- Joanna is a PhD student in the Bernhardt lab and is interested in the ways that contaminants affect aquatic ecosystem processes in urban landscapes. Beginning in wetlands close to home in northern Texas, she has studied a variety of ecological topics as far north as the boreal catchments of southern Norway to as far west as Idaho searching for the Giant Palouse Prairie earthworm (some say it can grow up to 3 feet long!). With a few interesting exceptions, Joanna’s research has centered on biogeochemistry, ecosystem ecology, and contaminants. After earning a B.S. in Environmental Science from Cornell University, she discovered her interest in contaminants after spending a year studying mercury cycling as a Fulbright Scholar at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research in Oslo. Currently Joanna spends most of her time in and around the water bodies of the NC Piedmont Triangle trying to understand how contaminants move through urban landscapes, undergo biogeochemical transformations, and ultimately affect microbial communities important to aquatic ecosystem processes.