Eight UNL students are working on research designed to contribute to a more secure world with water and food. The projects are funded through grants from the University of Nebraska’s Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute.
The researchers include two undergraduates, Joe Arneson and Mariah Lundgren; four graduate students, Sarah Blecha, Jim Higgins, William Avery and Kate Boone; and two postdoctorate fellows, Lorena Castro Garcia and Rachindra Mawalagedara. The projects range from developing drought-tolerant wheat to deploying unmanned aerial vehicles for water sampling.
Profiles of the students’ research are available on the institute’s website.
The projects are part of a first year program that pairs Water for Food faculty fellows from across the University of Nebraska system with student researchers. The $310,000 grants program supports the interdisciplinary research of the faculty fellows while providing hands-on research experience to the students. The funding covers two postdoctoral fellows and nine graduate and undergraduate student research assistantships from July 1, 2014, until June 30, 2015.
“Education is an essential part of the institute’s mission,” director of research Christopher Neale said. “We are excited to roll out our student support program and help faculty and their students pursue projects that will advance the University of Nebraska’s efforts to provide solutions for global water and food security.”
The UNL students’ project titles and their faculty fellows are:
- William Avery — ”Improving Soil Moisture Monitoring in Agricultural Systems Using Hydrogeophysics,” with Trenton Franz, assistant professor, natural resources
- Joseph Arneson and Mariah Lundgren — ”Platte Basin Time Lapse Project,” with Michael Farrell, assistant professor of practice, agricultural leadership, education and communication
- Sarah Blecha — ”Improving Drought Tolerance of Wheat Through More Adaptive Roots,” with Harkamal Walia, assistant professor, agronomy and horticulture
- Kate Boone — “Revealing the Links Between Crop Production, Irrigation and Inter-annual Changes in Groundwater Levels in Nebraska,” with Patricio Grassini, assistant professor, agronomy and horticulture
- Lorena Castro García — “Software Development for Water and Agriculture-Resources Data and Information Access: The Case of the Water for Food Interoperability System,” with Francisco Muñoz-Arriola, assistant professor, biological systems engineering and natural resources
- Jim Higgins — ”Enabling Sub-Surface Aerial Water Sampling for Water Management and Quality Analysis,” with Carrick Detweiler, assistant professor, computer science and engineering
- Rachindra Mawalagedara — “Leveraging DWFI Resources to Address Water for Agriculture in Latin America under a Changing Climate,” with Robert Oglesby, professor, earth and atmospheric sciences
The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska was founded in 2010 to address the global challenge of achieving food security with less stress on water resources through improved water management in agricultural and food systems. The institute ensures a secure world regarding water and food while maintaining the use of water for other human and environmental needs.
For more information, go to http://waterforfood.nebraska.edu/.