Landscapes are all around us, from cities to croplands and rangelands to forests. Agricultural landscapes provide food, water, wildlife habitat, carbon storage, and so much more. To ensure that agricultural landscapes continue providing essential services in the face of stressors and shocks, we must understand and manage their resilience. Participants in this REU will conduct resilience-focused research that addresses challenges in working agricultural landscapes. Along the way, participants will: (1) gain experience working in interdisciplinary teams, (2) learn and apply core concepts from resilience science, and (3) boost their knowledge of and preparedness for opportunities in graduate school. Interdisciplinary research projects will provide opportunities to engage with graduate students and professors from various fields with a common interest in resilient landscape systems, and group field trips will familiarize participants with a variety of cropland- and rangeland-dominated landscapes.
Competitive stipend: $5,000
Suite-style room and meal plan
Travel expenses to and from Lincoln
Campus parking and/or bus pass
Full access to the Campus Recreation Center and campus library system
Collaborative Management for Ecological Resilience
This team will use ecological restoration and management data to better understand how ecological systems are structured and how people might work together to manage them for resilience. This could involve examining relationships between floral resources and native bees in prairie restorations, using citizen science data to evaluate bat responses to invasive species management in oak woodlands, and working with landowners to consider the effects of alternative scenarios of future landscape change.
Resilience Analytics for Adaptive Resource Management
This team will work with scientists and managers to apply geospatial and predictive climate and phenotype analytics and software to the development of strategies for adaptive resource management. This could involve the redesigning of existing infrastructure for increased resilience to extreme events and more reliable delivery of ecosystem services to people.
This team will use remote sensing and spatial analytics to track changes in agricultural and grassland areas over time, to evaluate the ecological effects of disturbances and management, and to conduct assessments of where future changes may occur. Such information could be used for more proactive management that focuses on building the resilience of working landscape systems to approaching disturbances.
Analytical Investigations of Plant Structure–Function–Resilience Relationships
This team will use computer programming, simulations, agent-based modeling, and algorithms to increase understanding of relationships between plant structure, function, and resilience. For example, differences in plant water uptake under different root system architectures could affect plant resilience to drought-related disturbance, so simulating how actors interact with one another and the environment can help scientists observe emergent patterns or behaviors of the overall system.
Dr. Dan Uden
School of Natural Resources; Department of Agronomy and Horticulture
Citizen Science, Scenario Planning, and Landscape Resilience
This team will link scenario planning and citizen science to understand the collective responses of people to landscape change, as well as the impacts of landscape change and management on the resilience of ecological species and communities of concern. For instance, bats are both widely threatened and poorly understood, but recent citizen science efforts could provide monitoring data for evaluating how bat populations respond to landscape change and management.