Konza Prairie LTER Featured Graduate Student - Leena Vilonen

Leena Vilonen is a PhD candidate in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Colorado State University (CSU). Leena came to CSU from Northwestern University where she received a B.S. in Plant Biology where she studied the effects of invasive plant species on carbon and nitrogen cycling.

In 2017, Leena joined Melinda Smith’s lab at CSU to research the effects of drought on native grasslands. Her dissertation research focuses on the effects of drought on resistance, resilience, and legacy effect of the soil microbiome. She uses field rainfall exclusion experiments, laboratory methods, and future greenhouse studies to measure microbial community structure and functioning in the tallgrass prairie. If you are interested in Leena’s research, send her an email at leenavilonen@colostate.edu.

When Leena is not working, she enjoys adventuring in the mountains and playing with her pet ferret Lenny.