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Department of Biology

Harnessing Chemical Ecology to Address Agricultural Pest and Pollinator Priorities

Working both on farms and in managed pollinator habitats, I will determine how local plant diversity and abundance and surrounding landscape use shape (a) bee diversity and (b) pollination service to crops. Each of these responses requires a substantial amount of work to assess and may be conducted in separate years.In addition, I will continue to examine the factors that contribute to pollinator health in agricultural contexts.

Surveying the Energy Crop Model Brachypodium Distachyon for Improved Thermo-Chemical and Biological Conversion Efficiency

Increased use of biomass fuels is a promising option for renewable fuels that could decrease our dependence on oil and reduce greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, we currently do not have clear knowledge about the plant traits that should be considered bioenergy traits and should be subjected to breeding and selection. We propose to use a grass energy model organism (Brachypodium distachyon), and treatment with two promising plant biomass transformation techniques (biological and thermochemical conversion) to examine the effect of natural diversity on biofuel production efficiency.

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