Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
W.K. Kellogg Biological Station
MSU Foundation Professor
My research falls broadly in the area of sustainable agriculture. My approach is to integrate diverse disciplines such as Biophysics, Climatology, Hydrology, Genetics, Agronomy, and Soil Science to understand the overall agricultural systems and to improve decision-making across a broad spectrum of stakeholders, from the smallholder farmer in the developing world to the industrial producer and policy maker at all scales.
I am mainly interested in the ecosystem of row-crop production systems. Chemically intensive production requirements have raised serious concerns about the sustainability of these systems. Of particular importance is the ability to provide sustainable ecosystem services (crop production, carbon sequestration, and nitrogen conservation, in particular).
Key aspects of my approach include the following:
- Developing and applying advanced crop system models to predict the impact of weather, soil and management on short-term and long-term yield, nutrient uptake, water use efficiency and environmental outcomes
- Exploring the advances and limitations of different air and space-borne platforms to obtain remotely sensed data and link this information with algorithms to understand spatial and temporal nutrient and water uptake by plants and to integrate this information in quantitative models
- Assessing the impact of climate variability and change on agricultural production systems.
The understanding of the spatial and temporal variability aspects of the soil-plant-atmosphere system is at the core of my research. One of my main research goals is to develop new technologies and transfer knowledge to farmers to better manage this variability and to quantify the risk associated with the decisions they make in order to optimize economic and environmental outcomes.