Research Projects

Airlift Environmental building innovative technology for groundwater cleanup

A Lincoln-based startup company that specializes in innovative, research-based ways of removing industrial solvents and petroleum-based pollutants from groundwater is taking off. AirLift Environmental is an outgrowth of scientific research, including by Steve Comfort, SNR soil and water chemist.
A Lincoln-based startup company that specializes in innovative, research-based ways of removing industrial solvents and petroleum-based pollutants from groundwater is taking off. AirLift Environmental is an outgrowth of scientific research, including by Steve Comfort, SNR soil and water chemist. Continue the Story

Grant will fund creation of cloud-based program for survey data

A grant awarded to a group of 10 Natural Resources Districts and Conservation and Survey Division at University of Nebraska-Lincoln will fund the creation of a cloud-based software program, Nebraska GeoCloud, that will make available all airborne electromagnetic survey data for Nebraska.
A grant awarded to a group of 10 Natural Resources Districts and Conservation and Survey Division at University of Nebraska-Lincoln will fund the creation of a cloud-based software program, Nebraska GeoCloud, that will make available all airborne electromagnetic survey data for Nebraska. Continue the Story

Program will help state's science teachers with water system literacy

A new program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will provide the state's science teachers new approaches to teaching about water.
A new program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will provide the state's science teachers new approaches to teaching about water. Continue the Story

U2U program wrapping up, brought climate tools to farmers

Researchers at nine universities, including University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are celebrating the completion of a six-year, $5 million program that reinvented the way climate scientists connect with farmers.
Researchers at nine universities, including University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are celebrating the completion of a six-year, $5 million program that reinvented the way climate scientists connect with farmers. Continue the Story

New bird species estimate soars to 18,000

Twice as many bird species exist in the world than are currently recognized, according to a new study by Nebraska biologist Robert Zink and his colleagues.
Twice as many bird species exist in the world than are currently recognized, according to a new study by Nebraska biologist Robert Zink and his colleagues. Continue the Story

SNR graduate and Water Sciences Lab research on amphetamines draws attention

It was SNR master's graduate Alexis Paspalof's idea to study amphetamines in waterways, and it was SNR's Water Sciences Laboratory, directed by Dan Snow, that analyzed samples. What they thought would be an insignificant project turned out not to be.
It was SNR master's graduate Alexis Paspalof's idea to study amphetamines in waterways, and it was SNR's Water Sciences Laboratory, directed by Dan Snow, that analyzed samples. What they thought would be an insignificant project turned out not to be. Continue the Story

Detecting seasonal changes in evergreens provide new tool in climate change research

Though not apparent to the naked eye, evergreen conifers actually do go dormant in the winter. Researchers recently visualized this dormancy and a spring awakening using newly available satellite data. The discovery could improve scientists' understanding of how conifer photosynthetic activity is changing in a warming climate, and could provide a way to assess evergreen forests' role in the global carbon budget, which so far has been elusive.
Though not apparent to the naked eye, evergreen conifers actually do go dormant in the winter. Researchers recently visualized this dormancy and a spring awakening using newly available satellite data. The discovery could improve scientists' understanding of how conifer photosynthetic activity is changing in a warming climate, and could provide a way to assess evergreen forests' role in the global carbon budget, which so far has been elusive. Continue the Story

Wszola researching how we hunt

On a clear, chilly morning this past October, the distant cackle of pheasants greeted hunters arriving at CRP fields, signaling the return of upland bird season in Nebraska. They may also have seen Lyndsie Wszola, a master's student in the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Nebraska who is studying how pheasant hunters and pheasants interact in the fields they share.
On a clear, chilly morning this past October, the distant cackle of pheasants greeted hunters arriving at CRP fields, signaling the return of upland bird season in Nebraska. They may also have seen Lyndsie Wszola, a master's student in the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Nebraska who is studying how pheasant hunters and pheasants interact in the fields they share. Continue the Story

SNR on team building web tool to help officials make drought-related decisions

A grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will help a University of Nebraska-Lincoln research team create a web-based tool to aid policymakers in making drought-related decisions.
A grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will help a University of Nebraska-Lincoln research team create a web-based tool to aid policymakers in making drought-related decisions. Continue the Story

Shulski, Umphlett earn grant to aid cities in planning for extreme weather impacts

Climatologists Martha Shulski and Natalie Umphlett recently were awarded just over $200,000 to analyze climate data for cities planning for extreme and damaging weather events.

