Plant Team

Missouri EPSCoR Researchers Gathered for the Fourth Annual Meeting

Monday, November 26, 2018

Missouri Transect researchers gathered on October 4-5, 2018 for the Missouri Transect Annual Meeting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) campus. The event brought together over 100 Missouri Transect participants, including faculty, staff, post-docs, graduate students, and undergrads and featured 42 research poster presentations.

On the evening of October 4, Jake Jacobson, Director of Public Relations for Children’s Mercy Kansas City, led a workshop for the Missouri Transect Student and Post-doc Association on effective communication to the public using social media engagement and building relationships with journalists.  He presented videos, social media posts, and anecdotes of communicating with print journalists to help students brainstorm how to get their own research out to the public in organic and creative ways.

The annual meeting with all Missouri Transect participants took place all day on October 5.  Among those in attendance were several key UMKC faculty and administrators. Attendees from all across Missouri received a warm address of welcome from UMKC Chancellor, Dr. C. Mauli Agrawal.  Dr. Agrawal was introduced by the UMKC Host and Climate Team member, Dr. Jimmy Adegoke.  He shared UMKC research areas of strength and highlighted successful interdisciplinary projects on campus.

Pictured L-R: UMKC Chancellor Dr. C. Mauli Agrawal, Missouri Project Director Dr. John Walker, Dr. Anthony Caruso, and Dr. Jimmy Adegoke

Dr. Anthony Caruso, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at UMKC, gave the Keynote Address.  Dr. Caruso is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering at UMKC.  Based on his own research at UMKC, Dr. Caruso discussed how each of the teams (Plant, Climate, Community, Cyberinfrastructure, and Education) could contribute expertise to urban agriculture, One Heath Intelligence (OHI), and counter UAV defense research. He spoke on multi-institutional large grant opportunities for Missouri Transect researchers, particularly related to OHI.  OHI revolves around mapping the environmental, dietary, psychological, and physiological factors that affect a single person and predicting the health and longevity of an individual based on these factors.  Funding to study OHI ranges from federal to private sources based on the type of individual being studied, such as adults, children, elderly, the disadvantaged, active service members, or veterans.

After a short networking break, UMKC faculty, Dr. ZhiQiang Chen, Associate Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering and Plant Team Seed Grant Recipient, and Dr. Lawrence Dreyfus, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development led a panel of presentations of innovative technologies being developed and implemented by Missouri Transect researchers.  The session was called “Frontiers of Science: AVs, Autonomous Systems and Big Data Technologies and their Applications.”  The five presenters are Co-Investigators on the Plant and Climate Teams: Dr. Mikhail Berezin, Associate Professor, Department of Radiology, Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL); Ali Shafiekhani, PhD student with Gui DeSouza, (Associate Professor) Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Missouri-Columbia (MU); Dr. Zhaozhang Yin, Associate Proffesor, Department of Computer Science, Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T); Dr. Tim Eichler, Research Scientist at MU and University of Arkansas, and Dr. Neil Fox, Professor, Atmospheric Science, MU.

Graduate student, Ali Shafiekhani, presents on Vinobot and Vinocular technology out of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MU

As a representative of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr. Timothy VanReken spoke in the afternoon about the NSF INFEWS program and other “Cross-Cutting NSF Activities.”  Dr. VanReken is a Program Officer for NSF INFEWS and a Program Director for NSF EPSCoR. He has been with NSF EPSCoR since 2014 and came to Missouri for the Missouri EPSCoR Site Visit in 2017.  In his presentation, Dr. VanReken gave an overview of the Food-Energy-Water Nexus and the evolution of the INFEWS program at NSF (Program Synopsis: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505241).  Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) is just one aspect of the NSF’s Ten Big Ideas (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/) and he encouraged EPSCoR researchers to look closely at the proposals and Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) coming out of these initiatives.  One DCL that he highlighted was the Growing Convergence Research (NSF 18-058) (https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18058/nsf18058.jsp) that aims to fund “research driven by a specific, compelling challenge inspired by deep scientific questions or pressing societal needs.”  The proposed research should be interdisciplinary and innovative.  He also highlighted Rules of Life (RoL) funding opportunities because they fit well with Missouri EPSCoR research (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/life.jsp).  RoL: Epigenetics (NSF 18-600, https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18600/nsf18600.htm), RoL: Forecasting and Emergence in Living Systems (NSF 18-031, https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18031/nsf18031.jsp), RoL: Building a Synthetic Cell (NSF 18-599, https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18599/nsf18599.htm) are all new initiatives. 

