Sarah Kyker


440.946.4400, ext. 266
Sarah Kyker



Postdoctoral Research Associate


Ph.D. 2010, Case Western Reserve University
M.S. 2006, Case Western Reserve University
B.A. 2003, Miami University, Botany
B.S. 2003, Miami University, Secondary Education



Research Interests

I am a microbial ecologist interested in the influence of human and natural environmental changes on microbial communities. Because microorganisms are small in size, they are environmentally sensitive. Despite their small size, however, microorganisms can have a large impact on the overall health of a habitat due to their role in ecosystem processes. For example, bacteria and fungi are predominantly responsible for decomposition and free-living microscopic algae and cyanobacteria play a critical role in primary productivity for aquatic habitats.


My work focuses on microorganisms in temperate forests, specifically in deciduous forest soils and forested vernal pool habitats. My research uses molecular techniques to study 1) the community composition of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, algae, and protists, and 2) functional genes possessed by microorganisms. The goal of my research is to help elucidate the importance of environmental changes to a habitat or an ecosystem, when these environmental changes affect the smallest inhabitants.


Carrino-Kyker, S.R., K.A. Smemo, and D.J. Burke. 2012. The effects of pH change and NO3- pulse on microbial community structure and function: a vernal pool microcosm study. FEMS Microbiology Ecology in press.

Carrino-Kyker, S.R., A.K. Swanson, and D.J. Burke. 2011. Changes in eukaryotic microbial communities of vernal pools along an urban-rural land use gradient. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 62: 13-24.

Carrino-Kyker, S.R. and A.K. Swanson. 2008. Temporal and spatial patterns of eukaryotic and bacterial communities found in vernal pools. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 74: 2554-2557.

Smith-Huerta, N.L., S.R. Carrino-Kyker, and A.J. Huerta. 2007. The effects of maternal and paternal nutrient status on pollen performance in the wildflower Clarkia unguiculata Lindley (Onagraceae). Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 134: 451-457.

Carrino-Kyker S.R. and A.K. Swanson. 2007. Seasonal physicochemical characteristics of thirty Northern Ohio temporary pools along gradients of GIS-delineated human land-use. Wetlands 27: 749-760.