Issue: 839

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
March 2, 2015 – No. 839

Top Stories

New Consortium Launched to Conserve Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Iowa
Enhancing the monarch butterfly’s habitat in rural and urban Iowa is the goal of a new, broad-based statewide effort. The Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, established through the efforts of CALS, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, will take a science-based approach to enhancing monarch butterfly reproduction and assist community-led implementation efforts. More


Video Posted on Soil Nitrogen Cycling and Drainage and Nitrate Loss
The Iowa Nutrient Research Center has posted a video featuring a combined presentation by Mike Castellano, agronomy, and Matt Helmers, agricultural and biosystems engineering. Castellano presents information on the soil nitrogen cycle. Helmers discusses drainage and nitrate loss.

Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites Featured in Bioplastics Magazine
An article on the new National Science Foundation Industry and University Cooperative Research Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites ran in the Jan./Feb. issue of bioplastics MAGAZINE, a German magazine with distribution in 91 countries. The center was launched in November and is led by ISU and co-located at Washington State University. David Grewell, agricultural and biosystems engineering and chairperson of the Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team at ISU, is director of the center.

Plant Sciences-Engineering Effort Focus of Big 12 Digital Network Video
Patrick Schnable, director of the Plant Sciences Institute, is working on designing the next generation of plants to help feed a growing population. This initiative is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research project involving engineers and plant scientists at ISU. A video describing the effort was published on the Big 12 Digital Network on Feb. 24. More

Eastern Iowa Airport to Partner with ISU on STRIPS Research
The ISU research team for STRIPS (Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips) is expanding the research to six new sites across the state, including one at The Eastern Iowa Airport.

Agronomy, ABE Faculty Awarded Miller Fellowships
Faculty in CALS departments are part of two proposals to receive a Miller Faculty Fellowship to develop new approaches for teaching undergraduate courses. Erik Christian, agronomy, will work on “Moving the Agronomy 212 Lab Out of the Classroom and into the Field.” Shweta Chopra, Gretchen Mosher and Russ Hoffman, agricultural and biosystems engineering; and Mack Shelley, political science, willwork on “Designing Curriculum Involving Industry Participation: Assessing Student Learning Through Effective College-Industry Partnership.” More

Flora Selected as Cornell University Notable Alumni
As part of its 150th anniversary, Cornell University is applauding 150 notable alumni. One is emeritus professor Cornelia Flora, sociology, who received her master’s degree and doctorate from Cornell in 1966 and 1970, respectively. She was selected by the Cornell graduate school for this honor.

Teaching and Students

CALS Student Writes about Day at the Capitol
Natalina Sents, junior in agricultural business and president of the ISU Student Federation for Agriculture, wrote a blog post about her experience attending the Grow Iowa Ag Day at the state capitol. She and a fellow SFA officer, Marshall Dolch, attended to show their support for the Iowa agricultural industry. More photographs are available on the ISU Student Federation for Agriculture facebook page. 

Livestock Judging Team Places 2nd and 3rd at Cattleman's Classic
The ISU Livestock Judging Team had two teams place second and third, respectively, at the Nebraska Cattleman's Classic in Kearney, Neb. The teams were led by Jeremy Maass, senior in animal science, second in placings; Bailey Core, senior in animal science, fourth in placings; Dan Ammann, junior in animal science; Giddian Kappeler, junior in animal science; and Liz Heaton, junior in agricultural business.

Extension and Outreach

Extension Creates Network for Beginning and Young Livestock Producers
Iowa livestock producers under age 35 are coming together in groups across the state through the Beginning and Young Livestock Producers Network. ISU Extension and Outreach has organized these groups so they can ask questions of each other, listen to educational presentations, talk to more experienced producers and connect with each other to be successful in agriculture.

McEowen Discusses Broken Farm Leases with Reuters
Concern about broken farm leases has some landlords reviewing legal options, according to Roger McEowen, director of the ISU Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation. In the Feb. 23 issue of Reuters, McEowen said his staff began fielding phone calls from nervous landowners last autumn.


