How does soil health differ between perennial and annual cropping systems across contrasting nitrogen fertilization treatments? [XP2017-05]

Project Description: 

This research project will examine plant-soil feedbacks on soil carbon by determining the allocation of plant-derived carbon to plant, soil and microbial pools across cropping systems, nitrogen fertilization inputs, and site fertility. The results will be used to inform stakeholders through multiple outlets and extant programming, and improve agro-ecosystem models used by the scientific community to understand ecosystem function.

The project objectives include:

  • Determine how carbon is allocated in perennial vs. annual plants and their below-ground network
  • Explore how soil microbial biomass and function differ between soils and crop type
  • Examine whether additional nitrogen inputs affect carbon allocation within the plant and in the soil.

The project will take place at two research site: the Long-term Assessment of Miscanthus Productivity Study (LAMPS), and the Comparison of Biofuel Systems (COBS) research site.



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Lead Investigator: 
Ashley Keiser
Lead Investigator Bio: 

Ashley Keiser is a Post-doctorate Fellow in the ISU department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology and has been with the department since 2014. Before coming to Iowa State, Keiser was an ecologist with Blasland, Bouch & Lee (now ARCADIS) Environmental Consultants in Annapolis, Maryland. She earned a bachelor of science degree in environmental conservation from the University of New Hampshire. She earned both a master's and Ph.D. in ecosytem ecology from Yale University. 


Co Investigators: 

Emily Heaton, Marshall McDaniel, Andy VanLoocke, Michael Thompson, ISU Department of Agronomy
Ingrid Gronstal Anderson, University of Iowa Utilities and Energy Management