Missouri has been awarded Track 1 and Track 2 EPSCoR funding from the National Science Foundation. To understand a little more about these two incredible opportunities for science and education development in Missouri, below are abstracts for each program:
Missouri Transect: Climate, Plants Community
The proposed project will enhance research in the transect from climate to plants to community. These interconnected areas build on research strengths in Missouri and, more importantly, establish a platform for infrastructure investments to fill critical needs. As evidenced by the severe drought of 2012 that afflicted Missouri and other areas of the United States, water availability is the most significant environmental limitation on plants, directly and acutely affecting productivity and consequently the broader society. Climate change will cause periods of drought to become progressively more severe and frequent, which will exacerbate plant water usage and deplete soil moisture, resulting in greater risk of future drought and increased economic and societal impacts.
The Missouri Transect project builds on established capabilities in plant sciences, remote sensing and imaging, atmospheric and environmental sciences, economics approaches, and the social sciences to better understand and predict the responses of plants and society to climate change.
Infrastructure investments in people, technology, approaches, and ideas will enable us to better understand, model, and predict (1) short- and long-term trends in temperature and water availability in the state; (2) the impact of these trends on the productivity of our state’s native flora and agricultural crops; and (3) how different stakeholder communities are likely to respond to these changes. In addition to advancing our research capabilities, the proposed research infrastructure investments will enhance our educational efforts to develop and diversify Missouri’s STEM workforce.
Collaborative Research on Plant Stress Response Through Innovations in
Phenomics and Molecular Imaging Technologies
This Arkansas and Missouri Plant Bioimaging Consortium will bring together multiple disciplines (synthetic chemistry, radiochemistry, imaging science, plant biology, bioengineering, computational biology and informatics) and will enable researchers to adapt food, fiber, and fuel crops to meet the challenges of a changing climate and a growing world population. Research conducted will address the Grand Challenge of understanding the phenotypic consequences of genotypic variation.
Multi-disciplinary teams will work collaboratively on four experimental models (theme projects) to generate new discoveries in plant stress biology and develop bioimaging tools essential to the plant science community. The overarching research theme is to understand how short-term and long-range climate change impacts the resilience and productivity of crop and natural plant ecosystems.
This project will significantly benefit the agriculture-based economies of Arkansas and Missouri. It will generate new tools and discoveries to reduce crop losses to stresses such as drought, salinity, insects and diseases, which together are the single greatest limitation on agricultural yields. Moreover, it will promote diverse and inclusive workforce development practices while training students and creating linkages with private industry through internships and joint seminar series. Lastly, the consortium will promote STEM education by working with industry to develop a new competency model for primary and undergraduate education in emerging biology fields (i.e. bioimaging).