In the afternoon, four research and outreach highlights were given by students, Co-Investigators, and research scientists on the Missouri Transect Plant, Climate, Community and Education Teams. Lisa Groshong (Ph.D. Candidate, Community Team, MU) presented on “The community impact of climate change: Perceptions of state park visitors.” Abigail Aderonmu (Ph.D. Candidate, Climate Team, UMKC) gave her talk on “Missouri farmers’ perceptions of climate change and its impact on risk management practices.”  Dr. Nadia Shakoor (Senior Research Scientist and Tech Transfer Seed Grant Recipient, Plant Team, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center) talked about her research on “Natural diversity in maize drought stress response: Genome-wide association mapping of compositional traits and growth phenotypes.”  Dr. Sandra Arango-Caro (Education Programs Facilitator, Education Team, DDPSC) gave a presentation about her outreach education work, “MO DIRT: Promoting soil science in the state of Missouri.”

Graduate student, Abigail Aderonmu, presents her study of climate change and survey results of farmers' adaptation to climate change

After another networking break, students came to the front of the meeting room to give short “Poster Pop-Ups,” elevator pitches on their research to entice the audience to visit their research posters.  A poster session then took place and closed the annual meeting day of events.  At the end of the poster session, Dr. John Walker, Missouri EPSCoR Project Director, presented awards for the best posters and presentations, which were decided by a panel of judges.  The winning poster presenters where:

First Place: Carrie Merritt, UMKC, Undergrad (PI: Fengpeng Sun, Climate Team) “Midwestern Climate Modelling and Analysis: An Examination of Climate Patterns, Trends, and Sensitivities” (Poster 14)

Second Place: Shimin Tang, UMKC, PhD student (PI: ZhiQiang Chen, Plant Team) “Disaster-Scene Mechanics Understanding using Deep Learning” (Poster 21)

Third Place: Samuel Holden, MU, Undergrad (PI: Ruthie Angelovici, Plant Team) “Investigating the Genetic Architecture of the Seed Amino Acid Composition in Maize Using a Genome-wide Association Study (Poster 23)

Students give "pop-up" presentations of their posters before the poster session Samuel Holden describes his reserach to EAB member, Dr. Bonnie Bartel Carrie Merritt stands in front of her poster during the poster session

The Missouri Transect: Climate, Plants and Community is a statewide, collaborative research effort to understand how climate variability impacts plants and communities in Missouri. Researchers are collaborating with each other across disciplines and 10 institutions as part of this five-year project.  It is funded through the National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) program.

Podcast on Drought Features a Missouri Transect Plant Team Member

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Missouri is currently facing a drought alert and 30 counties are experiencing extreme drought this summer.  University of Missouri Chancellor, Dr. Alexander N. Cartwright, sat down for an Inside Mizzou podcast with several MU professors, including Dr. Felix Fritschi of the Missouri Transect Plant Team to discuss how drought is understood and felt by communities, how it is studied at MU and how research can help bring about innovation to combat drought and natural disasters. 
 

Missouri Transect Sponsors New Faculty Hires Across Missouri

Friday, October 6, 2017

New Faculty Hires

Missouri Transect has committed to providing a total of $800,000 to start-up packages to five faculty hires across the partner institutions. These faculty hires reflect both future needs of the project and gaps in specific areas, and are designed to strengthen the overall mission of Missouri Transect.  The final faculty hire will begin in January 2018 at Lincoln University in the field of ecology.  Learn more about the current new faculty hires that have provided expertise and innovation at Misssouri S&T, UMKC, University of Missouri, and the Danforth Plant Science Center:

Xiong Zhang, Missouri University of Science and Technology (MS&T)

Xiong Zhang is Associate Professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at MS&T in Rolla.  He moved to Rolla from the University of Cincinnati as Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, and Architectural Engineering, and Construction Management.  Dr. Zhang earned his Ph.D. and worked as a postdoctoral research associate in civil engineering at Texas A&M University.  He is an established member of the Missouri Transect Plant Team.  His research interests include remote sensing for geo-engineering applications, unsaturated soil mechanics, constitutive and numerical modeling of coupled climate-soil- structure systems, advanced laboratory testing techniques, geothermal and ground source heat pump systems, soil stabilization and ground improvement, and frozen ground engineering.

