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K-State leading $6M study into soil moisture preservation

K-State leading $6M study into soil moisture preservation

K-State leading $6M study into soil moisture preservation


A Kansas State University researcher was selected for a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to lead a study for preserving soil moisture in the face of drought and climate change.Melanie Derby is associate professor in the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering K-State. According to the National Science Foundation, Derby will receive a nearly $3 million grant as part of a $6 million cooperative award to study the potential for microbially active soil amendments in order to provide long-term solutions for conserving moisture and increasing nutrient availability for crops stressed by climate change.Derby will lead the four-year interdisciplinary project, “Supporting rural livelihoods in the water-stressed Central High Plains: Microbial innovations for climate-resilient agriculture (MICRA),” alongside teams from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Langston University.The study will bring together engineers, mathematicians, soil and agricultural scientists, social scientists and agricultural economists that will focus on integrating science, engineering and social science to understand microbially active soil amendments, irrigators’ perceptions of them, and the impacts of climate change and drought on people and the rural economy. The team will also train graduate and undergraduate students to conduct interdisciplinary research of their own. The project is funded through the NSF’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR.

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