2006 Seed Grant Awards

In the 2006 fiscal year, CGRER awarded six seed grants totaling $145,092.

Ecological Intensification of the Industrial Bioeconomy: Sustainable Biofuel Production through the Integration of Perennial Crops with Advanced Biomass Conversion Technologies

Robert Anex considered the use of native perennial grasses as biofuels for bioenergy. The researcher evaluated the possibility of recovering key plant nutrients from such grass crops, and recycling these nutrients onto croplands. Such recycling of recovered nutrients could maintain highly productive farmland while reducing the use and impact of chemical fertilizers, improving energy use efficiency, and creating more sustainable agricultural systems.

A Workshop to Assess Climate-Change Effects on the Ice Regimes of Northern Rivers

Anecdotal information suggests that global climate change is altering the ice regimes of many northern rivers, and is increasing ice jam severity. This grant, awarded to Robert Ettema and Allen Bradley, funded a 2006-07 workshop involving leading researchers from Russia, Canada, and the U.S. These experts produced a substantial proposal for an international study of climate change impacts on ice regimes of northern rivers.

Assessing the Ecotoxicology of Nanomaterials and Identifying Biomarkers in Bacteria Exposed to Nanomaterials

Nanomaterials are increasingly being used in commercial products and environmental applications. Jiasong Fang assessed the environmental risks and ecotoxicology of such extremely small particles. In particular, the research elucidated nanomaterials’ stress on bacteria, determined imposed shifts in microbial communities, and identified reliable biomarkers for assessing nanomaterial’s effects.

Equity in Relief: Urban Water-supply and Recovery from Tsunami during Suspended Civil War in Sri Lanka

Paul Greenough and Harish Naraindas examined the equity of relief distribution in three Sri Lankan cities following the December 2004 tsunami. Post-storm restoration of drinking water was studied to determine if aid was allocated according to need or, as alleged by some, according to politics. Field studies were followed by a workshop in Iowa City, where funding proposals for more extensive research were developed.

Real-time, Personal Sampling for Airborne Nanoparticles

Although short-term exposure to nanoparticles from traffic may be associated with cardiac sudden death, current sampling methods hamper efforts to directly assess this relationship. Thomas Peters developed a novel monitor to assess fluctuations in personal exposure to nanoparticles. The research may impact future regulation of such extremely small particles.

Using the Past to Create a Sustainable Future for Agriculture: The Impact of Federal Farm Policy on Environmental and Social Landscape Change in Iowa

The twentieth-century intensification of rowcropping has created a uniform landscape lacking in environmental and socioeconomic resilience. This interdisciplinary project, conducted by Lisa Schulte and Paul Brown, detailed how U.S. federal farm policies have socially and ecologically affected three rural Iowa townships between 1933 and 2002. The resulting historic insights helped create a vision of agricultural and rural sustainability, which may feed into revisions of federal farm policy.


Sunday, January 1, 2006