Much of the world—including the United States—faces increasing conflict as Earth’s human population continues to grow but the supply of good, clean water decreases. Water shortages and the struggle to determine how much should be used for agriculture, industry, recreation, wildlife and drinking have sparked legal and policy battles. In addition, pesticides, pollution, invasive species, climate change and droughts threaten the availability of good, clean water. Resolving these complex issues requires the best scientific information and training of natural resource scientists, managers, engineers and policymakers.
The National Science Foundation established a National Research Traineeship program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to meet this need.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln NRT program trains master’s and doctoral students in understanding resilience of agricultural ecosystems, particularly the Platte River Basin in Nebraska. The NRT students come from multiple disciplines—the natural, computational, engineering, agricultural and social sciences—to study panarchy theory, novel sensing technologies and modeling, adaptive management and policy interventions. They strive to develop tools that can collect, synthesize and analyze data to inform decisions and policies for managing water resources. They hope to keep the Platte River Basin and other agro-ecosystems healthy and resilient for all who depend upon them now and for generations to come.
National Science Foundation workshop for INFEWS principal investigators
NRT master's students Julie Fowler and Alison Ludwig graduated on December 17, 2021. Fowler will continue with her doctoral education, and Ludwig will work in a researcher position at the university.
The NRT celebrated Christmas and the end of the year with a pizza party on December 6.
Julie Fowler defended her master's thesis, "Soil Microbial Community Dynamics in Response to Prescribed Extreme Burns of Juniperus Virginiana Invasive to the Loess Canyons of Nebraska," on November 30.
Alison Ludwig defended her master's thesis, "Restoration with Fire in Alternative Grassland-Juniper Woodland States: Studies on an Endangered Species, Plant Diversity, and Soil Properties," on November 29.
Dessalegn Ejigu Berhane, biology professor at Bahir Dar University in Ethiopia, spoke to the NRT on November 22 about his work with the endangered Wahlia Ibex.
NRT students attended the Resilience Alliance online symposium November 16-17.
Kevin Bales, professor of contemporary slavery and research director of The Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, spoke to the NRT about modern-day slavery and its connection to climate change on November 8.
NRT students Conor Barnes, Kate Bird, Alison Ludwig and Daniel Morales presented virtually at the 2021 Nebraska Natural Legacy Conference October 18-20.
Anthony Schutz, professor in the Nebraska College of Law, presented an overview of water law in Nebraska to the NRT on October 11.
A team headed by Craig Allen, NRT director, and Tala Awada, associate dean of the Agricultural Research Division, recently received a four-year, $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to establish the Network for Integrated Agricultural Resilience Research, the first collaboration of its kind in the field. The network unites the Long-Term Agroecosystem Research Network, the Agriculture Canada Living Labs Initiative and ResNet in Canada, and the international Resilience Alliance organization. The team will use an additional $150,000 of funding from the University of Nebraska’s Collaboration Initiative program to include partners in Mexico in the network. Allen spoke about the network in relation to sustainable food and water security at the university's Grand Challenges luncheon on September 28.
The university honored Craig Allen, NRT director, as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society, at the Laurels award ceremony September 21.
NRT students Kate Bird and Rubi Quiñones presented at the virtual Midwest Women in Science Conference September 18-19. Bird received an honorable mention for best talk for her presentation on the importance of scale in evaluating landscape connectivity.
NRT students Kate Bird and Daniel Morales took part in the IANR Graduate Student Science Communication Workshop September 1.
Lance Gunderson, international expert on adaptive management, taught the "Adaptive Management" short course at the Nebraska NRT in conjunction with an annual retreat and social activities at the Niobrara Preserve August 9-13.
Students Katia Carranza, Araceli Gomez Villegas and Miyauna Incarnato joined the NRT as master's students on August 1.
John Chick, principal scientist and field station director at the Illinois Natural History Survey, spoke July 29 to the NRT about river ecology.