The grant from the NOAA Climate Program Office's Sectoral Applications Research Program will run through June 2018 and will focus on determining critical precipitation levels for municipal water resource management. It will target 10 cities in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, four of the lower Missouri River Basin states.
Climatologists Martha Shulski and Natalie Umphlett recently were awarded just over $200,000 to analyze climate data for cities planning for extreme and damaging weather events. The grant from the NOAA Climate Program Office's Sectoral Applications Research Program will run through June 2018 and will focus on determining critical precipitation levels for municipal water resource management. It will target 10 cities in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, four of the lower Missouri River Basin states. Continue the Story

Large River Ecology

Several concurrent projects investigating the ecology of large rivers ranging from the population dynamics, habitat use and seasonal movements of riverine species to the structure and movement of habitat (e.g., large woody debris) in response to abiotic factors. Specfic field data collections are ongoing or recently completed in the Missouri River, Platte River, and Niobrara River in Nebraska.
Several concurrent projects investigating the ecology of large rivers ranging from the population dynamics, habitat use and seasonal movements of riverine species to the structure and movement of habitat (e.g., large woody debris) in response to abiotic factors. Specfic field data collections are ongoing or recently completed in the Missouri River, Platte River, and Niobrara River in Nebraska. Continue the Story

Nebraska Canid Project

Swift fox once occupied two-thirds of Nebraska, but now may occupy as little as 20% of their historic range. UNL, Chadron State College, government agencys and Nebraska landowners began a five-year project to study swift foxes and other canids in western Nebraska with the hope of better understanding what limits swift fox distribution in the state. The results of this project will help managers understand how changes to Nebraska's shortgrass prairie will affect the canid community and how best to manage swift fox populations into the future.
Swift fox once occupied two-thirds of Nebraska, but now may occupy as little as 20% of their historic range. UNL, Chadron State College, government agencys and Nebraska landowners began a five-year project to study swift foxes and other canids in western Nebraska with the hope of better understanding what limits swift fox distribution in the state. The results of this project will help managers understand how changes to Nebraska's shortgrass prairie will affect the canid community and how best to manage swift fox populations into the future. Continue the Story

Prairie Bird Research

Upland game birds are economically and culturally important to Nebraskans and outdoor enthusiasts across the United States. Increasingly however, there is concern over declining populations and the social and economic consequences to the people and communities of Nebraska. As part of these and other conservation efforts, researchers are working to understand the factors limiting upland game bird populations in Nebraska and the management actions capable of overcoming these challenges.
Upland game birds are economically and culturally important to Nebraskans and outdoor enthusiasts across the United States. Increasingly however, there is concern over declining populations and the social and economic consequences to the people and communities of Nebraska. As part of these and other conservation efforts, researchers are working to understand the factors limiting upland game bird populations in Nebraska and the management actions capable of overcoming these challenges. Continue the Story

Real-Time Groundwater Level Monitoring Network

This project aims to develop a real-time groundwater-level monitoring network in Nebraska to provide fast and reliable data that will support agricultural decision-makers and other groundwater users to better plan for, recognize, deal with, and document multiple-year droughts.
This project aims to develop a real-time groundwater-level monitoring network in Nebraska to provide fast and reliable data that will support agricultural decision-makers and other groundwater users to better plan for, recognize, deal with, and document multiple-year droughts. Continue the Story

