Soil organic matter is critical for soil productivity, water quality and balancing greenhouse gases. Yet, our understanding of its properties and dynamics is still scant. Particularly the modeling of its behavior under future global change including climate warming has proven to pose significant challenges. The current activities provide a path forward in taking critical hurdles in our understanding of the fine-scale distribution of organic matter in soil and how this generates new ways of modeling soil organic matter behavior.
Drilling the Marcellus shale for natural gas extraction consists of many disparate actions by multiple mining companies, including drilling process, leasing and contracts, spills and violations and water withdrawals. Assembling this data in one model can help make transparent the collective or aggregate impacts (positive and negative) of this industry operating in rural Pennsylvania. Many impacts are felt north of the border in New York State.
This project brings together a group of scholars working on the extractive industries, initially in a workshop that was held at Cornell in October of 2015. The group has subsequently decided to collect the papers presented at that workshop along with additional, solicited papers in an edited volume that will be published by Routledge as part of its series on Extractive Industries and Development. In February of 2016, I received a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation (Bellagio Center) to work on the volume, and that work has continued throughout the year.
Insect distribution in soil is influenced by the amount, distribution, and composition of soil organic matter (SOM). For years, there has been interest in using SOM amendments for mitigating damage by soil-dwelling pests, and studies in row crops and orchards have shown that organic matter manipulations can suppress insect pests and promote beneficial arthropods. The feasibility of such practices in turfgrass, however, has not been well studies. Practices focusing on SOM as a pest management tool in turf may provide additional benefits to soil.
Release of the oocyte from the ovarian follicle at ovulation must occur with precise timing and be localized to the outer surface of the ovary in order to insure successful delivery of the oocyte into the female reproductive tract and fertilization. The mechanisms that control the site of follicle rupture have not been determined.
Eutrophication associated with excess nutrient pollution in shallow marine ecosystems is poorly understood relative to deeper systems. This project investigates various feedbacks that may occur during eutrophication that either aggravate or partially mitigate the effects of nutrient pollution in a shallow estuary. A large reduction in nitrogen loading from the watershed allows a unique opportunity to also study the start of ecosystem recovery.
The goal of this project is to understand the life history and evolutionary genomics of recenlty discovered mycoplasma-related endobacteria (MRE) of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF, subphylum Glomeromycotina). To this end, we sequenced, assembled, annotated, and analyzed MRE metagenomes associated with three AMF species. This work revealed that MRE gene content is highly reduced, suggesting metabolic dependence on the AMF hosts. Remarkably, the MRE genomes harbor multiple genes horizontally acquired from AMF.
There is significant incentive and interest in developing reduced- or non-chemical approaches for managing root-feeding pests in turfgrass, however, the successful development of such practices presents major challenges. Chief among these challenges is a poor understanding of soil characteristics which determine pest distribution in turf soils. The short-term objective of this project will be to conduct a field study to identify soil chemical and physical properties that explain distributional patterns of turf root pests on golf courses and home lawns.
Container traps baited with a food attractant are often promoted as a technique to reduce yellowjacket populations without the use of pesticides. There has been little or no work on whether the traps reduce the risk of being stung. Continuing on work initiated in 2006, we tested the premise that trapping around a periphery of a plot will reduce the number of yellowjackets in the center of the plot. The assumption was made that the fewer the yellowjackets, the less the risk of being stung. During 2015, we also began testing if adding a surfactant to the bait increased captures.
Studying Colorado potato beetles, a major pest of potatoes, we will measure how plant resistance and temporal variation in predator presence affect the non-consumptive and total effect of the stink bug predator on the beetle life time fitness and plant damage including effects on the next generation that is not exposed to predation. We will measure physiological, behavioral and developmental mechanisms by which beetle larvae compensate for responses to predation risk and how these contribute to fitness in the presence of additional stresses.