Projects Funded begining in FY02

Agriculture, Climate Change, and Socioeconomic Dislocation

The project goal is to study the role that agronomists in general and the ISU Agronomy program in particular might play in alleviating the social and economic consequences of climate change.  This will be accomplished by funding a program of scholarly exchanges culminating in an international workshop hosted by ISU.

Raymond W. Arritt, Professor, Dept. of Agronomy, ISU

William J. Gutowski, Jr., Dept. of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences and Dept. of Agronomy (collaborator), ISU

Kenneth J. Moore, Dept. of Agronomy, ISU

Mark Westgate, Dept. of Agronomy, ISU

Evolutionary Agroecology and Biocomplexity Initiative

The project goal is to initially gather a group of ISU experts in the fields of agronomy, genetics, mathematics, computation science, philosophy, education and the social sciences to plan an initiative whose objectives will be to identify the relevant issues, problems and opportunities involved in the evolutionary consequences of humans on agroecosystems; to develop a strategic plan about how to address these issues; and to identify internationally recognized expert in the diverse areas that relate to this initiative and then to bring them to ISU to conduct the dialogue.

Jack Dekker, Associate Professor, Dept. of Agronomy, ISU

EAM Initiative initial committee - Ashlock, Dan - Mathematics; Danielson, Brent - Animal Ecology; de Laplante, Kevin - Philosophy, Philosophy of Ecology; Lathrop, Jim - Computer Science Affiliate Faculty; Lutz, Jack - Computer Science, Biocomplexity; Maddux, Roger - Mathematics; Mayfield, John - Zoology-Genetics, Biocomplexity; Naylor, Gavin - Zoology-Genetics, Phylogentics; Richmond, Rollin - EEB, Evolutionary Bilogy

Enhancing Resident Education in Agronomy - Step 1:  Transition of Distance M.S. Technology Lab to Meet Undergraduate Needs

The project funds the costs to establish an Education Technology Enhancement Laboratory “to harness emerging technologies to improve learning and incorporate new innovations into resident and extended-campus courses”.

Russ Mullen, Professor, Dept. of Agronomy

Kerry Taylor, Teaching Lab Coord, Dept. of Agronomy

Dan Dobill, Program Coordinator II, Dept. of Agronomy, Distance Masters Program

Ken Moore, Professor, Dept. of Agronomy, Distance Masters Program

D.J. Toms, System Support Specialist III, Dept. of Agronomy, Baker Computer Support Lab

Don Rieck, Director,  Instrucitonal Technology Center

David Acker, Assistant Dean, College of Agriculture International Programs

Internship Program for the ISU Student Organic Farm

The project goal is to increase awareness of food production and distribution issues at the university and community level.  This will be accomplished by funding an internship for the Student Organic Farm at ISU.  The proposed internship will focus on documentation and dissemination of the learning generated at the farm and establishes new educational relationships with faculty and students at ISU in addition to the local community college (DMACC) and local K-12 schools.

Mary Wiedenhoeft, Associate Professor, Dept. of Agronomy

Pernell Plath, Graduate Student, Anthropology

Garth Kelly, Graduate Student, Agronomy

Portable Computer Laboratory

The project goal is to allow students to learn new emerging technologies and relieve the demand for the Supplemental Learning Lab (G528 Agronomy Hall).     This will be accomplished by funding the purchase of 30 laptop computers with wireless Ethernet cards to be placed on a cart and moved to various classrooms (G541, G533, 1020, 1026 or 3140) prior to the beginning of class. 

Mary Wiedenhoeft, Associate Professor, Dept. of Agronomy

Ken Moore, Professor, Dept. of Agronomy

Crop Diversification and Crop/Livestock Integration:  A Path to Iowa's Agricultural Future

The project goal is to introduce a viable third grain crop that could have a significant impact on the sustainability of agriculture in this part of the country by reducing reliance on the predominant corn-soybean rotation.  Initially, this will be accomplished by funding on-farm research/demonstrations, using currently adapted triticale varieties as part of a cropping/feeding system that may be used both as an educational tool and a means to test the viability of the system.  Both economic and environmental (e.g. soil "health") parameters will be studied.  As more defined research questions emerge, they may be studied under more controlled conditions.

