2011 Seed Grant Awards

2011 CGRER seed grants - $149,879

Are Solitary Bee Communities Collapsing?  An Empirical Test for Declines and the Search for Colony Collapse Viruses in Solitary Bees – Stephen D. Hendrix and Harsha Doddapaneni, Department of Biology, University of Iowa

Considerable attention has focused on the decline in honey bees (Apis mellifera) and the devastating effects that loss of this species may have on the pollination of numerous, important crop species.  Often ignored, however, is that there are 20,000 species of wild, solitary bees that also provide valuable pollinator services and who are also likely threatened both locally and globally.  This study focuses on these important solitary bees and has two major goals.  First, it will provide the only statistically valid test of hypothesized loss of diversity in solitary bee communities.  Second, it will provide the first survey of wild bee species west of the Mississippi for viruses recently implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  Taken together our study will gather invaluable data on the health of solitary bee communities in Iowa, providing benchmark measurements of pollinator sustainability against which to judge future assessments.  $29, 982

Development of Quantification Standards and Methods to Evaluate Agriculturally-Derived Organic Aerosol – Elizabeth Stone and David Wiemer, Department of Chemistry, University of Iowa

Thorough understanding of atmospheric aerosol composition and sources is critical to understanding how aerosols affect global climate.  A key source of uncertainty lies within secondary organic aerosol (SOA) that forms through the atmospheric oxidation of gaseous precursors.  A major hindrance in the study of SOA has been the lack of authentic standards for marker compounds that prevents accurate quantification of known products.  The proposed research would address this need through the collaboration of Dr. Stone and Dr. Wiemer that would integrate atmospheric, analytical, and organic chemistry and develop standards and methods for improved SOA quantification.  Our initial efforts target biogenic precursor gases abundant in agricultural environments that are hypothesized to be an important source of SOA in the Midwestern United States.  Measurements of SOA markers would be made in Eastern Iowa to assess the relative importance of natural, agricultural, and anthropogenic precursors to organic aerosol using statistical source apportionment models.  $30,000

Exploring Alternatives to the “Typical Meteorological Year” for Incorporating Climate Change into Building Design – Eugene S. Takle and Shannon L.Rabideau, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed the Typical Meteorological Year (TMY) for use in building design, with primary focus on solar energy building design.  TMY provides locally specific estimates for 1100 locations throughout the U.S. of typical meteorological conditions over the course of a year.  It does not consider possible extreme conditions but provides what is considered the average conditions as determined by examining individual months from a 30-year climate record.  We propose to work with NREL, ASHRAE, and key people in the design and construction fields to evaluate alternatives to the use of the TMY in determining building response and smart management options, for efficient operation in current and future climate conditions.  Of special note is the possibility of forming a “future TMY” from future scenario climates being developed under the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP), in which ISU plays a central role.  $30,000

Quantifying Urban Headwater Stream Flow and Water Quality Dynamics to Develop Predictions for Urbanization and Climate Change Scenarios in Central Iowa – Janette R. Thompson, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University

We propose to conduct a study of 20 urban watersheds in the Des Moines metropolitan area to quantify land cover characteristics, and stream flow and pollutant loading associated with current precipitation inputs.  Relationships among these characteristics will be examined and used to calibrate existing hydrological models.  This work will provide essential data to support a proposal to the National Science Foundation Coupled Natural and Human Systems program to collect additional empirical data and to validate and use the hydrological models to predict responses to changes in precipitation input that are likely in the future, and to support collaborative modeling with local municipal officials and watershed residents.  As a stand-alone project, the proposed CGRER work will generate critical information on stream response to a wide range of urban conditions to be used in dialog with local municipal officials about patterns and forms of future urban development that mitigate impacts to streams.  $29,897

Nitrogen Load Reduction Evaluation for the Huai River:  Balance Pressures from Agricultural Intensification, Industrialization and Climate Change – You-Kuan Zhang, Department of Geoscience, University of Iowa, and Keith Schilling, Iowa Geological Survey

The Huai River is one of the largest rivers in China. As a major agricultural region, the Huai River basin (HRB) yields 16.5% of China’s total grain with only 3% of its total land.  Despite its current agricultural productivity, in July 2008, China’s State Council set the goal to increase the grain production of HRB by 32.5% in 2020.  However, like many regions of China, land use/land cover (LU/LC) change is rapidly occurring as urbanization is expanding into rural areas.  Increasing urbanization and industrialization result in an increase in point source loads into the river whereas the mandate to increase agricultural productivity will result in increasing nonpoint source loads from excessive application of manures and fertilizers.  Clearly, competing LU/LC interests and economic drivers in HRB are not sustainable, but similar issues apply to many developing countries.  In this study, we propose to develop a watershed model to quantify the current pollutant loading from point and nonpoint sources in the HRB and develop load reduction strategies centered on sustainable LU/LC practices that balance demand for agricultural productivity with increasing industrialization.  Our strategies will be evaluated against a backdrop of climate change to test their long-term sustainability.  30,000


Saturday, January 1, 2011