My undergraduate degree was from the University of Oklahoma. I did my M.S. at the University of Illinois in natural resources and environmental science, advised by Mark David. My Ph.D. was from Penn State University in soil science and biogeochemistry, advised by Jason Kaye.
My background is in biogeochemistry and soil ecology. My research centers on the interactions between soils and plants. Soils and plants are in a give-and-take relationship. Plants combine carbon from the atmosphere with nutrients TAKEN from soils. Then dead plants GIVE carbon and nutrients back to the soil, which new plants can then TAKE these nutrients from the soil once again. My research explores both sides of this relationship, the soil biota involved, and how humans can either interfere or enhance soil-plant interactions.
Many issues in agroecosystems arise when the soil-plant relationships are out of whack – e.g. excessive soil greenhouse gas emissions, excessive nutrients leached to waterways, declines in soil health, and poor crop productivity. My research strives to inform management that enhances soil-plant synergy that leads to sustainable agroecosystem management.
McDaniel, M.D., L.K. Tiemann, A.S. Grandy. 2014c. Does agricultural crop diversity enhance soil microbial biomass and organic matter dynamics? A meta-analysis. Ecological Applications 24(3): 560-570. (DOI: 10.1890/13-0616.1)
McDaniel, M.D., J.P. Kaye, M.W. Kaye, M.A. Bruns. 2014. Climate change interactions affect soil CO2 efflux and microbial functioning in a post-harvest forest. Oecologia 174:1437-1448. (DOI: 10.1007/s00442-013-2845-y)
McDaniel, M.D., J.P. Kaye, M.W. Kaye. 2013. Increased temperature and precipitation had limited effects on soil extracellular enzyme activities in a post-harvest forest. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 56:90-98. (DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2012.02.026)
McDaniel, M.D., M.B. David, T.V. Royer. 2009. Relationships between benthic sediments and water column phosphorus in Illlinois streams. Journal of Environmental Quality 38:607-617. (DOI: 10.2134/jeq2008.0094)