MS&T profile: https://care.mst.edu/people/faculty/profiles/zhang/

 

Fengpeng Sun, University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC)

Fengpeng Sun is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geosciences at UMKC.  As an established climate scientist, Dr. Fengpeng Sun brings to the Climate Team added expertise in high-resolution regional climate modeling. His research focus includes climate variability and change, regional climate modeling and downscaling, climate change impacts and sustainability, and geosciences data analysis and statistics. Dr. Sun received his Ph.D. in Earth System Science with a focus on Climate Dynamics from UC-Irvine. Before he joined UMKC in 2016, he was an assistant researcher in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UCLA, developing regional climate downscaling framework to construct historical climate and to project future climate change in the Greater Los Angeles Area and California’s Sierra Nevada.

Research website: http://s.web.umkc.edu/sunf/index.html

 

Malia Gehan, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (DDPSC)

Malia Gehan is an Assistant Member at DDPSC.  She joined the Plant Team at the inception of the Missouri Transect project in 2014 as a postdoctoral fellow at DDPSC.  She has since established her own lab, with start-up funds provided by Missouri Transect’s new faculty hire initiative.  Her research focus is on improving temperature stress resistance in plants using grasses and quinoa as model plant systems.  The Gehan Lab is conducting high-throughput phenotyping using plant imaging techniques to measure abiotic stress and identify traits that could resist temperature stress.  Dr. Gehan is also dedicated to outreach and has led computer science training for the Missouri Transect Computer Science Institute for Women (CSIW) in 2015 and other student and teacher workshops.

Danforth Center profile: https://www.danforthcenter.org/scientists-research/principal-investigators/malia-gehan

Lab website: http://www.gehan-lab.org/

 

Ruthie Angelovici, University of Missouri-Columbia (MU)

Ruthie Angelovici specializes in improving amino acid presence in staple crop seeds.  Her lab is working to understand the metabolic and genetic mechanisms driving the response of amino acids to environmental stress and other constraints.  Dr. Angelovici received her M.S. from Tel Aviv University, and her Ph.D. in Plant Sciences at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.  She continued on as a postdoctoral fellow at the Weizmann Instutite and then continued on as a postdoctoral fellow at Michigan State University from 2010-2015.  She became the first new faculty hire of Missouri Transect in 2015 when she joined the Division of Biological Sciences at MU and became a member of the Missouri Transect Plant Team.

Research profile: http://biology.missouri.edu/people/?person=165

Lab website: https://angelovici.biology.missouri.edu/

Plant biologists welcome their robot overlords

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Old-school areas of plant biology are getting tech upgrades that herald more detailed, faster data collection.

by Heidi Ledford

25 January 2017
 
A robot measures the crops in an agricultural field near Columbia, Missouri (credit: DeSouza/Fritschi/Shafiekhani/Suhas/University of Missouri)
 
As a postdoc, plant biologist Christopher Topp was not satisfied with the usual way of studying root development: growing plants on agar dishes and placing them on flatbed scanners to measure root lengths and angles. Instead, he would periodically stuff his car with plants in pots dripping with water and drive more than 600 kilometres from North Carolina to Georgia to image his specimens in 3D, using an X-ray machine in a physics lab.
 

Five years later, the idea of using detailed imaging to study plant form and function has caught on. The use of drones and robots is also on the rise as researchers pursue the ‘quantified plant’ — one in which each trait has been carefully and precisely measured from nearly every angle, from the length of its root hairs to the volatile chemicals it emits under duress. Such traits are known as an organism’s phenotype, and researchers are looking for faster and more comprehensive ways of characterizing it.