Lance Gibson, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Agronomy

Matt Liebman, Associate Professor, Dept. of Agronomy

Jean-Luc Jannink, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Agronomy

Mark Honeyman, Manager and Swine Specialist, ISU Research Farms

James Kliebenstein, Dept. of Economics

Douglas Karlen, Soil Quality, National Soil Tilth Laboratory

Planning a Long-Term Agroecological Cropping Systems Research and Education Program in Iowa

The project goal is to create a Long Term Agroecological Cropping Systems Research and Education Program (LTACSREP) to stimulate and strengthen the necessary research and extension.  The initial request is to provide funding to conduct a one-year Planning Study for a Long-Term Agroecological Cropping Systems Research and Education Program.

Principal Investigators: Lead PIs and Roles:

Kathleen Delate, Dept. of Agronomy & Horticulture-Coordination and expertise in agroecology

Ken Moore, Professor, Depts. of Agronomy-Coordination and expertise in pasture ecology

Cynthia Cambardella, Dept. of Agronomy/USDA-ARS Soil Tilth-Coordination and expertise in soil ecology

Co-PIs (in alphabetical order) and Role:

Mahdi Al-Kaisi, Dept. of Agronomy-Provide expertise in soil quality aspects (carbon sequestration)

James Boes, Farmer, ISU Neely-Kinyon Farm Association-Provide producer input and expertise

Diane Debinski, Dept of Animal Ecology-Provide expertise in wildlife aspects (habitat effects)

Mike Duffy, Dept. of Agricultural Economics-Provide expertise in economical analysis

Rick Exner, Practical Farmers of Iowa-Provide expertise in farmer input and technology transfer

Deb Hall, Adair County Extension, Greenfield-Provide expertise in farmer input/technology transfer

Mark Honeyman, Dept. of Animal Science-Provide expertise in livestock management/ecology

Jean-Luc Jannink, Dept. of Agronomy-Provide expertise in small grains varieties/ecology

Douglas Karlen, USDA-ARS, Soil Tilth Lab.-Provide expertise in soil quality/effects of rotations

Fred Kirschenmann, Leopold Center-Provide expertise in partnerships/linkages with systems research

Kendall Lamkey, USDA-ARS-Provide expertise in corn varieties/ecology

Matt Liebman, Dept. of Agronomy-Provide expertise in weed ecology/agroecology

Carl Mize, Dept. of Forestry-Provide expertise in shelterbelts/agroforestry/forest interactions

Gary Munkvold, Dept. of Plant Pathology-Provide expertise in plant pathology/ecology (corn)

John Obrycki, Dept. of Entomology-Provide expertise in insect ecology/plant pest predator interactions

Tom Richard, Dept. of Ag. and Biosystems Eng.-Provide expertise in compost interactions

Jim Russell, Dept. of Animal Science-Provide expertise in animal management/rotational grazing

Ali Tabatabai, Dept. of Agronomy-Provide expertise in soil quality (chemical/biochemical properties)

Robert Turnbull, Heartland Organic Marketing Co-op-Provide expertise in alternative marketing

Greg Tylka, Dept. of Plant Pathology-Provide expertise in nematology/ecology (soybean)

X.B. Yang, Dept. of Plant Pathology-Provide expertise in plant pathology (soybean)

An Agroecosystem Water Management Model:  Coupling of Plant, Soil, and Climate Components

The project goal is to develop a conceptual framework of coupling system components involving movement and availability of water in agroecosystems.  From this coupled conceptual framework, a numerical modeling system will be developed to simulate components of water-related processes in the soil, plant, and atmosphere, and conduct long-term projection of soil moisture availability during the growing season.

Zaitao Pan, Assistant Scientist, Dept. of Agronomy

Robert Horton, Professor, Dept. of Agronomy Dept. William Batchelor, Associate Professor, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Coupled Heat and Water Flow Near the Soil Surface

The project goal is to evaluate the innovative new theory that diurnal heating of the soil drives convective transport of soil air and that this convective transport explains the greater than diffusion rates of water vapor transport observed in field studies.  This is important because in temperate climates, prompt germination, rapid emergence, and vigorous early growth of crops are critical to achieving profitable yields.

