Marly Bartkus assists with soil carbon research to improve our understanding of the impact of cover crops. They are passionate about learning more about soil carbon’s role in addressing the climate crisis.
Bartkus gained their expertise in biochemistry, microbial ecology, and bryology (the study of mosses and lichens) through various academic experiences. As an undergraduate, she was part of a research team investigating novel antibiotic resistance in colonies of microorganisms isolated from soil. This sparked Bartkus’ interest in soil conditioning and the dynamics of soil microbial communities, and inspired their senior project on bokashi composting, which uses microbes to ferment compost without oxygen. After graduating, she joined a biochemistry and cell biology lab at Dartmouth College, investigating metabolic differences in cancers.
Bartkus’ appreciation for the environment was nurtured by their childhood habit of running around barefoot in the woods of New England. She is intrigued by the complexity of soil and how shifting your perspective down to a single cell reveals a domain as vast and unexplored as outer space. Their passion for dirt and chemistry is both professional and personal—Bartkus enjoys exploring ceramic art in their free time.