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Publications: Agriculture and Food

PostersAgriculture and Food, Crop Protection2021

A Novel Approach for Estimating Flow During Submerged Tile Conditions

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ASABE 2021 Annual Meeting, July 2021

Session:  Natural Resource and Environmental Systems (#23 Drainage Group)

Abstract: Accurate tile flow rate and flow volume estimates are critical to estimating subsurface nutrient runoff. Efforts have been made to improve the accuracy and ease of flow estimates during free flow conditions using water level control structures paired with weirs and water level instrumentation. However, in fields experiencing submerged tile conditions, few options exist for estimating tile flow beyond installing velocity-based flow instrumentation, which is often cost-prohibitive. This work proposes a method for estimating flow rate and volume during submerged tile conditions by taking into account flow proportion of monitored and unmonitored tile laterals based on field flow lines, assessing the proportion of tile main runoff attributed to each lateral using historical free-flowing event data, and applying the new lateral flow proportions in conjunction with weir equations to produce a modified flow calculation. This method is applied to a sample field research site with 45 total tile laterals (18 monitored, 27 unmonitored) using water level data for flow events between 2017-2020.

Authors:  Patricia Paulausky, Farah Abi-Akar, Russell Krueger (Waterborne Environmental), Laura Gentry (Illinois Corn Growers Association), Gregory Goodwin (Waterborne Environmental).  ASABE 2021 Annual International Meeting.

PresentationsAgriculture and Food, Crop Protection2020

Impact of climate change on the relevance of TFD studies and OECD crosswalks

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ACS 2020, AGRO 235
Session Title: Sustainability in Agriculture: Understanding the Environmental Footprint of Developing Crop Protection Products
Monday, August 17, 2020 8:00AM


Climate change studies confirm that the earth is warming up and that shifts in rainfall patterns is occurring. Various computer models predict that Earth’s average temperature will rise between 1.8° and 4.0° Celsius (3.2° and 7.2° F). Consequently, these warmer temperatures will cause a higher rate of evaporation, resulting in a predicted increase of average global rainfall by 3-5%. This climate change, therefore, will impact the relevance of historical and current terrestrial field dissipation (TFD) studies. Under OCED guidance, TFD studies conducted in one country can be applicable to other countries if the characteristics of overlapping ecoregions are the same. These assessments are conducted using the OECD ENASGIPS tool. If these characteristics change, so will the similarity assessment and therefore the potential relevance of TFD sites. With increase rainfall, TFD sites in the Southeastern US, which typically have few similar areas, may become more relevant because other areas are receiving more rainfall. Likewise, TFD sites in Canada, characterized by cold winters, may become more applicable to larger areas in Europe with increasing temperature. In this presentation we will review some of the climate change scenarios, place existing TFD sites in context of new climates and determine the impact on OECD crosswalks.

C. Hoogeweg, A. Ritter (Waterborne). Impact of climate change on the relevance of TFD studies and OECD crosswalks. AGRO 235, ACS 2020. Virtual Meeting

PresentationsAgriculture and Food, Crop Protection2020

Novel approaches for assessing management of tile-drain agricultural chemical transport

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ACS 2020, AGRO 214
Session Title: Off-target Transport of Field Applied Agricultural Chemicals
Monday, August 17, 2020 8:00AM


The study of conservation best management practices and their effectiveness at mitigating the off-site transport of agricultural chemicals is an established research field. While runoff and erosion have received much study focus, there is a growing need for new and novel approaches to monitor nutrients in tile-drained systems. A sophisticated water monitoring system was developed that utilizes technology to create an automated pass-through sampling site, employing state of the art nutrient sensor technology to monitor nitrate concentrations in thirty-seven discrete subsurface agricultural drainage tile laterals at a sampling rate of between two and four hours per sample at each tile. This design has proven highly efficient and provides a data resolution that would be impractical to consider under conventional sampling methods. It also allows for the replicated study of several treatments (different mitigation practice approaches) and control plots, with little additional cost per added plot. Additional benefits include the ability to view data in real-time, allowing researchers to observe real-time rainfall event-based plot responses without the analytical results delay from a laboratory. The developed site data provides the needed resolution for tile drain model validation or developments.