Robert Horton

Thomas Sauer, National Soil Tilth Lab

Daily Soil Erosion and Water Runoff Estimates in Iowa

The project goal is to estimate daily soil erosion losses and water runoff across the state of Iowa at the county level of resolution.  Maps will be created each day showing these estimates.  These maps and descriptive narrative will be distributed to agencies involved with natural resource conservation and the media for public dissemination, as well as be made available on a public web site.  This is important because sediment from eroded cropland is Iowa's biggest water quality problem, and arguably, Iowa's biggest environmental problem.  Soil erosion affects everyone in the state.

Richard Cruse, Dept. of Agron.

Dennis Todey, Dept. of Agron.

Madhi Al-Kaisi, Dept. of Agron. Ext.

William Batchelor, Dept. Ag. & Biosys, Eng.

Dennis Flanagan, USDA-ARS Nat. Soil Erosion Lab..West Lafayette, IN

David James, USDA-ARS  Nat Soil Tilth Lab., Ames, IA

Witold Krajewski, Univ. of Iowa,  Civil and Env. Eng.,

John Laflen, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Jean Opsomer, Dept. of Stat

Mark Tomer, USDA-ARS  Nat. Soil Tilth Lab., Ames, IA.

Development of a Pollen Dispersion Prediction Methodology

The project goal is to develop a new methodology for predicting dispersion of pollen that is much more versatile than previous techniques.  The new pollen dispersion model will be based on tracking individual particles rather than treating the pollen as a "plume" similar to a smoke plume.  The new method allows the particles to be readily tagged with characteristics such as source and age, so that biological characteristics such as pollen viability can be included.  The project is for a pilot study in which software for the dispersion modes will be developed and tested against existing data for pollen dispersion around a field near Ames.

R.W. Arritt (Agronomy), W.J. Gutowski, Jr. (Geological and Atmospheric Sciences), K. Moore, (Agronomy) and M. Westgate (Agronomy)

Planning and Developing the Iowa Environmental Mesonet

The project goal is to merge data from over 300 stations in five different weather-observing systems that exist in Iowa.  These systems are specific to aviation, roadways, or waterways with little agriculture-specific data and the data is in numerous in compatible software or data formats.  Iowa Environmental Mesonet proposes to collect the data feeds, check for accuracy, compare to other data nearby for comparability between systems and disseminated to the public in raw and graphical formats.

Dennis Todey, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Dept. of Agronomy

Raymond Arritt took over when Dennis left ISU

Plant Foliage and its Resident Microbiota as Sinks for Agriculturally Derived Volatile Organic Pollutants

The project long-term goal is to evaluate the potential for terrestrial plants and their associated microbial communities to reduce air concentrations of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) associated with livestock wastes and livestock production facilities.  Terrestrial plants and/or microorganisms could be used for odor control by establishing plots of plants on lands immediately adjacent to lagoons or surrounding the exhaust vent from a confinement facility, and/or by introducing or promoting the establishment of particular VOC – degrading microorganisms.  While the use of plants and microorganisms is unlikely to provide complete odor control it may strongly complement other control measures.

Gwyn A. Beattie, Department of Plant Pathology

Larry J. Halverson, Departments of Agronomy and Microbiology

Understand Basic Soil and Water Processes Impacting Phosphorus Transport to Water Resources

The project goal is to investigate the mineralogical, chemistry, soil testing, and small-scale water transport processes that influence loss of dissoved P though surface runoff and subsurface drainage.  This initial project and data collected within a two-year period will provide valuable information to revise the Iowa P index (scheduled for 2003), and will facilitate useful data and interactions to secure funding from other sources and to develop a more ambitious and more integrative future project.

