Dr. Theresa Nogeire
Ph.D. University of California Santa Barbara
I conduct research in landscape ecology and conservation biology. My current projects focus on scale and spatial distribution of food systems, and how different models of food production might improve conservation outcomes, social justice, and resilience of food supplies to climate change. My past research focused on how biodiversity persists in human-dominated landscapes, and especially how wide-ranging species use agricultural and grazing landscapes. I use GIS, spatially explicit modeling, and field data to answer questions about how private lands might be better managed to advance conservation goals while providing necessary resources for people.
Dr. Cynthia Kallenbach
Ph.D. University of New Hampshire
My research emphasis is in agroecosystem soil ecology and biogeochemistry. I explore the role of microbial communities in decomposition dynamics and rhizosphere processes, their influences on soil organic matter formation and stabilization, and their responses to agricultural management and global change. This is particularly important when we consider the expansion of crop production to meet rising global food and energy demands and subsequent impacts of agricultural management strategies on soil microbial communities and soil carbon and nutrient dynamics.
B.S. Biology, SUNY Geneseo
I have conducted research on the change in soil properties over time following the restoration of agricultural land to tallgrass prairie, and the role of plants in mediating belowground nutrient cycling in organic production systems. I am currently examining the socioeconomic, political, and environmental barriers to dryland cropping system intensification, and the effects of intensification on soil physical and biological properties related to water capture and drought tolerance. I am also interested in broader issues in the food system such as social justice and public health.
B.S. Soil and Crop Sciences, Colorado State University
B.A. Humanities, St Mary-of-the-Woods College, IN
Outside where the sun does boil
All day in the field we shall toil
We play in the dirt
And try not to get burnt
But we do it ’cause we love the soil
B.S. Wildlife Biology, Colorado State University
The interconnections of the natural environment have fascinated me since childhood. This fascination lead me to the Wildlife Biology program at Colorado State University. After graduation I got a job in a local Canola breeding program. I was always thinking I would return to natural resources and ecology, but after spending time in agriculture and agribusiness I found that working in agriculture would allow me to have a larger impact on the environment than working in natural resource management. I started looking for ways to look at agriculture as part of our ecosystem and how our crops can be raised more sustainably. The soil is the foundation of agriculture and a never ending supply of fascinating questions to ask.
M.S. Soil Science, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
I have been working in the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA) of Uruguay since July 2010, and my research has focused mainly on soil fertility and plant nutrition. I am very interested in nutrient and carbon dynamics in the soil-plant system because I believe this will allow me to work in crop nutrition as well as integrating considerations of environmental impact and sustainability to the agronomic management of agricultural soils. During my PhD studies I will focus on soil quality changes during the transition from irrigated to dryland cropping systems in the Ogallala Aquifer Region. Due to declining levels of available water, conversion from irrigated to dryland cropping systems is increasing in some areas of the Ogallala Aquifer Region, one of the most important aquifers in the world. In general, irrigated cropping systems yield more and have more soil organic carbon than dryland cropping systems. However, little is known about the evolution of soil quality after conversion from irrigation to dryland and the effect of soil quality on crop production during this transition. Results will help to understand the interaction between water management, soil health and crop production and help to identify the best cropping system management practices to improve water use efficiency.
B.S. International Agriculture & Rural Development, Cornell University
Prior to arriving at CSU, I worked as a research associate with the University of California Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center in northern California studying the invasive annual grass Taeniatherum caput-medusae in Californian rangelands. For the last two years I researched enteric methane and agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the Environmental Defense Fund. I am currently researching soil carbon and GHG emissions in organic agriculture production systems. We are particularly focused on three key organic-oriented practices: cover crops, manure and organic amendments, and plant-soil impacts of management intensive grazing. Results of this work will be integrated into the COMET-Farm and Cool Farm Tool to improve GHG decision-support for farmers.
Dr. Andrew Robertson
Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Francesca Cotrufo, CSU
Ph.D. Aberdeen University
The complexity of ecosystems first stirred my interest while working for Shell in 2004 before I began a BSc and MSc at Edinburgh University in Environmental Science and Environmental Sustainability, respectively. To develop this interest into a career I pursued a PhD at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in collaboration with Shell and Aberdeen University. My PhD focussed on the role of Miscanthus in controlling ecosystem carbon dynamics and, in particular, the stability and longevity of soil carbon. This research aimed to integrate measurements into models to better simulate carbon budgets under bioenergy systems. Now, I aim to expand this research into a range of agricultural systems across the Great Plains while focussing on the carbon, nitrogen and hydrological cycles, and from a predominantly modelling perspective.
As the detrimental impacts of global climate change strengthen, so too does our understanding of environmental systems and best management practices to stave off those impacts of climate change. All at once, this is a scary and exciting time for science, and predictions for our future depend on optimism, knowledge and implementation strategies. Personally, I’m optimistic that things are still within our control and a key reason for believing this is derived from my work with simulating carbon, nitrogen and hydrological cycles through systems models. Using these models it is clear to see that there are a number of scenarios that lead to beneficial outcomes. None of these scenarios come without compromise but they don’t require us to plant trees on every bit of land or stop driving cars tomorrow; there are sustainable and practical win-win situations. With this in mind, my focus while working at CSU is to further our understanding of agricultural ecosystems and suggest management practices that improve soil quality and crop yields, while limiting environmental damage. Globally, agricultural land accounts for more than 10% of the Earth’s surface area and therefore we have a prime opportunity to tackle global environmental issues by managing this land sustainably.