G. Goodwin (Waterborne), L. Gentry (Illinois Corn Growers Association), P. Paulausky, J. Trask, A. Jacobson, A. Ritter (Waterborne). Novel approaches for assessing management of tile-drain agricultural chemical transport. AGRO 214, ACS 2020. Virtual Meeting.

Papers & ReportsAgriculture and Food, Crop Protection2018

Honey bee colony-level exposure and effects in realistic landscapes: An application of BEEHAVE simulating clothianidin residues in corn pollen

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Discerning potential effects of insecticides on honey bee colonies in field studies conducted under realistic conditions can be challenging because of concurrent interactions with other environmental conditions. Honey bee colony models can control exposures and other environmental factors, as well as assess links among pollen and nectar residues in the landscape, their influx into the colony, and the resulting exposures and effects on bees at different developmental stages. We extended the colony model BEEHAVE to represent exposure to the insecticide clothianidin via residues in pollen from treated cornfields set in real agricultural landscapes in the US Midwest. We assessed their potential risks to honey bee colonies over a 1-yr cycle. Clothianidin effects on colony strength were only observed if unrealistically high residue levels in the pollen were simulated. The landscape composition significantly impacted the collection of pollen (residue exposure) from the cornfields, resulting in higher colony-level effects in landscapes with lower proportions of semi-natural land. The application of the extended BEEHAVE model with a pollen exposure-effects module provides a case study for the application of a mechanistic honey bee colony model in pesticide risk assessment integrating the impact of a range of landscape compositions.

Schmolke, A., Abi-Akar, F., Hinarejos, S. (2018), Honey bee colony-level exposure and effects in realistic landscapes: An application of BEEHAVE simulating clothianidin residues in corn pollen. Environ Toxicol Chem. DOI: 10.1002/etc.4314

PresentationsAgriculture and Food2017

Prospective Methods for Characterizing Likelihood of Pollinator Protection Resulting from Programmatic Conservation Initiatives

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SETAC Session Title:  Assessing the Role of Contaminants in the Decline of Prairie Complex Pollinators
Presentation Date: Tuesday November 14, 2017
Presentation Time: 10:40 AM
Location: Session Room 101AJ

Over 4,000 species of native bees are responsible for crop pollination activity in the United States, the majority in solitary nests. County-, State-, and Federal-scale initiatives and programs have been put in motion toward programmatic protection of pollinators. Programmatic initiatives tend to focus on habitat creation, preservation, or restoration and should be accounted for in conservation efforts to protect pollinator species. These habitat initiatives may be a simple means to rapidly respond to pressures to implement protection measures, but may be less impactful or less appropriate for certain species of pollinators than others. A methodology for evaluating programmatic conservation initiatives and associated impact on pollinator protection is warranted and would require more specific identification of species that are the recipients of protection. The specific characteristics and requirements of the identified species should be addressed. Difficult and important discussions about cost-benefit and likelihood of protection success may be more fruitful if a common methodology is followed. We present preliminary methods that benchmark characteristics of land use change/management and pollinator life history features through programmatic conservation initiatives that yield the most benefit for pollinator protection. Land use change, prompted by potential conservation efforts, is systematically compared to focal species’ requirements according to their life history traits and habitat requirements. As an example, we use the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis), a species recent listed as endangered, as a test case for benchmarking potential protection through the introduction of different conservation initiatives, such as creation of conservation reserve program land, pollinator corridor creation, cover crops, and integrated pest management.

Daniel Perkins (Waterborne Environmental), Amelie Schmolke (Waterborne Environmental), Farah Abi-Akar (Waterborne Environmental), Andrew Jacobson (Waterborne Environmental). Prospective Methods for Characterizing Likelihood of Pollinator Protection Resulting from Programmatic Conservation Initiatives. Platform SETAC 2017. Minneapolis, MN.