Principal Investigators:

Antonio Mallarino, Department of Agronomy

James Baker, Dep. of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Michael Thompson, Department of Agronomy



Robert Horton, Department of Agronomy

Stewart Melvin, Dep. of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Dean Lemke, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Barbara Stewart, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service

Use of Bacterial Biosensors to Measure Bioavailability of Poyaromatic Hydrocarbons in Hydrophobic Soils

The project goal is to determine how soil hydrophobicity influences pollutant bioavailability and to characterize the actual physicochemical environment sensed by bacteria in soil micro sites and to provide a description of the physiochemical properties of those sites.  The results will form the basis of a detailed picture of pollutant availability and the soil morphological, chemical, physical and biological properties that influence pollutant bioavailability and biodegradation potential.

Larry Halverson, Departments of Agronomy and Microbiology

Robert Horton, Department of Agronomy

Michael Thompson, Department of Agronomy


Funded beginning in FY03

Science and Policy Seminar Series & Summer Institute

This project funds twelve seminars over two years and two in-depth 3-4 day “Science & Policy Summer Institutes” serving 25 faculty and senior scientific staff on the relationship between science and public policy.  By some accounts the influence of scientists on national policy has been declining for the last 30 years.  This project goal is to help ISU faculty and staff more effectively fulfill the land grant mission by increasing their understanding of how agricultural policies and regulations are established and prepare faculty and students for engaged citizenship.

PI: Clare Hinrichs, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Co-PI:  Charlotte Bronson, Professor and Chair, Department of Plant Pathology

Co-PI: Lisa Lorenzen, Director of Industry Relations, Vice-Provost for Research Office and Office of Biotechnology

Co-PI: Robert Lowry, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science

Co-PI: Laura Merrick, Associate Scientist, Department of Agronomy

Co-PI: John Miranowski, Professor, Department of Economics           

Co-PI: Allen Knapp, Professor, Department of Agronomy

Instructional Technology Laboratory

The objective of this project is to assess current and projected instructional technology needs, evaluate currently available resources, and develop a plan for creating a state-of-the-art instructional development facility.

Principal Investigators:  Ken Moore, Mary Wiedenhoeft

Collaborators:  Dan Dobill, Lance Gibson, Russ Mullen

Continuous Program Improvement Through Outcomes Assessment:  The Undergraduate Curriculum

The project proposes to develop and initiate a systematic approach for outcomes assessment of the Agronomy undergraduate degree program.  This will be accomplished through a series of seminars to help train and focus faculty on curricular assessment procedures through a series of seminars/workshops.  Research Institute for studies in Education (RISE) will assist Agronomy to develop appropriate assessment, analyze available data, collect data, prepare reports, and provide feedback to faculty on the effectiveness and appropriateness of the undergraduate curriculum.

Principal Investigators:

Russ Mullen (contact person), Professor

Lance Gibson, Assistant Professor

Sherry Pogranichniy, Recruitment /Retention Coord.

Tom Polito, Assistant Professor

Mary Wiedenhoeft, Associate Professor Department of Agronomy


Michelle Cook, Graduate Research Assistant, ELPS Doctoral Student Departmental faculty in Agronomy RISE (Research Institute For Studies in Education), ISU

Mary Huba, Assistant Vice Provost, ISU

Development of Crop Advantage Meeting Series for Farmers

The project targets the loss of engagement resulting from the lack of formal programs with farmers as the target audience.  This proposal requests seed money to hire a person (2 months/year) to facilitate development of the Crop Advantage Series for two years.  This seed funding should allow the program to develop sufficient audience to make it self-sufficient in the fourth year.

Bob Hartzler and Mike Owen

Collaborators:  Extension specialists in Agronomy, Plant Pathology, Entomology and              Agric. Biosystems Engineering

Plant Ontogeny and Signal Transduction, Phase I:  Low Temperature Stress Tolerance Mechanisms in Maize

The long-term goal of this program is to understand plant signal cascades and how they control plant growth and development.  This proposal seeks to establish this thrust through an integrated research project aimed initially at defining plant responses to low temperature stress.   The project funds a technician and lab/field operating expenses for two years.

PI - Allen Knapp, Associate Professor, Plant Physiology - Agronomy Dept.

Co-PI - Rajeev Arora - Associate Professor, Plant Physiology - Horticulture Dept.

Co-PI - Deb Muenchrath, Assistant Professor, Plant Physiology - Agronomy Dept.