From 10 to 14 February, scientists will gather in Tucson, Arizona, to compare their methods. Some will describe drones that buzz over research plots armed with hi-tech cameras; others will discuss robots that lumber through fields bearing equipment to log each plant’s growth.

The hope is that such efforts will speed up plant breeding and basic research, uncovering new aspects of plant physiology that can determine whether a plant will thrive in the field. “Phenotype is infinite,” says Topp, who now works at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St Louis, Missouri. “The best we can do is capture an aspect of it — and we want to capture the most comprehensive aspect we can.”

The plummeting cost of DNA sequencing has made it much easier to find genes, but working out what they do remains a challenge, says plant biologist Ulrich Schurr of the Jülich Research Centre in Germany. “It is very easy now to sequence a lot of stuff,” he says. “But what was not developed with the same kind of speed was the analysis of the structure and function of plants.”

Plant breeders are also looking beyond the traits they used to focus on — such as yield and plant height — for faster ways to improve crops. “Those traits are useful but not enough,” says Gustavo Lobos, an ecophysiologist at the University of Talca in Chile. “To cope with what is happening with climate change and food security, some breeders want to be more efficient.” Researchers aiming to boost drought tolerance, for example, might look at detailed features of a plant’s root system, or at the arrangement of its leaves.

False-colour images of a bean-breeding trial captured by a camera mounted on a drone (credit: Lav R. Khot/Washington State University & Phillip N Miklas/USDA-ARS)

A need for speed

The needs of these researchers have bred an expanding crop of phenotyping facilities and projects. In 2015, the US Department of Energy announced a US$34-million project to generate the robotics, sensors and methods needed to characterize sorghum, a biofuel crop. Last year, the European Union launched a project to create a pan-European network of phenotyping facilities. And academic networks have sprung up around the globe as plant researchers attempt to standardize approaches and data analyses.

Large-scale phenotyping has long been used in industry, but was too expensive for academic researchers, says Fiona Goggin, who studies plant–insect interactions at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Now, the falling prices of cameras and drones, as well as the rise of the ‘maker’ movement that focuses on homemade apparatus, are enticing more academics to enter the field, she says.

At Washington State University in Pullman, biological engineer Sindhuja Sankaran’s lab is preparing to deploy drones carrying lidar, the laser equivalent of radar. The system will scan agricultural fields to gather data on plant height and the density of leaves and branches. Sankaran also uses sensors to measure the volatile chemicals that plants give off, particularly when they are under attack from insects or disease. She hopes eventually to mount the sensors on robots.

A drone loaded with thermal imaging equipment flies over grapevines (credit: Lav R. Khot/Washington State University)

Sankaran’s mechanical minions return from their field season with hundreds of gigabytes of raw data, and analysing the results keeps her team glued to computers for the better part of a year, she says. Many researchers do not realize the effort and computing savvy it takes to pick through piles of such data, says Edgar Spalding, a plant biologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “The pheno­typing community has rushed off to collect data and the computing is an afterthought.”

Standardizing the technology is another barrier, says Nathan Springer, a geneticist at the University of Minnesota in St Paul. The lack of equipment everyone can use means that some researchers have to rely on slower data-collection methods. Springer has been working with 45 research groups to characterize 1,000 varieties of maize (corn) grown in 20 different environments across the United States and Canada. The project has relied heavily on hand measurements rather than on drones and robots, he says.

Topp now has his own machine to collect computed tomography (CT) images, but processing samples is still a little slow for his liking. He speaks with reverence of a facility at the University of Nottingham, UK, that speeds up its scans by using robots to feed the plants through the CT machine. But he’s pleased that he no longer has to haul his soggy cargo across three states to take measurements. “It’s just endless, the number of possibilities.”

Nature 541, 445–446 (26 January 2017) | doi:10.1038/541445a

Missouri Transect Second Annual Meeting Bring Together Over 100 Attendees at Missouri S&T

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Dr. Cheryl B. Schrader gives opening remarks at the Missouri Transect Annual Meeting

The Missouri Transect Annual Meeting took place on September 14-15, 2016, at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla. The event brought together over 100 Missouri Transect participants and featured 48 research poster presentations.