PostersAgriculture and Food2016

Modeling Watershed-Scale Cover Crop Impact on Nitrate Availability and Transport

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Presented at the 2016 Hypoxia Task Force Meeting in St. Louis, MO.

Daniel Perkins, PhD., Rohith Gali, PhD. (Waterborne) and Caroline Wade (Illinois Corn Growers Association).”Modeling Watershed-Scale Cover Crop Impact on Nitrate Availability and Transport“.Poster. Hypoxia Task Force Spring 2016.

Papers & ReportsAgriculture and Food, Crop Protection2016

Investigating Past Range Dynamics for a Weed of Cultivation, Silene vulgaris

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Since the last glacial maximum (LGM), many plant and animal taxa have expanded their ranges by migration from glacial refugia. Weeds of cultivation may have followed this trend or spread globally following the expansion of agriculture or ruderal habitats associated with human-mediated disturbance. We tested whether the range expansion of the weed Silene vulgaris across Europe fit the classical model of postglacial expansion from southern refugia, or followed known routes of the expansion of human agricultural practices. We used species distribution modeling to predict spatial patterns of postglacial expansion and contrasted these with the patterns of human agricultural expansion. A population genetic analysis using microsatellite loci was then used to test which scenario was better supported by spatial patterns of genetic diversity and structure. Genetic diversity was highest in southern Europe and declined with increasing latitude. Locations of ancestral demes from genetic cluster analysis were consistent with areas of predicted refugia. Species distribution models showed the most suitable habitat in the LGM on the southern coasts of Europe. These results support the typical postglacial northward colonization from southern refugia while refuting the east-to-west agricultural spread as the main mode of expansion for S. vulgaris. We know that S. vulgaris has recently colonized many regions (including North America and other continents) through human-mediated dispersal, but there is no evidence for a direct link between the Neolithic expansion of agriculture and current patterns of genetic diversity of S. vulgaris in Europe. Therefore, the history of range expansion of S. vulgaris likely began with postglacial expansion after the LGM, followed by more recent global dispersal by humans.

Sebasky, M. E., Keller, S. R. and Taylor, D. R. (2016), Investigating past range dynamics for a weed of cultivation, Silene vulgaris. Ecol Evol. doi:10.1002/ece3.2250

PostersAgriculture and Food, Home and Personal Care Products, Industrial and Specialty Chemicals2015

Green-washing: What Is a Meaningful Ecolabel

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PRESENTATION DATE: Wednesday, November 4, 2015

LOCATION: Exhibit Hall


Currently there are over 400 ecolabels for food and consumer products in the global marketplace. These labels are marketing efforts informing the purchaser of a variety of claims of sustainability measures enacted by companies. The marketplace is flooded with several similar claims on whether a product is less hazardous, sustainable, organic, non-GMO, fair-trade, recyclable, recycled, carbon neutral, or biodegradable. Generally there are four types of labels in order of volume, 1) voluntary environmental certification programs, 2) self- or 3) cause-related claims and 4) governmentally regulated. The federal, some state, and International governments have limited direct roles in ecolabeling beyond mandatory hazard warning (e.g., pesticide or Prop. 65) or informational disclosures (EPA fuel economy, certified organic, WaterSense, or Energy Star). There are several third-party certification and quasi-governmental programs that lend credibility to an ecolabel; however, standardization or centralization of these programs are lacking. Several seals of approval overlap in required data for certification; however, a comprehensive comparison of each standard has not been performed. The US EPA and GAO are reviewing the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing program currently by reviewing a subset of ecolabeling in regards to building paints/coatings/removers, building flooring, and furniture; however, implications towards the general public are unknown. Several questions arise when considering comparison of ecolabeling standards. What would be the best way to implement meaningful change to ecolabel marketing? Develop a list and score each label? Who will collect the information and develop trustworthy comprehensive scoring standards for each product sector? How to engage all stakeholders to agree on the standards? Finally how does all the data collection conform to expanding regulations such as Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, California’s Safer Consumer Products, and Washington’s Chemicals of High Concern to Children?