Co-PI - Kan Wang - Associate Professor, Molecular Biology - Agronomy Dept.

Co-PI - Ray Arritt, Professor, Climatology - Agronomy Dept.

Co-PI - Kendall Lamkey - Professor, Plant Breeder - Agronomy Dept.

Co-PI - Candance Gardner - Research Leader, North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station

Working Group for Soil Organic Matter Management, Carbon Storage Index, and Model for Carbon Management Options

The project goal combines the efforts of soil scientists and economist to gather the necessary expertise to manage soil organic matter.  The primary products will be decision-support tools that are grounded in basic research concerning physical, chemical and biological processes as well as in fundamental economic and social theory.  This proposal should serve as a prototype and catalyst for long-term development in this area.

Al-Kaisi, Mahdi (Assistant Professor), Agronomy Department, ISU

Fenton, Tom (Professor), Agronomy Department, ISU

Thompson, Michael (Associate Professor), Agronomy Department, ISU

D.A. Laird (Soil Scientist), National Soil Tilth Laboratory, USDA-ARS

C.L. Kling (Professor), and J. Zhao (Assistant Professor), Economics Department, ISU

Novel Technologies for Managing the Biological and Physical Components of Maize

The project represents an entirely new and unique combination of scientific expertise that bridges plant physiology, atmospheric modeling, and molecular biology to focus on the practical aspects of genetic purity in corn.  The outcomes should offer information for assessing risk of genetic drift from agricultural fields, designing shelterbelts for improved productivity, or proving essential information for National policy regarding production and marketing of Genetically Modified Organisms.

Effective January, 2003 the project "Agriculture, Climate Change, and Socioeconomic Dislocation" [A1-FY02-2] under the Global Agricultural Science & Policy Institute was terminated and reallocation of $51,305.04 to support a graduate assistant for the project "Novel Technologies for Managing the Biological and Physical Components of Maize" [D10-FY03-2] under the Agroecosystems Initiative.

Mark Westgate (PI), Crop physiology, Agronomy

Ray Arritt, Atmospheric modeling, Agronomy

Susana Goggi, Seed technology, Agronomy

Dennis Todey, Meteorology, Agronomy

John Basart, Remote sensing, Aerospace Engineering

Jerry Hatfield, Crop-Atmosphere modeling

Robert Ewing, Remote sensing, Agronomy

Lahcen Grass, Hybrid seed production, Syngenta Seeds

Verification and Application of Iowa Environmental Mesonet Data

The project will integrate the National Weather Service (NWS) & the Iowa Environmental Mesonet (IEM).   Microscale land-surface processes vitally affect agriculture, whereas operational meteorological forecasting focuses mainly on accurate forecasts of large-scale weather phenomena.  The operational weather data issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) therefore often fails to meet the need of agricultural interests.  Observations of the Iowa Environmental Mesonet (IEM), consisting of more than 300 stations over Iowa, can bridge the gap between NWS weather data and agricultural needs.  However, the full utilization of these two data sources requires stringent verification of the fine-scale IEM data.  This requirement cannot be achieved by regular data quality control alone.

Two research tasks are proposed to accomplish this goal: (1) depictions/diagnoses of local weather/climate phenomena with the IEM observations against those simulated by fine-grid regional forecast models, and (2) studies of the impact on local precipitation/mesoscale circulations simulated by a regional forecast model with land use heterogeneity measured by and initial conditions improved with the IEM observations.           

Tsing-Chang Chen, Professor, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

Willam A. Gallus, Jr., Associate Professor, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

Raymond W. Arritt, Professor, Department of Agronomy

Funded beginning in FY04

Farm Commodity Programs, Crop Production and Diversity, Environmental Quality, and Agricultural Research at Land Grant Universities

The goal of this project is to provide a new format for innovative discovery that integrates social, agronomic, and ecological scientists in a multidisciplinary effort to better understand the impacts of price distortions, such as those created by farm commodity programs, on the nature, structure, and landscape of Midwest agriculture and on Land Grant University research programs. Hopefully options will be identified to achieve more sustainable production and ecological systems.