Among those in attendance were several key Missouri S&T faculty and administrators. Attendees from all across Missouri received a warm address of welcome from Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader. Other Missouri S&T leaders also on hand to meet and interact with attendees included Dr. Robert Marley, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; Dr. Bruce McMillian, Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and Computing, and Dr. Stephen Roberts, Vice Provost and Dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Business.

Dr. Kruse presenting on GRFP opportunities. To access her presentation, visit https://missouriepscor.org/news/nsf-powerpoints-missouri-transect-annual-meeting

Dr. Rebecca Kruse, Program Director for the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings, gave a presentation about NSF funding opportunities. She focused specifically on grants available to early career investigators, including the Faculty Early-Career Development Program (CAREER) and Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

Dr. Rich Ferrieri with Brookhaven National Laboratory gave the meeting’s keynote address. He described use of a technique his lab developed to administer and track radiotracers and their metabolites in whole plants using positron emission tomography (PET). To show the power of this technique for precision phenotyping, he highlighted results from two projects aimed at identifying the physiological, metabolic, and genetic changes in plants in response to root herbivory. Ferrieri previously served on the External Advisory Board for the Plant Imaging Consortium, a joint project of the Missouri and Arkansas EPSCoR programs, and has an adjunct faculty appointment with MU’s Department of Chemistry and Research Reactor. His talk highlighted the growing emphasis and innovations in precision phenotyping in plant science research.

Attendees were also brought up to speed on the progress of the Missouri Transect goals and projects. Each of the five Missouri Transect teams (i.e., Plant, Climate, Community, Science Education and Outreach, and Cyberinfrastructure) highlighted its accomplishments over the past year as well as next steps for the years ahead. A poster presentation session also gave students and postdoctoral fellows an opportunity to share results from projects as well as for all participants to learn about the wide range of research and educational projects currently underway.

Among the poster presenters were Lisa Groshong from the University of Missouri, who shared results from a project using photo narratives as a means to document visitors and park managers’ perceptions of the effects of climate change to Missouri State Parks. New advanced phenotyping technologies also were the focus of several posters, including Tyler Bradford with Missouri State University whose poster showcased a drone fitted with a hyperspectral camera being used to monitor and assess vegetative stress of fields of plants exposed to different drought conditions. Among the educational projects highlighted were Mutant Millets, an inquiry-based learning and advanced science research in modern agriculture project for high schoolers launched by the Danforth Center, and a community resilience education and training project for kids 6-9 years of age designed by Lincoln University.

Lisa Groshong, graduate student on the Community Team, speaks with Dr. Sandra Arango-Caro about community surveys and citizen science projects. Tyler Bradford, graduate student working on the Missouri State University seed grant, speaks with Rahul Sukharia about his research at Missouri State Lincoln University undergradates and graduate students speak with their faculty mentor, Dr. David Heise, during a networking break

Dr. Joel Burken, Chair of the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department at Missouri S&T and co-Lead of the Missouri Transect Plant Team generously hosted the annual meeting.  The event was organized by Missouri S&T Distance and Continuing Education Department.  The Missouri Transect would like to thank Sue Turner, Director of Distance and Continuing Education and Dr. Burken for their efforts in making this event such a success.

The Missouri Transect: Climate, Plants and Community is a statewide, collaborative research effort to understand how climate variability impacts plants and communities in Missouri. Researchers are collaborating with each other across disciplines and 10 institutions as part of this five-year project.  It is funded through the National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) program.

Postdoc Position at Saint Louis University

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Remote Sensing and Earth System Modeling

The Center for Sustainability seeks a postdoctoral research fellow with expertise in remote sensing and earth system modeling whose experience and career goals connect to themes broadly defined as climate change and food security, drought and agricultural productivity. The position is anticipated to be a two year appointment. The individual selected should have strong technical remote sensing and modeling skills and the ability to bridge modeling and remote sensing to study climate change effects (drought, ozone) on Midwestern United States agriculture. The fellow is expected to have a strong desire and ability for publication and funded research proposal submission. The fellow will work on the Missouri Transect project with a team of trans-disciplinary researchers whose research overlaps in the areas of climate change, agricultural productivity, hyperspectral remote sensing, and/or regional water quality. Responsibilities include conducting remote sensing research, submit research proposals, and publish research results.

