Cedar Creek Natural History Area http://www.cedarcreek.umn.edu/ is an NSF-sponsored Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site. There are 4 major themes to this research:
*Theme 1:* What are the impacts of major perturbations -- especially climatic variation, N deposition, land use history, changes in fire frequency, elevated CO2, exotic species, and changes in trophic structure --on species composition, diversity and ecosystem functioning?
*Theme 2:* What processes, interactions and positive and negative feedbacks control species abundances, community assembly, and community composition, diversity and dynamics in Cedar Creek grasslands and savanna?
*Theme 3:* How do composition and biodiversity directly and indirectly impact ecosystem functioning?
*Theme 4:* What general principles allow integration across scales ranging from ecophysiological and population processes to ecosystem functioning; from single trophic levels to whole foodwebs; from single plots to landscapes; and from snapshots in time to long time series?
"We are pursuing these four themes in five inter-related types of long-term studies that form the heart of the Cedar Creek LTER. Each is guided by our research philosophy and each addresses several themes. LTER funding supports this core long-term work and the research infrastructure of Cedar Creek (computer network, analytical chemistry laboratory, herbarium and insect collections, data management and software development, and shared research equipment)."
The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network is a collaborative effort involving more than 1800 scientists and students investigating ecological processes over long time periods and broad geographical scales. The Network promotes synthesis and comparative research across sites and ecosystems and among other related national and international research programs. The 26 sites that constitute the Network represent diverse ecosystems and research emphases. http://www.lternet.edu/
UMN has 11 principal investigators working on the LTER at Cedar Creek, mostly faculty from Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, with one from Plant Biology and two from Forest Resources. There are a couple dozen additional UMN faculty involved (see http://www.cedarcreek.umn.edu/people/currentstaff.php)
HarvestChoice http://www.harvestchoice.org/ Funded by the Gates Foundation. (Phil Pardey, et al.)
"Over the coming three years, HarvestChoice and its growing number of partners will deliver a series of databases, tools, analyses, findings, and syntheses designed to improve strategic investment and policy decisions. The overriding objective is to accelerate and enhance the performance of those crops and cropping systems most likely to bring significant benefits to the world's poor and undernourished."
There are a several collaborative NSF plant/crop genome mapping research projects involving the University of Minnesota.
Nevin Young (Plant Pathology/Plant Biology) has an NSF grant to sequence the model legume Medicago Truncatula http://www.medicago.org/genome/ Project goals include: Genome Sequencing: Complete, high quality genome sequence for all eight chromosomes of Medicago.
Informatics: An integrated database of clone, map, assembly, and sequence information combined with coordinated, automated annotation of the Medicago genome sequence.
Project Organization: This NSF project is coordinated with partners in the EU who receive funding from the 6th Framework Programme, BBSRC in the UK and ANR in France. EU partners
come from the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, and Belgium
Ronald Philips (CFANS) has an NSF grant to work on mapping the corn genome http://corn.ccgb.umn.edu/
* To produce an efficient means to map genes of corn, our major cereal crop.
* To implement a system analogous to one used in the mapping of human genes, where special Chinese hamster cell lines containing portions of the human genome are used. We will use oat lines containing portions of the corn genome.
* To complete the series of the 10 different oat-corn chromosome addition lines and, for each chromosome, produce a series of approximately 100 radiation hybrid lines.
* Arrays of DNA samples ultimately will be available to researchers for mapping any gene or DNA fragment to a small region of a given chromosome.