Climate Change Implications for Nebraska

<em>Understanding and Assessing Climate Change: Implications for Nebraska</em> documents many of the key challenges that Nebraska will face as a result of climate change. Commentaries from experts on Nebraska's water resources, energy supply and use, agriculture, forests, health, ecosystems, urban systems and rural communities, and infrastructure and vulnerabilities raise serious concerns about the impacts of projected changes in climate, but they also provide a starting point for discussions about the actions that we can take to overcome these challenges.
Understanding and Assessing Climate Change: Implications for Nebraska documents many of the key challenges that Nebraska will face as a result of climate change. Commentaries from experts on Nebraska's water resources, energy supply and use, agriculture, forests, health, ecosystems, urban systems and rural communities, and infrastructure and vulnerabilities raise serious concerns about the impacts of projected changes in climate, but they also provide a starting point for discussions about the actions that we can take to overcome these challenges. Continue the Story

UNL researcher applies expertise in aquifer recharge to arid regions

University of Nebraska-Lincoln hydrogeologist and Water for Food Institute Faculty Fellow Vitaly Zlotnik has led efforts at UNL to develop solutions to complex water issues in the Middle East. He provided a keynote address at the 2016 International Water Conference in Oman March 13.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln hydrogeologist and Water for Food Institute Faculty Fellow Vitaly Zlotnik has led efforts at UNL to develop solutions to complex water issues in the Middle East. He provided a keynote address at the 2016 International Water Conference in Oman March 13. Continue the Story

Platte River - High Plains Aquifer (PR-HPA) Long-Term Agroecosystem Network (LTAR)

The Long-term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) network, is an ARS-USDA effort that focuses on conducting research that addresses current and emerging issues in agriculture related to sustainability and profitability of agroecosystems in the face of climate change and population growth.
The Long-term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) network, is an ARS-USDA effort that focuses on conducting research that addresses current and emerging issues in agriculture related to sustainability and profitability of agroecosystems in the face of climate change and population growth. Continue the Story

Research in Vegetation Cover Change and Invasive Woody Species

Vegetation cover in NE's riparian areas and grasslands and the resulting ecosystem processes are changing at an unprecedented rate, this change is attributed in part to encroachment of the native woody species <em>Juniperus virginiana</em> or eastern redcedar into these areas.
Vegetation cover in NE's riparian areas and grasslands and the resulting ecosystem processes are changing at an unprecedented rate, this change is attributed in part to encroachment of the native woody species Juniperus virginiana or eastern redcedar into these areas. Continue the Story

Researchers turn to students in quest for elusive species

Although the swift fox once occupied nearly two-thirds of Nebraska, the at-risk species is now estimated to occupy just 20 to 25 percent of their historic range. Until recently, other than anecdotal information, little was known about the precise location of swift fox populations in Nebraska.
Although the swift fox once occupied nearly two-thirds of Nebraska, the at-risk species is now estimated to occupy just 20 to 25 percent of their historic range. Until recently, other than anecdotal information, little was known about the precise location of swift fox populations in Nebraska. Continue the Story

Drought Center Helps Prepare for Inevitable

The parched fields, dying orchards, disappearing reservoirs and first-ever mandatory water restrictions during California's drought grabbed the nation's attention this year. But climate scientists at UNL's National Drought Mitigation Center have been training governments and institutions to plan and prepare for such disasters since 1995. <br />

'The primary reason we formed the NDMC was to focus on how we could better prepare for drought and mitigate its effects,' said Donald Wilhite, founding director of the NDMC. For 40 years, Wilhite has studied the best strategies to cope with drought's complexities. While the NDMC is widely known for its role in producing the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map, its mission is much larger.
The parched fields, dying orchards, disappearing reservoirs and first-ever mandatory water restrictions during California's drought grabbed the nation's attention this year. But climate scientists at UNL's National Drought Mitigation Center have been training governments and institutions to plan and prepare for such disasters since 1995.
'The primary reason we formed the NDMC was to focus on how we could better prepare for drought and mitigate its effects,' said Donald Wilhite, founding director of the NDMC. For 40 years, Wilhite has studied the best strategies to cope with drought's complexities. While the NDMC is widely known for its role in producing the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map, its mission is much larger. Continue the Story