For more information, visit the job announcement here: https://jobs.slu.edu/postings/10162

Job Announcements at the Danforth Center

Monday, May 9, 2016

Dr. Malia Gehan’s lab at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is looking to fill two positions: a postdoctoral position and lab technician position. See the details for each position below. Applications should be sent to careers [at] danforthcenter [dot] org.

Lab Technician Opportunity:
The Gehan lab (http://www.gehan-lab.org/) is looking to add an enthusiastic and creative fulltime Laboratory Technician / Laboratory Manager (40 hours / week). The position would mainly focus on research, but also include some managerial tasks like ordering supplies. Therefore good organizational skills, the desire to work in a team, and the ability to communicate are essential for this position. An ideal applicants might have experience in media making, sterile techniques, and basic plant care.

The Gehan laboratory actively engages the community through outreach and education activities, and lab members are encouraged to participate in mentoring and teaching programs. The position is renewable upon satisfactory performance and availability of funds. Salary is commensurate with experience.

Candidates should provide a current CV, list of at least three contacts for recommendation. Please email all application materials to careers [at] danforthcenter [dot] org with the subject line ‘Gehan Lab’.

The international, inclusive, and interdisciplinary research environment at the Danforth Center (http://www.danforthcenter.org/) offers an excellent opportunity for career development. Salaries are competitive and commensurate with experience, and the Danforth Center offers an excellent benefits package including medical and 403B matching. The Danforth Center is currently ranked in the top ten of places to work in scientific research, and the St. Louis region is a rich environment to work and live.

Postdoctoral Opportunity:
The Gehan lab (http://www.gehan-lab.org/) is looking to add an enthusiastic and creative postdoctoral researcher to work on mechanisms of temperature stress in grasses and pseudocereals. Ideal candidates would have recently obtained a Ph.D. in biochemistry, cell, developmental, genetics, genomics, molecular biology, plant biology, plant physiology, or other related field. Candidates with interest or experience in highthroughput plant phenomics or bioinformatics are highly encouraged to apply.

The Gehan laboratory actively engages the community through outreach and education activities, and lab members are encouraged to participate in mentoring and teaching programs. The position is renewable upon satisfactory performance and availability of funds. Salary is commensurate with experience.

Candidates should provide a current CV, list of at least three contacts for recommendation, and a cover letter that includes a statement of past research experience, an outline of future research objectives, and career goals. Please email all application materials to careers [at] danforthcenter [dot] org with the subject line ‘Gehan Lab’.

The international, inclusive, and interdisciplinary research environment at the Danforth Center (http://www.danforthcenter.org/) offers an excellent opportunity for career development. Salaries are competitive and commensurate with experience, and the Danforth Center offers an excellent benefits package including medical and 403B matching. The Danforth Center is currently ranked in the top ten of places to work in scientific research, and the St. Louis region is a rich environment to work and live.

EPSCoR Imaging Workshop - April 13, 2017

Event date(s): Thursday, April 13, 2017
Location: Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 North Warson Road, Saint Louis, MO 63132


Date:                               April 13, 2017, 8:45 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Location:                       Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
                                            975 North Warson Road
                                            Saint Louis, MO 63132

 

The EPSCoR imaging workshop will be held April 13, 2017 at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in Saint Louis, MO. The purpose of the workshop is to link imaging and image processing to phenotyping and to share collective capacity on plant imaging technology and data. There will be presentations and work groups so that researchers can interact with each other’s data.  There will also be opportunities for imaging equipment demonstrations and presentations during breaks and lunch.   There is a $25.00 registration fee to attend this workshop.  

Click here for the workshop agenda.

Register here: 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/missouri-transect-imaging-workshop-tickets-32164138805

Hotel:

Click here for hotel accommodation at the Drury Inn and Suites-Creve Coeur located at 11980 Olive Blvd, Creve Coeur, MO 63141.  If you require shuttle service between the Drury and the Danforth Center, please request during check-in.

