Seed Grants and Directed Research
Research Projects-starting in late 2003
1. Nature-Based Economic Development. $30,000. Great Rivers and Rural Revitalization: Assessing Economic Development Strategies - Dr. Richard Brazee and Dr. Ann Reisner. The purpose of this proposed project is to examine how small towns might use the biological and physcial resources assiciated with the rivers to help ensure long-term economic health and survival. Do small river towns incorporate their unique physical advantages or- because they are so much a part of the town's existence-does the uniqueness become taken-for-granted, and thus ignored in development plans? Do state and federal policies impede or assist the planning and development (or redevelopment) efforts?
2. Mercury. $19,777. Spatio-Temporal Variations in Mercury and Methylmercury in Great Rivers Tributaries: Influences of Land Use, Hydrologic, and Biogeochemical Factors - Dr. Robert Hudson. Specific study objectives are to: 1) Identify landscape factors that affect monomethylmercury (MeHg) production and total Hg export in watersheds draining into the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers; 2) identify hydro- and bio-geochemical factors that govern the temporal variations in MeHg concentrations in streams of these watersheds; and 3) Characterize the distribution of Hg species in the Mississippi and Illinois during summer high and low flow periods.
3. Effectiveness of Watershed Programs. $27,966. Prioritization of Agricultural Land Retirement for Water-Quality Improvement in the Illinois River - Dr. Hayri Onal. What are the optimal or near-optimal land retirement patterns that would achieve the environmental and social goals of the program cost-effectively? How effective are various policies in a setting where land owners make voluntary decisions to adopt conservation practices?
4. Mercury and other toxicants in Mussels. $29,368. Contaminants of Concern in Illinois Large River Mussel Populations - Dr. Jeffrey Levengood. The overall objectives of this study are to determine if levels of contaminants in mussels from the three-rivers confluence area are high enough to present risks to 1) mussel populations, and 2) fish and wildlife consumers of mussels. Final report submitted.
5. Stop-Gap Funding for LTRMP. $30,000. Fish Populations and Water Quality in the Confluence Area - Dr. John Chick. Continue sampling water quality and fish populations in Reach 26 of the Upper Mississippi River and in the lower Illinois River during a one-year lapse in funding from the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program on the Upper Mississippi River. Prevent a data gap that would compromise the utility of these long-term data sets in assessing trends in the rivers. No proposal required. Report and publications submitted on time.
Research Projects - starting in late 2004
6. Amazon Forest Inventory. $10,000. Re-census of Permanent Plots in the Peruvian Amazon - Rodolfo Vasquez (Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden Program in Peru, Oxapampa-Peru). The re-measurement of permanent plots in the Peruvian Amazon is a joint project of the Missouri Botanical Garden Peru Program and the Department of Geography of the Unviersity of Leeds- United Kingdom, within the framework of the project "Twenty Years of Dynamics in the Forests of Loreto, Peru." The project contributes to gathering and systematizing information for the RAINFOR International network (the Amazon network of Forest Inventories). RAINFOR was initiated to estimate and monitor the quality and balance of existing carbon in the Amazon forests inorder to predict future changes and to understand environmental factors that control the carbon cycle.
Research Projects - starting in 2005
7. Invasive Aquatic Species. $23,590. Evaluating the Risk of Transfer of Aquatic Nuisance Species by Watercraft between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins - Dr. Daniel Schneider. Though species will continue to be introduced to both the Mississippi River and Great Lakes drainage basins by both intentional and accidental means, we can prevent further damage to natural and structural resources by halting their spread between the basins via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Efforts are underway to prevent organisms from spreading on their own through the canal, but the role that watercraft play in mediating species transfer has not been significantly addressed. Our overarching objective is to provide relevant information to decision makers in order to design a strategy for the prevention of the spread of aquatic nuisance species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins. In particular, our aim is to identify what vessel components and infection modes are most likely to transfer organisms within the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and what types of organisms should be targeted for treatment if passage of vessels continues.
8. Mercury. $24,885. Methyl and Inorganic Mercury Bioaccumulation in Populations of Red-eared Slider Turtles (Trachemys sripta elegans) from Two Illinois River Floodplain Lakes - Dr. Robert Hudson. Investigate the bioaccumulation of methylmercury (MeHg) and inorganic mercury (HgII) in populations of red eared slider. (Trachemys scripta elegans) turtles from two floodplain lakes along the Illinois River with different management regimes. The differences in management have lead to differences in the abundance of food types available to the turtles: mainly vascular plants in Long Lake, which is managed for moist soil conditions, versus invertebrates in Swan Lake, which is a deeper, unmanaged lake. Thus, the central question of this project is whether the difference in diets of the two turtle populations, causes differences in MeHg and HgII bioaccumulation.
9. Turtles, Climate Change and Emerging Wildlife Management Problems. $49,985. Slider turtles, Climatic Change and Conservation in the Mississippi and Ilinois River Corridors in West Central Illinois - John Tucker. Production of number of high profile publications based on a long-term data set that is already developed. The data set includes 12 years of long-term studies of turtle life-history and demographics that clearly indicate that climate change is influencing biotic responses of the red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans). Two general sorts of publications are anticipated. One includes high impact scientific journals such as Science and Nature. Once accepted by one of these journals, news releases are planned to publicize the results. The second outlet includes submissions to journals with a broader public interest such as Bioscience, Frontiers in Ecology, Natural History, etc.
10. Floodplain Forests, Status and Trends. $38,950. Long-Term Ecological Monitoring of Riparian Forests at the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center - John Edgington, Gary Rolfe, Lyle Guyon. The study will analyze the ecological dynamics of ripairian forest communities to provide essential data for development of ecosystem management scenarios that maximize productivity while maintaining ecological functions and processes through the:
- Study and characterization of the long-term ecological processes in riparian forests. The analysis of changes in composition and structure, ecological processes, and interrelationships of riparian vegetation will provide baseline information necessary to develop a riparian forest ecosystem database.
- Determine of stand structure and composition, growth and productivity, and decomposition rates for representative riparian forests.
- Determination of the response of major riparian forest species with respect to the effects of flooding, elevation, climate, and latitudinal and longitudinal differences between study areas.
- Development of models relating long-term ecological processes in riparian forests. These models will provided a basis for determining effective management strategies and objectives for sustaining riparian forest ecosystems.