Investigating Climate's Groundwater Impact

When droughts ravage agriculture, the role of climate change grabs headlines. But the climate's impact on groundwater quality as food production adapts to a warming planet receives less attention. An interdisciplinary team of UNL researchers is investigating the climate's effect on groundwater contamination from chemicals used in crop and animal production, including indirect effects from land use changes.
When droughts ravage agriculture, the role of climate change grabs headlines. But the climate's impact on groundwater quality as food production adapts to a warming planet receives less attention. An interdisciplinary team of UNL researchers is investigating the climate's effect on groundwater contamination from chemicals used in crop and animal production, including indirect effects from land use changes. Continue the Story

Transforming Life Sciences Learning

Taking apart the family radio has helped generations of budding engineers learn. Now, a UNL team is giving future biologists the gift of tinkering. They're developing educational tools to help the next generation of biologists better understand complex biological systems and to prepare them for a rapidly changing research field. Ultimately, with support from a $2.3 million National Science Foundation grant, the team aims to transform the way biology students learn.
Taking apart the family radio has helped generations of budding engineers learn. Now, a UNL team is giving future biologists the gift of tinkering. They're developing educational tools to help the next generation of biologists better understand complex biological systems and to prepare them for a rapidly changing research field. Ultimately, with support from a $2.3 million National Science Foundation grant, the team aims to transform the way biology students learn. Continue the Story

Zygielbaum readies remote sensing for spotlight in sorghum biofuel project

Zygielbaum will use remote sensing techniques developed by UNL's Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies, in addition to techniques developed elsewhere, to estimate phenotypic characteristics of plants such as the biomass, amount of pigments and amount of water in the leaves.
Zygielbaum will use remote sensing techniques developed by UNL's Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies, in addition to techniques developed elsewhere, to estimate phenotypic characteristics of plants such as the biomass, amount of pigments and amount of water in the leaves. Continue the Story

Conservation and Survey celebrates drilling first test hole of its kind

The Nebraska statewide test hole database contains information on approximately 5,500 test holes that have been drilled since 1930. These test holes provide researchers with valuable geologic and hydrogeologic data.
The Nebraska statewide test hole database contains information on approximately 5,500 test holes that have been drilled since 1930. These test holes provide researchers with valuable geologic and hydrogeologic data. Continue the Story

Implications of a Changing Arctic on the Water Resources and Agriculture in the Central U.S

A workshop, <em>Implications of a Changing Arctic on the Water Resources and Agriculture in the Central U.S.</em>, was held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, November 10-12, 2015. The focus of this workshop was on how the significant climatic and environmental changes being observed in the Arctic may be affecting changes in mid-latitude weather and the implications of these changes on the frequency of extreme weather and climate events (e.g., severe weather, droughts, floods, heat waves) in the Central U.S. Given the importance of the region as a breadbasket of the world, the goal of the workshop was to explore how these changing weather patterns may affect agriculture, water resources and other sectors in the region.
A workshop, Implications of a Changing Arctic on the Water Resources and Agriculture in the Central U.S., was held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, November 10-12, 2015. The focus of this workshop was on how the significant climatic and environmental changes being observed in the Arctic may be affecting changes in mid-latitude weather and the implications of these changes on the frequency of extreme weather and climate events (e.g., severe weather, droughts, floods, heat waves) in the Central U.S. Given the importance of the region as a breadbasket of the world, the goal of the workshop was to explore how these changing weather patterns may affect agriculture, water resources and other sectors in the region. Continue the Story

Human trafficking course explores understudied problem

Human trafficking is often hidden, out of view in communities both big and small. But thanks to a new class offering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln students are learning how common this crime is - even in the Great Plains.
Human trafficking is often hidden, out of view in communities both big and small. But thanks to a new class offering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln students are learning how common this crime is - even in the Great Plains. Continue the Story

Problem-based Learning

This area of scholarship aims to find, assess, and document best practices to engage students in experiential, applied learning exercises. The resources here also provide examples and training in techniques for deploying problem cases.
This area of scholarship aims to find, assess, and document best practices to engage students in experiential, applied learning exercises. The resources here also provide examples and training in techniques for deploying problem cases. Continue the Story

Fishing and Hunting Research

Hunter and angler participation is a central component of wildlife and fisheries management in Nebraska and throughout the United States. Researchers are conducting field interviews of sportsmen and women throughout Nebraska. Through these interviews we hope to better understand what motivates the public to fish and hunt, what the challenges are to maintaining the hunting and fishing heritage, and how hunters and anglers help to manage Nebraska's fish and wildlife resources.
Hunter and angler participation is a central component of wildlife and fisheries management in Nebraska and throughout the United States. Researchers are conducting field interviews of sportsmen and women throughout Nebraska. Through these interviews we hope to better understand what motivates the public to fish and hunt, what the challenges are to maintaining the hunting and fishing heritage, and how hunters and anglers help to manage Nebraska's fish and wildlife resources. Continue the Story

Regional Scale ET Estimation with CREMAP

CREMAP (Calibration-free evapotranspiration mapping) is a novel ET estimation method that uses MODIS satellite information and some widely available meteorological data to map ET rates at about 1-km resolution in 8-day or monthly periods. Recently it has also been applied to a) map recharge rates to the groundwater in the Sandhills of Nebraska and in the Danube-Tisza interfluvial sand plateau region of Hungary; b) map recharge and surface runoff across Nebraska; c) derive recharge rates as a function of depth to the groundwater in the Platte River valley; d) map ET rates in Burkina Faso and across Hungary; e) identify changes in the hydrological cycle due to irrigation, land use/land cover change across the entire Republican River basin.
CREMAP (Calibration-free evapotranspiration mapping) is a novel ET estimation method that uses MODIS satellite information and some widely available meteorological data to map ET rates at about 1-km resolution in 8-day or monthly periods. Recently it has also been applied to a) map recharge rates to the groundwater in the Sandhills of Nebraska and in the Danube-Tisza interfluvial sand plateau region of Hungary; b) map recharge and surface runoff across Nebraska; c) derive recharge rates as a function of depth to the groundwater in the Platte River valley; d) map ET rates in Burkina Faso and across Hungary; e) identify changes in the hydrological cycle due to irrigation, land use/land cover change across the entire Republican River basin. Continue the Story

Wildlife Conservation through Evolutionary Understanding

Our work revolves around understanding how novel ecological conditions driven by anthropogenic change influence phenotypic expression in birds. Currently, we are addressing a number of questions relating to avian habitat decisions and how climate and land-use change as well as management decisions are influencing where birds reside and subsequently how they behave.
Our work revolves around understanding how novel ecological conditions driven by anthropogenic change influence phenotypic expression in birds. Currently, we are addressing a number of questions relating to avian habitat decisions and how climate and land-use change as well as management decisions are influencing where birds reside and subsequently how they behave. Continue the Story

Carbon Science and Modeling Program

Current research at the Carbon Sequestration sites involves a second generation biofuel biomass removal project. We are examining the impact of removing biomass on the carbon sequestration of irrigated maize-based agroecosystems. We are also examining biophysical factors that control interannual variability of the carbon exchange components (gross primary, production, ecosystem respiration, and net ecosystem exchange).
Current research at the Carbon Sequestration sites involves a second generation biofuel biomass removal project. We are examining the impact of removing biomass on the carbon sequestration of irrigated maize-based agroecosystems. We are also examining biophysical factors that control interannual variability of the carbon exchange components (gross primary, production, ecosystem respiration, and net ecosystem exchange). Continue the Story

