Natural resources and environment/engineering and support systems

FUNCTIONAL RESTORATION OF MIDWESTERN AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPES
The long-term goal of this project is to develop locally acceptable and economically viable management practices that increase the sustainability of agriculture in the Midwestern United States with respect to surface and ground water quality, while improving the integrity of the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The short-term goal is to quantify the biophysical and socioeconomic impacts of incorporating denitrification systems and perennial conservation practices into row-crop agricultural systems.
Investigators: Lisa Schulte-Moore, Richard Schultz, Tom Isenhart, natural resource ecology and management; Matt Helmers, agricultural and biosystems engineering
 

INTEGRATED SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT IN AUTOMATION AND SENSORS FOR SUSTAINABILITY OF SPECIALTY CROPS
Conventional weed control solutions can be difficult to implement in vegetable production because specialty crop operations are often hampered by low labor availability and high labor costs. Sensors, electronics and automation technologies offer the potential to revolutionize production practices, address constraints to expanded local specialty crop production, and ensure high food quality and safety. The overall goal of this project is to extend engineering science and technology at the interface between engineered systems and specialty crop cultural systems.
Investigators:  Brian Steward, Matt Darr, Lie Tang, Mark Hanna, agricultural and biosystems engineering

BIOPLASTIC CONTAINER CROPPING SYSTEMS: GREEN TECHNOLOGY FOR THE GREEN INDUSTRY
This project is developing pots for the horticulture industry to take the place of those made from non-renewable petroleum-based plastics. Unlike petroleum-based materials, which will continue their steep increase in cost due to dwindling petroleum supplies and tougher sanctions against fossil fuels and derivatives, the cost of bio-based materials, such as bioplastics, will remain competitive and may decrease as the biorenewables infrastructure is optimized. Additional economic benefits that would arise from the development and implementation of bioplastic container cropping systems would be the profit realized from the use of domestic raw materials and the development of new domestic jobs.
Investigators:  William Graves, James Schrader, horticulture; David Grewell, agricultural and biosystems engineering; Michael Kessler, materials science and engineering

QUANTIFYING THE DISTRIBUTION, ABUNDANCE AND DIVERSITY OF WILDLIFE IN LANDSCAPES OF THE MIDWEST
Scientists within the Experiment Station system, and the agencies they serve, face increasing demands to quantify large-scale effects of environmental change on biodiversity. This project builds on experience with data sets collected over a variety of spatial scales to refine application of survey methods for assessing species abundance and distributions and to link the distributions to ecological processes that give rise to the distributions.
Investigator:  William Clark, natural resource ecology and management

REGIONAL AQUACULTURE CENTER — NORTH CENTRAL REGION
The North Central Regional Aquaculture Center conducts research, extension and demonstration projects that limit the expansion and profitability of aquaculture in the North Central Region. Projects funded by the center should lower the cost, increase production or production efficiency or increase the profitability for commercial products in the 12-state region.
Investigator:  Joe Morris, natural resource ecology and management