Professor, Department of Biology
Joe von Fischer is a Professor in the Department of Biology who studies how the function of ecosystems is structured by the interactions among humans, plants, the soil and soil microbes, with particular focus on how these factors influence the emissions of greenhouse gases like methane. Joe’s research seeks to characterize the physical and biological diversity of systems that give rise to micro-sites with exceptional influence on overall system function. Joe’s lab maintains two primary research areas. One is the study of how biological diversity among the bacteria that consume methane within soils leads to spatial and temporal patterns in soil methane fluxes. The other is in collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund to use Google Streetview Cars to measure the leakage rate of natural gas from urban distribution systems around the country.