"There are a lot of parallels between Konza and other grass-dominated ecosystems around the world," said K-State's David Hartnett, a university distinguished professor of biology.
The research is examining the sustainability of the grasslands and conserving the biodiversity within them. Hartnett and collaborators in Botswana are assessing and documenting changes taking place because of climate change and land use changes.
Working with Moffat Setshogo and Mbaki Muzilla at the University of Botswana, the K-State group is studying how fire, grazing and important beneficial soil fungi affect the ecology and productivity of key grass species. Information about the research will appear at the African Issues Symposium: Food Security, Environmental Sustainability and Human Health, March 30 to April 1, at K-State. More information about the symposium is at http://www.k-state.edu/africanstudies/2009symposium/
Hartnett and Tony Joern, professor of biology, lead the K-State Institute for Grassland Studies, which was formed in 2008.
"K-State has a strong program in grassland studies and many people working on grassland ecosystems," Hartnett said. "We wanted to broaden it to international research and education."
The southern African grasslands and savannas have a lot in common with the grasslands of the central United States, Hartnett said. At the same time, he said the African grasslands are more interconnected to the people's way of life.
"Like in Africa, we acquire most of our food from grasslands, but the dependence is more critical in Africa," Hartnett said. "Not only do the grasslands produce grain and meat, but they also produce building materials, medicines and other essential goods and services. That's what makes the grasslands such an important region to focus on."
Hartnett said the research collaboration with African researchers -- primarily those from the University of Botswana -- has meant that K-State students have done research overseas while African students have come to K-State to pursue graduate degrees.
This summer, Hartnett will take nine K-State students on a study abroad program in Botswana. Hartnett said K-State also is working with the Peace Parks Foundation, which connects natural parks across southern Africa's international borders. He said much of the collaborative grassland research is being done in these conservation areas.
David Hartnett | EurekAlert!
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy