At the GLBRC, sustainability researchers are exploring complex issues in agricultural and industrial systems. Research focuses on understanding the attributes and mechanisms responsible for the environmental sustainability of biofuel production systems, such as environmental impacts — many of which may be positive — and socioeconomic factors including incentives and policy options
Scientific Director, Sustainability Lead
A crop and soil scientist and ecosystem ecologist, Robertson focuses much of his research on the role that agriculture plays in greenhouse gas dynamics, and he is internationally known for his expertise in this area. Robertson has been the director...
Jackson’s program focuses on structure and function of managed, semi-natural and natural grassland ecosystems. Research in Jackson’s grassland ecology lab spans many levels of ecological organization, from grass identification at the DNA level to landscape diversity effects on alternative biofuels...
GLBRC Sustainability research ranges from the microbial community level to regional modeling, and researchers conduct fieldwork at different project sites to reflect this diversity of scale. Small plots at Kellogg Biological Station in Michigan and the Arlington Agricultural Research Station in Wisconsin provide locations for measurement-intensive experiments, while investigators work in larger scale-up fields to collect data on carbon balances and biogeochemical processes. Finally, researchers pursue ecosystem-level biodiversity questions across landscapes, including marginal lands, in central Michigan and Wisconsin.
Specific sustainability projects include:
- Novel biofuel production systems
- Microbial-plant interactions for improved biofuel production
- Biogeochemical responses
- Biodiversity responses
- Economic responses
- Modeling, design and testing of drop-in fuels
- Process synthesis and technoeconomic evaluation for biomass-to-fuels technologies.
Molecular cloning of the tomato Hairless gene implicates actin dynamics in trichome-mediated defense and mechanical properties of stem tissue
Nitrogen fertilization effects on productivity and nitrogen loss in three grass-based perennial bioenergy cropping systems
Nitrogen (N) fertilization can greatly improve plant productivity but needs to be carefully managed to avoid harmful environmental impacts. Nutrient management guidelines aimed at reducing harmful forms of N loss such as nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions and nitrate (NO3-) leaching have been tailored for many cropping systems. The developing bioenergy industry is likely to make use of novel cropping systems, such as polycultures of perennial species, for which we have limited nutrient management experience. We studied how a switchgrass (
Quantitative analysis of lignin monomers by a thioacidolysis method tailored for higher-throughput analysis