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 allotted to agriculture, industry, recreation, wildlife, and drinking uses have sparked legal and policy battles. In addition, pesticides, pollution, invasive species, and 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 (NRT) program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to meet this need. As stated by the National Science Foundation, NRT programs are "dedicated to effective training of STEM graduate students in high priority interdisciplinary research areas, through the use of a comprehensive traineeship model that is innovative, evidence-based, and aligned with changing workforce and research needs."
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is using its NSF grant to train master’s and doctoral students in understanding resilience of agro-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, adaptive management, novel sensing technologies and modeling, 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.
The Nebraska NRT met with other NRTs from across the nation July 30-August 1 in Missoula, Montana, to discuss Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS). Professors, students, and program coordinators identified best practices, barriers, and opportunities and built networks to share knowledge.
The NRT program accepted five new students for the fall 2018 semester: Julie Fowler, master's student in the Department of Entomology/School of Natural Resources; Jessica Johnson, master's student in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering; Brittany Kirsch, master's student in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture; LaRee Oden, doctoral student in the School of Natural Resources; and Lyndsie Wszola, doctoral student in the School of Biological Sciences. Congratulations to these outstanding students!
Master's student Jazmin Castillo completed her summer research in Botswana, Africa, and presented to other NRT participants about water structures in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve and her most recent findings about hyenas.
Adaptive Management short course led by Lance Gunderson, visiting professor from Emory University
Start of classes for the fall semester
NRT annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Professors Craig Allen and Francisco Munoz-Arriola and students Conor Barnes and Daniel Rico will present at the conference.