Fellows are members of the ESA who are honored for “outstanding contributions to a wide range of fields served by ESA, including … those that advance or apply ecological knowledge in academics, government, non-profit organizations, and the broader society.”
Cardon, who joined the faculty of the MBL’s Ecosystems Center in 2008, focuses her research on dynamic interactions among plants, microbes, and soils, especially in the rhizosphere [the soil volume surrounding plant roots]. Because the function of this below-ground system is difficult to observe without digging it up, Cardon and colleagues have developed innovative approaches to study rhizosphere processes using stable isotopes, genetically engineered microbiosensors, mathematical modeling, and subterranean imaging.
In its announcement of the 2018 Fellows, the ESA cited Cardon for:
- outstanding research contributions in ecosystem science
- understanding of the rhizosphere as the nexus of commodity exchange in the terrestrial biosphere
- engineering developments in microbio-sensing
- broad and fearless exploration of connections in ecology, from stomata to soil to hydrology to nutrients to microbiomes to biodiversity
At the MBL, Cardon has been a driving force in successfully connecting ecologists and microbiologists working to understand microbial biodiversity and its importance for ecosystem functions sustaining life on Earth. She is also a faculty associate of The Microbiome Center, based at the University of Chicago.
Among her professional honors, Cardon contributed to establishment of the National Microbiome Initiative in 2016 at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Washington, D.C. She was co-author on the three scientific publications that presented the conceptual framework for the National Microbiome Initiative.
Cardon received her PhD in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and conducted research as a DOE Global Change Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining the MBL, she was on the biology faculty at Bowdoin College and subsequently at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, where she was Associate Director of the university’s Center for Integrative Geosciences.
In addition to the Ecological Society of America, she is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Society for Microbiology.