March 13: Gamma Sigma Delta Award Nomination Deadline
Membership and award nominations are being accepted through March 13 for the Iowa Beta Chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta, the honor society of agriculture. Faculty and staff who have worked in agriculture or in related sciences for at least three years are eligible for initiation. Awards presented include University Mission Awards in Teaching, Research, Extension and International; the Distinguished Achievement in Agriculture Award; and the Alumni Award of Merit. Membership and award nomination forms are online. The annual Initiation and Awards Ceremony will be held April 23 at 5 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall Auditorium.

April 7-8: Egg Industry Issues Forum
Registration is now open for the 7th annual Egg Industry Issues Forum, scheduled for April 7-8 in downtown Des Moines.

April 10-11: Registration Open for Stupka Symposium
Registration is now open for the 10th annual Stupka Symposium, to be held April 10-11, 2015. The event is organized and run by undergraduate students in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, and designed to encourage the interaction between students and faculty over research topics in biological and chemical sciences. More

Funding Opportunities

Funding Information, Opportunities and Deadline Reminders
Dates listed are application deadlines. Contact: Roxanne Clemens, Additional information is posted at CALS Funding Resources.

Mar. 19 (notice of intent): NASA NSPIRES ROSES 2015 Science Utilization of the Soil Moisture Active-Passive Mission. More

Mar. 23 (notice of intent): NASA NSPIRES Robotics Outreach Competition (ROC-II); $5 million over five years, design and administer two robotics competition programs. More

Mar. 26 (notice of intent): USDA NIFA Organic Transitions; $500,000 over three years.

Mar. 27 (concept paper): USDA NIFA and DOE Biomass Research and Development Initiative; $500,000 to $2 million over three years, match required.

Apr. 2: NC-SARE Professional Development Grant Program; $30,000 to $75,000 over 36 months. More

Apr. 7: USDA NIFA Crop Protection and Pest Management Competitive Grants Program; $175,000 to $300,000 over four years.

Apr. 17: USDA NIFA Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grants Program; Priority - $1 million total over four years, Standard - $500,000 total over four years, Conference - $25,000.

Apr. 30 (notice of intent): NASA NSPIRES ROSES 2015 Precipitation Measurement Missions Science Team. More

May 20: NSF Critical Techniques and Technologies for Advancing Foundations and Applications of Big Data Science & Engineering; $2 million over four years. More

Aug. 19 (concept papers): USAID Brazil Partnership Development Program; 1:1 cost share, limited to two concept papers per organization, email expressions of interest to More

Oct. 13: NSF and NIH Smart and Connected Health – Exploratory Proposals; $510,000 direct costs plus applicable IDC over three years. More

Communications Kiosk

Biotechnology Communication Workshop, March 25
Kevin Folta, professor and chair of horticultural sciences at the University of Florida, will lead a biotechnology communication workshop on March 25, 8:15 to 11:45 a.m. in the ISU Alumni Center, South Reiman Ballroom. Folta’s “Bio-talk-nowledge-y” program is designed to help scientists learn the facts about biotechnology and then better communicate them. There is no charge for the workshop and 15 seats are still available. Contact Linda Wild,, to attend.


Webinar to Address Drones on Campus
ISU College of Engineering is hosting a webinar titled “Drones on Campus: 10 Challenges to Consider,” on March 10, 1 to 2:30 p.m. Registration.

Theme for March is "Soils Support Agriculture"
To celebrate and raise awareness for the 2015 International Year of Soils, the Soil Science Society of America has developed 12 monthly themes that reflect the diverse value of soils to the environment and society. The theme for March is Soils Support Agriculture. More


Scientists Create Libraries of Life
Hidden behind the popular displays at many natural history museums -- in their basements, back rooms and, increasingly, off-site facilities -- sit libraries holding not books but preserved animal and plant specimens, collected over centuries  by thousands of scientist explorers. These "Libraries of  Life" and their future are the topic of an op-ed article in the Feb. 27 issue of The New York Times. More

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online

Julie Stewart, Editor, (515) 294-5616

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online, the newsletter for faculty and staff in Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is published by email every Monday. The deadline for submitting content is 12 p.m. on Friday.


University Nondiscrimination Statement