John A. Miranowski, Department of Economics

Ricardo J. Salvador, Department of Agronomy

Susana Goggi, Department of Agronomy

Allen Knapp, Department of Agronomy

Heidi Asbjornsen, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management

Lisa, Schulte, U.S. Forest Service

Enhancing the GIS Skills of Undergraduates taking Agronomy Courses

The goal of this project is to significantly increase new teaching capabilities throughout the Agronomy Curriculum in GIS and Precision Ag by expanding on a recently funded USDA Challenge Grant.

Mary Wiedenhoeft, Associate Professor, Department of Agronomy

Lance Gibson, Assistant Professor, Department of Agronomy

Tom Polito, Assistant Professor, Department of Agronomy

Randy Killorn, Professor, Department of Agronomy

A Comprehensive Internet Presence for Agronomy Extension

The goal of this project is to develop a visionary web page for Agronomy Extension Clientele to access research based information.

Dan Dobill

Michael Owen

Palle Pedersen

Brent A. Pringnitz

Angela M. Rieck-Hinz

Database Tools Promoting Extensive, User-Friendly Access to the Iowa Environmental Mesonet

The goal of this project is to develop a working prototype of a database workbench that allows the general public as well as researchers to explore the IEM’s large and often unwieldy databases.  Among other applications, this will allow Iowa farmers using the IEM to make operations decisions. 

Shashi Gadia, Department of Computer Science

William J. Gutowski, Jr. Department of Geological & Atmospheric Sciences

Mahdi Al-Kaisi, Department of Agronomy

S. Elwynn Taylor, Department of Agronomy

Daryl Herzmann, Department of Agronomy

Integrating Molecular, Physiological, and Agronomic Approaches
to Meet IP Soybean Markets of the Near Future

The goal of this project is to use biotechnological manipulation of soybean seed composition to improve the quality and enhance the marketability of the crop.  The expected outcomes include the identification of metabolic pathways controlling partitioning into major seed components, knowledge of how regulated changes in gene expression translate into a measured metabolic response and a WEB-based simulation tool designed to couple metabolic responses controlling seed traits with appropriate crop management to maximize that response.

Mark Westgate, Crop Physiology, Agronomy

Jacqueline Shanks, Metabolic Flux, Chem Engineering

Basil Nikolau, Biochemistry/MolBiol, BBMB

William Batchelor, Crop Modeling, ABE

Dan Nettleton, Bioinformatics, Statistics

James, Orf, Soybean Breeding, University of Minnesota

Palle Pederson, Soybean, Extension, Agronomy

Eve Wurtele, Metabolism/Bioinformatics, GDCB

Probabilistic Forecasting for Water Status of the Agroecosystem

The goal of this project is to supply detailed forecasts of precipitation and related variables during the growing season at the county level in Iowa through the website of the Iowa Environmental Mesonet because variability of rainfall is the largest single cause of year-to-year fluctuations in Iowa’s agricultural production.

Tsing-Chang (Mike) Chen, Professor, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences/Department of Agronomy

William A. Gallus, Jr., Associate Professor, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences/Department of Agronomy

William J. Gutowski, Professor, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences/Department of Agronomy

Raymond W. Arritt, Professor, Department of Agronomy

Charles A. Lin, Professor, Department of Thmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University

Mineralogical and Redox Controls on the Occurrence and Mobility of Phosphorus in Groundwater in the Clear Lake Watershed

The goal of this small project is to determine 1) what forms of P (organic, inorganic, solid phase and dissolved) occur in groundwater and soil; 2) the potential sources (agricultural or mineral) and sinks of P in groundwater; and 3) the redox conditions and the role they may play in mobilizing (or immobilizing) P in groundwater.  The results will be published and will be used to leverage future research funding from USDA-NRI or NSF to extend the work out into the watershed.           

William W. Simpkins, Associate Professor and Hydrogeologist, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

Michael L. Thompson, Associate Professor and Soil Scientist, Department of Agronomy

Timothy B. Parkin, Research Microbiologist and Team Leader, USDA-ARS, National Soil Tilth Laboratory

Path to the Future
Iowa State University Agronomy Department
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