Nikki Maples-Reynolds, Duane Huggett, Waterborne Environmental.”Green-washing: What Is a Meaningful Ecolabel”. SETAC Salt Lake City November 2015.

PostersAgriculture and Food2014

Data Mining Strategies For Species Life History Characteristics to Support Population Modeling in Endangered Species Risk Assessment

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Population modeling has been identified as a valuable tool to support risk assessment of listed threatened and endangered species. While a variety of population (and more generally, ecological) modeling approaches and platforms exist, their application is frequently limited to a small number of specific species having an abundance of toxicity and life history data available in the literature and/or generated in parallel to the development of a particular model. Conversely, national-scale endangered species assessment may initially identify a large number of species that may be potentially impacted based on an initial proximity assessment of species locations and chemical exposure. This disparity points to the need for evaluating similarities in available life history characteristics across multiple species to identify relevant groupings of species as well as the data-rich species (endangered or non-endangered) which are the most appropriate surrogates for one or more endangered species of interest for a given risk scenario in population modeling. Starting with high-level taxonomic classifications and using a combination of data synthesis and quantitative clustering techniques, we demonstrate an approach for organizing available basic life history information to “drill down” to species characteristics and groupings most relevant to a given risk scenario, and/or a given species of interest. This process can yield useful information to optimize the design and implementation of population modeling (and the risk assessment process in general) by providing a systematic means to focus technical resources on species of greatest relevance to the goals of a particular assessment. While further evaluation and data collection from literature and other sources is often a necessary component in the development of population models, this process can be made more efficient through the application of effective filtering tools.

Katherine E. Kapo, Matthew E. Kern, Joshua Amos, Chris M. Holmes, Nathan Snyder. Data Mining Strategies For Species Life History Characteristics to Support Population Modeling in Endangered Species Risk Assessment. SETAC North America 35th Annual Meeting, Vancover, B.C. November 14, 2014.

PostersAgriculture and Food2014

Advancing Effective Screening and Probabilistic Approaches in Endangered Species Risk Assessments

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The confluence of the protection goals of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) presents many challenges for environmental risk assessment for pesticide registrations. A deterministic approach has traditionally been used for FIFRA national scale assessments, where point estimates of exposure and effects are used to produce risk quotients which are compared against arbitrary levels of concern (LOQ). This approach allows for relative toxicity, exposure and risk comparisons across chemicals, and may include both screening level and refined approaches allowing the assessor to focus on taxonomic groups of concern. Under ESA, the assessment methods employed are undergoing rapid development with a focus on the protection of individual organisms and populations. These developments have been influenced largely by the National Research Council (NRC) committee recommendations (2013) which were incorporated into an interim approach outlined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service, and the U. S. Department of Agriculture. The NRC recommendations included a preference for probabilistic over deterministic approaches for risk assessment for endangered species to enable the evaluation of likelihood and magnitude of risk across species. However, given the practical challenge of national-scale assessments and high numbers of species to consider, effective screening techniques are still needed to direct risk assessment and risk management resources to the species at greatest potential risk relative to a stressor of interest. We explore various applications of screening and probabilistic approaches throughout the risk assessment process to effectively target taxonomic groups and species of potential concern and evaluate and characterize risk. These methods employ data evaluation and filtering techniques (including proximity analysis), weight of evidence approaches for qualitative and quantitative data and methods for including uncertainty in the assessment. The objective is to advance the risk assessment process for listed threatened and endangered species by providing a more comprehensive and practical perspective on species risk compared to traditional approaches.

Matthew E. Kern, Katherine E. Kapo,  Joshua Amos, Megan Sebasky, Christopher M. Holmes, Gregg A. Hancock, Nathan Snyder. Advancing Effective Screening and Probabilistic Approaches in Endangered Species Risk Assessments. SETAC North America 35th Annual Meeting, Vancover, B.C. November 14, 2014.