton of really wonderful people. It was a great experience working with these fine folks on such a cool project. 

Funding to Head to ESA

July 2016

Thanks to the generosity of the ESA Biogeosciences chapter, I won't be homeless and stranded at ESA this year. I really appreciate the travel award that they provided, and want to plug this type of thing as an incredibly important service to grad students like myself. Many thanks!

Let the REU 2016 Adventure Begin!

June 2016

Work is underway on understanding how tasty N-fixing plants are to their herbivore nemeses. Two brave REU students, Laura Block and Brandi Bergreen, are doing tons of cool work on the interactions between herbivores and N fixers at La Selva this summer. It's been great to work with them so far, and I'm really excited to see how this project turns out. 

Teaching (and Learning) in Kenya

April 2016

I was incredibly fortunate to get to teach a tropical agriculture field course alongside Cheryl Palm at Mpala Research Center in Kenya. It was a truly wonderful group of students from Columbia and Princeton, and we got to see tons of amazing things. I can't wait to go back!

Shadehouse Plant Collection

January 2016

The harvest moon was full over La Selva this January as Richard Li and I feverishly harvested the plants from the shadehouse experiment on ecological controls of nitrogen fixers. Huge thanks to Richard and Megan Wilcots for all of their help with this study - together, we produced lots and lots of nodules!

REU 2016 Mentor

November 2015

I have been selected to serve as a mentor for NSF's Research Experience for Undergraduate program at La Selva this summer. It's going to be a great group doing some really interesting research. Undergrads interested in applying can find more information here:

La Selva REU

Funding From Columbia's Earth Institute

November 2015

I, along with two undergraduate researchers, Richard Li and Megan Wilcots, have been selected for funding from the Earth Institute. I can't wait to put this funding to good use doing science down at La Selva!

Officially Announcing my Candidacy

November 2015

With so many people announcing their candidacies these days, I thought I'd join the party by becoming a PhD candidate! I had a successful and productive proposal defense meeting with my committee, so now it's down to getting some real science done.

ESA Talk on linking CO2 and N2O production

August 2015

I, along with several lab mates, gave a talk at the 100th ESA meeting in Baltimore. I had a great time listening to some really interesting research, and got to catch up with a lot of great friends.

Paper on stoichiometric flexibility out in Oikos

July 2015

Our work from the Woodstoich 2014 Conference has come out in Oikos. I was super fortunate to have such a great team of collaborators to work with, and many thanks to the conference organizers as well!

Fieldwork Begins at La Selva!

May 2015

Megan Wilcots and I have hit the ground running with field work at La Selva (Costa Rica). Over the next few months we'll be competing seedlings in a greenhouse, analyzing soils, and trying not to step on snakes. Let the nitrogen fixing begin!

Featured Maryville College Biology Alum

April 2015

I've been featured by the biology department at my Alma Matre, Maryville College, in their recent graduates profiles. I'm very fortunate to be the product of such a great department and to be among so many successful young alumni!

Funding from ILAS

April 2015

I was fortunate enough to receive a research travel grant from the Institute of Latin American Studies for research this summer in Costa Rica. 

Seedling Survival paper out in Biotropica

April 2015

Our paper on the biotic and abiotic factors governing seedling growth and survival in Dominica has just come out in Biotropica. This is the product of a long and great effort by a wonderful set of collaborators. Thanks Saara and Kalan!

Funding from Sigma Xi

December 2014

I just received funding from Sigma Xi's "Grants in Aid of Research" program for work that I'm doing on nitrogen fixation during tropical forest succession at La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica

Duncan Gets Recommended for Funding!

December 2014

My advisor, Duncan, has been recommended for funding by the Division of Environmental Biology at NSF.  The proposed work will investigate latitudinal patterns of nitrogen fixation at sites across the U.S.  Congrats Duncan et al.!

Root Architecture Paper Out in New Phytologist

October 28, 2014

Beidler et al. "Changes in root architecture under elevated concentrations of CO2 and nitrogen reflect alternate soil exploration strategies" is now available in Early View on New Phytologist's web page.  Excellent work, Katie!

Agouti Seed Dispersal Paper out in CJS

October 2014

My master's thesis work on seed dispersal by agoutis on the island of Dominica has come out in the Caribbean Journal of Science. Many thanks to my master's advisors, Saara and Kalan, for the immense amount of help they provided on this project!

Cover Story in Tree Physiology

September 2014

Our study on the effects of CO2 and N on fine roots and mycorrhizae landed on the cover of Tree Physiology this month thanks to a killer picture taken by Seth.

Woodstoich 2014

July 2014

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Woodstoich 2014 conference in Sydney, Australia where I worked with an amazing group on a project assessing stoichiometric plasticity in environments of different basal nutrient richness.

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Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Photo Credit: Durland Fish