For questions, contact:

Kathleen Mackey, kmackey [at] danforthcenter [dot] org, 314-587-1203

Download Flyer:

Flyer

Researchers study crops with UAVs

Missouri S&T researcher studying how climate change affects Missouri fields

Published on September 22nd, 2016
By Missouri S&T
Article from Morning Ag Clips
 
Dr. Simone Silvestri, assistant professor of computer science at Missouri S&T, is using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor how crops respond to climate change and drought. (cs.mst.edu)

ROLLA, Mo. — As the Earth warms, changes in crop production can have profound effects on food scarcity and distribution, so a Missouri University of Science and Technology researcher and his team are studying how climate change affects Missouri fields.

Dr. Simone Silvestri, assistant professor of computer science at Missouri S&T, is using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor how crops respond to climate change and drought.

“There are benefits for producers and consumers,” Silvestri says. “Because of climate change, less water can mean lower production, which in turn drives up prices because of scarcity demand.”

Silvestri and his team are using UAVs to study a corn field in Columbia, Missouri, from first planting until harvest. The plants do not contain genetically modified organisms. The project helps map naturally occurring modifications of plants’ DNA to robust crops that weather dry conditions and ward off parasites.

In the study, he says, the researchers are proposing a framework to optimize the tradeoff between the monitoring accuracy provided by a UAV network and its cost. The goal is to achieve autonomy in flying a network of several UAVs while optimizing multiple performance metrics such as data accuracy and energy consumption.

The UAVs are equipped with several types of cameras, such as RGB (red, green and blue), hyperspectral and thermal, which allow the team to gather a variety of information on several crop features such as plant growth, health and water stress. Simone and his team define high-level missions though a web application, which include the field to be monitored, the altitude at which pictures should be taken and the frequency (for example, three times a day or once a week).

The framework provides efficient algorithms to distribute the monitoring missions to the UAVs and autonomously schedule their flight and data collection operations. An automated weather monitoring station also is integrated with the framework to ensure that it is safe to fly.

“Our role is to improve the scalability of data acquisition,” Silvestri says. “We need to have reliable data at a low cost.”

The work is funded through a National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) for $71,055.

See more at: https://www.morningagclips.com/researchers-study-crops-with-uavs/?utm_co...

Other recent articles about Dr. Silvestri's work can be found on these online news sources:

Seed World

PublicNow.com

Tags: Missouri S&T, Plant Team, Simone Silvestri, climate change, UAVs, crops, field research, article, outreach

Challenging the maximum rooting depth paradigm in grasslands and savannas

Author(s): Jesse B. Nippert and Ricardo M. Holdo
Date of Publication: January 2015
Abstract:

For many grassland and savanna ecosystems, water limitation is a key regulator of individual plant, community and ecosystem processes. Maximum rooting depth is commonly used to characterize the susceptibility of plant species to drought. This rests on the assumption that deep-rooted plant species would have a greater total volume of soil water to exploit and should be less susceptible to episodic changes in water availability.
Independent of maximum rooting depth, rooting strategies based on differences in biomass allocation with depth, uptake plasticity in relation to water availability and variation in water transport capability may all influence growth responses and susceptibility to drought. Many examples from grasslands and savannas reflect these rooting strategies among coexisting grass, forb and woody species.
Here, we use a dynamic model of plant water uptake and growth to show how changes in root distribution, functional plasticity and root hydraulic conductivity have the potential to influence aboveground biomass and competitive outcomes, even when maximum rooting depth remains constant. We also show theoretically that shifts in root distribution to surface soils without changes in maximum depth can potentially outweigh the benefits of increased maximum rooting depth.
Combining our current reliance on biogeographic descriptions of maximum rooting depth with insights about other, more subtle aspects of root structure and function are likely to improve our understanding of ecosystem responses to dynamic water limitation.

Citation: Nippert, J. B., Holdo, R. M. (2015), Challenging the maximum rooting depth paradigm in grasslands and savannas. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12390
Team(s): Plant Team

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