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Biomass Crop Production and Physiology Lab

Dr. Emily Heaton

Agricultural landscapes face increasing pressure to provide the four F's: food, feed, fiber and fuel, while simultaneously maintaining the ecosystem functions that support life as we know it. Done prudently, dedicated biomass crops can provide feedstock for bioenergy and bioproducts while also enhancing the natural resource base.

The Biomass Crop Production and Physiology lab led by Dr. Emily Heaton aims to understand the growth and productivity of dedicated biomass crops in the Midwest, and how they can be managed to provide multiple ecosystem services. We specifically seek to elucidate the reciprocal impact of environment on key physiological processes like photosynthesis, biomass accumulation, water use and nutrient cycling. Typical activities focus on the plant and field plot scale, with inferences at the watershed and ecosystem scale. Through collaboration, we use our data to explain observed phenomena and predict future behavior, with an ultimate goal of providing useful information to policy and the public about the role biomass crops can and should play in the Midwestern USA.