NutNet Doane - A Global Research Partnership
- Nebraska has lost more than 98% of its tallgrass prairie
- Less than 150,000 hectares remaining of the original 6.1 million hectares
- Increases in atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition rates have been linked to loss of biodiversity in these threatened systems
- In eastern Nebraska alone there has been a 40% increase in anthropogenic N deposition rates in the last 30 years
- Nebraska has some of the highest N deposition rates in the country
- No large-scale coordinated experiments to quantify the general impacts of changes in N cycling on grassland ecosystems
- Public remains largely unaware
- This project increases public awareness of this environmental issue and imparts critical knowledge regarding how they can address this challenge. In the same way that increased public awareness of rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations has led to changes in industry and policy, this project hopes to shine a light on the problem of anthropogenic changes to the N cycle and the consequences for rapidly declining tallgrass prairie.
- The Nutrient Network (NutNet; http://www.nutnet.umn.edu/) is a global research effort to address questions within a coordinated research network comprised of more than 60 grassland sites worldwide.
- NutNet site at Spring Creek Prairie provides a unique opportunity to compare the response of a section of remnant tallgrass prairie and restored tallgrass prairie to changes nutrient availability.
- Allows Doane College to play a key role in understanding how to restore diverse native tallgrass prairie to Nebraska while also bringing more public awareness to the issue of nutrient deposition.
- Allows Doane students to examine questions relating to carbon sequestration
- NutNet site at Spring Creek Prairie places Doane College in a global network of researchers, and provides a long-term pedagogical tool to the entire Doane community
- Used during Fall 2012 in BIO342 (Ecology). Participation in the NutNet program will allow Doane College students to conduct cutting-edge research on this critical environmental issue by having access to data from not only the Spring Creek site, but from the entire global network.
- Provides potential opportunities for Doane students to visit other NutNet sites and conduct their own cross-site studies
- NutNet sites strengthen ties with the Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center