Dr. Carla Atkinson just received news that her proposal “CAREER: Functional diversity and ecosystem function provisioning by a guild of macrofaunal consumers in riverine ecosystems” was funded by the National Science Foundation Division of Environmental Biology. Her work aims to merge the characterization of the functional traits of communities of freshwater mussels, the most globally imperiled faunal group, to critical ecosystem processes such as water filtration and biogeochemical cycling. Further, she plans to integrate the concepts of biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships gained from the research objectives into the instruction of undergraduate courses, K-12 day camps, and after school programs. This will help engage field research to local communities as Alabama harbors the highest diversity of freshwater mussels. This research will advance scientific understanding by investigating how community composition and coincidental trait diversity influences biogeochemical cycling over time and space while also informing conservation of a highly imperiled group and engaging local communities. The NSF Faculty Early Career Development, or CAREER, Program is the most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty at NSF. Recipients are recognized as being individuals with the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Read more about this upcoming research at NSF.