PhenoCam to be installed at Nine Mile Prairie

A  camera atop Hardin Hall's roof will soon find a new home at Nine Mile Prairie. But it's not your average camera. It's a PhenoCam – and it belongs to a network of automated cameras set up to survey landscapes throughout North America.
A camera atop Hardin Hall's roof will soon find a new home at Nine Mile Prairie. But it's not your average camera. It's a PhenoCam – and it belongs to a network of automated cameras set up to survey landscapes throughout North America. Continue the Story

Research explores ag advisers' ability to communicate climate info

A team of researchers led by UNL's Tonya Haigh have determined that relatively little is known about the readiness of different types of agricultural advisers to use weather and climate information to help their clients manage risk under increasing climate uncertainty.
A team of researchers led by UNL's Tonya Haigh have determined that relatively little is known about the readiness of different types of agricultural advisers to use weather and climate information to help their clients manage risk under increasing climate uncertainty. Continue the Story

Atlas analyzes 2012 elections from geographical perspective

"Atlas of the 2012 Elections," employs a geographical perspective to analyze virtually every aspect of the 2012 U.S. presidential election, in addition to selected state and local elections.
"Atlas of the 2012 Elections," employs a geographical perspective to analyze virtually every aspect of the 2012 U.S. presidential election, in addition to selected state and local elections. Continue the Story

Franz brings soil-moisture monitoring technology from cornfield to battlefield

A cosmic-ray neutron rover may sound like something from a science-fiction film, but Trenton Franz is developing the high-tech tool to help the military better understand the harsh environment in which it operates.
A cosmic-ray neutron rover may sound like something from a science-fiction film, but Trenton Franz is developing the high-tech tool to help the military better understand the harsh environment in which it operates. Continue the Story

Reinhard's research sheds light on pathology of Chagas disease

Ancient hunter-gatherers, by way of their dietary habits, altered the ancient landscape. Therefore, ancient humans created a web of potential infection within their territory.
Ancient hunter-gatherers, by way of their dietary habits, altered the ancient landscape. Therefore, ancient humans created a web of potential infection within their territory. Continue the Story

At Belgian archaeological sites, parasitology insights revealed

Johnica Morrow (left) and Elizabeth Racz, doctoral students, are co-authors of a paper that examines the parasitology found in archaeological sites in Nivelles, Belgium.
Johnica Morrow (left) and Elizabeth Racz, doctoral students, are co-authors of a paper that examines the parasitology found in archaeological sites in Nivelles, Belgium. Continue the Story

Online atlas analyzes local drought history

The National Drought Mitigation Center, based in UNL's School of Natural Resources, has unveiled a new online Drought Risk Atlas that provides analysis of data on drought frequency and severity for more than 3,000 spots across the country.
The National Drought Mitigation Center, based in UNL's School of Natural Resources, has unveiled a new online Drought Risk Atlas that provides analysis of data on drought frequency and severity for more than 3,000 spots across the country. Continue the Story

Kilic's team partners with Google for U.S. Climate Data Initiative

The new U.S. Climate Data Initiative includes a partnership involving UNL, Google, the University of Idaho and the Desert Research Institute. Ayse Kilic, associate professor, will use the added resources to augment water information
The new U.S. Climate Data Initiative includes a partnership involving UNL, Google, the University of Idaho and the Desert Research Institute. Ayse Kilic, associate professor, will use the added resources to augment water information Continue the Story

Century-old sod wall unites researchers across disciplines

A team of interdisciplinary researchers has begun analysis on part of a 110-year-old sod house that was once home to a group of Custer County, Neb., pioneers.
A team of interdisciplinary researchers has begun analysis on part of a 110-year-old sod house that was once home to a group of Custer County, Neb., pioneers. Continue the Story