The answers to growing better crops are under your feet if you look. So says Steve Culman, soil fertility specialist at The Ohio State University, who is helping lead an upcoming workshop on how to test your soil. “Soil testing provides a window into the soil, revealing if a plant is likely to see the nutrients it needs to grow and thrive,” said Culman, based at the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences(CFAES). The workshop, called “Digging Into Soil Health: What Tests Can Tell Us About Our Soil,” will be Feb. 14 in Dayton. It’s part of the annual conference of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), which runs from Feb. 14–16.
Artificial light at night isn’t just a health problem for those of us sitting in bed scrolling through Instagram instead of hitting the sack — it hurts entire outdoor ecosystems. When the critters that live in and around streams and wetlands are settling into their nighttime routines, streetlights and other sources of illumination filter down through the trees and into their habitat, monkeying with the normal state of affairs, according to new research from The Ohio State University. “This is among the first studies to show that light at night has detrimental effects not just on individual organisms in the environment, but also on communities and ecosystems,” said Mažeika Sullivan, lead author of the study, which appears today (Dec. 19, 2018) in the journal Ecological Applications.
Ohio State News features new research by School of Environment and Natural Resources faculty member Nicole Sintov and post-doctoral researcher Lee White on utility customers and their decisions to continue to participate in energy-conservation plans. The research published this month in the journal Nature Energy finds that decisions to stay in time-of-use rate energy programs among utility customers in the southwestern United States is based more on perceptions about savings versus actual savings.
Read more about the study and findings in the Ohio State News story written by Misti Crane.
Some farm fields in northwest Ohio’s Maumee River watershed have more phosphorus than their crops can use. Called “elevated phosphorus fields,” such fields may be at higher risk of contributing to Lake Erie’s harmful algal blooms. That’s the premise of a new five-year, $5 million study that hopes to learn about those fields and lower that risk by creating new public-private partnerships.
The trick to boosting crops in drought-prone, food-insecure areas of West Africa could be a ubiquitous native shrub that persists in the toughest of growing conditions. Growing these shrubs side-by-side with the food crop millet increased millet production by more than 900 percent, according to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Environmental Science. A couple of decades have passed since Richard Dick, a soil scientist now at Ohio State, was traveling through rural Senegal in West Africa and noticed low-lying shrubs that seemed to be doing fine despite arid conditions that had wiped out most other vegetation in farmers’ fields. Read more about this study in the Ohio State News story written by Misti Crane.
Ohio State scientist, Robyn Wilson is part of a team that has developed a new tool to help guide wildlife conservation decision-making. The tool, Recovery Explorer addresses a critical challenge faced by conservation agencies - how to conserve and protect as many species as possible from extinction with limited funding and finite resources. The tool was developed in collaboration with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services (USFWS) scientists in a two-year project supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center.
The project will build off previous research the team has conducted on intraspecific variation in behavioral traits among two crayfish species, Faxonius rusticus and F. virillis (both abundant and broadly distributed invasive species).
Robyn Wilson, an associate professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) at The Ohio State University is the principal investigator of a newly funded project, “Regional Integrated Modeling of Farmer Adaptations to Guide Agroecosystem Management in a Changing Climate.” The $1.1 million investment by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture will elevate the capacity of decision makers in the eastern Corn Belt Region (ECBR) to adapt to an increasingly variable climate and the associated changes that this increased variability may bring. The research will identify how changing seasonal and extreme precipitation patterns induce changes in ECBR land use and management patterns due to adaptations by heterogeneous farmers and the broader human system. The results will help to guide more sustainable and resilient agroecosystems across the nation. Co-principal investigators and collaborators on the project are Kai Zhao of SENR, Elena Irwin, Yongyang Cai and Alan Randall of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics; Bryan Mark, Jason Cervenec and Aaron Wilson of Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center; and Greg LaBarge of OSU Extension.