Regional assessment of the quality control, food safety, environmental, user perception and marketing outlets of diverting food scraps from landfills. 1/31/15-present. I partner with Meredith Niles (UVM Nutrition and Food Science), Eric Roy (Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources) and Jason Parker to develop transdisciplinary grant proposals on this topic. The initiative was initially funded by the Northeastern Experiment Station Directors Planning Grant NE1502. See our new website, Recycling Organics and Resources (ROAR).
· Coker, C. 2016. University of Vermont faculty members convened a group to identify research needs related to mandatory food scraps diversion policies in New England. BioCycle 57(8): 66-67.
Integrated bedded pack management and fly control reduce mastitis risk by promoting a beneficial teat skin microbiome, 6/1/15-present. I partner with John Barlow (UVM Animal Science) on this project funded by the UVM Dairy Center of Excellence. The goal of the project is to explore how the insect and microbial ecology of bedded pack housing and pasture may influence ectoparasite prevalence, the dairy cow mammary gland microbiome and mastitis risk on a pasture-based dairy farm.
Persistence of enteric pathogens in manure-amended soils in northeast U.S. produce-growing environments, 9/29/14-present. I partner with Catherine Donnelly (UVM Nutrition and Food Science), Manan Sharma and Patricia Millner (Environmental Microbial & Food Safety Lab, USDA-Agriculture Research Service). In Fall 2014, we established a field experiment to quantify survival of E. coli in raw manure applications to soils growing vegetable crops in Vermont. Data will be used to inform the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act. The story was picked up by the Burlington Free Press and UVM Communications.
Compost for management of plant pathogens and weed seeds, 4/1/10-3/31/13. I partnered with Tom Gilbert (Highfields Center for Composting), Andy Jones (Intervale Community Farm), and Bruce Kauffman (Riverside Farm). In 2010-2012, we conducted a demonstration project to show that compost made to recipe kills plant pathogens and weed seeds. This project was funded by Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Partnership program. Since then, we are evaluating compost recipe and process for its ability to suppress soilborne plant pathogens.
Ecology of Nematode-suppressive Soils in Midwest Soybean-cropping Systems, 1/1/09—1/14/13. I collaborated with Dr. Senyu Chen (University of Minnesota) on this project funded by the USDA-NRICGP Arthropod and Nematode Biology and Management (A) Organismal and Population Biology program. We quantified the effects of crop rotation and tillage on soil suppressiveness to Heterodera glycines. I was responsible for soil community composition and food web structure of predaceous, fungivorous and bacterivorous nematodes and mcirobes associated with associated with biocontrol agents.
Winter pasture and bedded pack management for Vermont dairy farms, 8/08-9/12. I collaborated with Linda Berlin, Jennifer Colby, Rachel Gilker (UVM Center of Sustainable Agriculture, Vermont Pasture Network), and Tom Gilbert (Highfields Center for Composting) on this project funded by the URDA- Natural Resources Conservation Service, Conservation Innovation Grants. Our aim was to develop economically optimal winter grazing and bedded pack management for enhanced pasture land quality and reduced energy and feed costs. Our group was responsible for enumerating whole communities of soil nematodes to genus to compute a maturity index, quantify soil aggregate structure and organic carbon.
Integrated Land-use, Transportation and Environmental Modeling: Complex Systems Approaches and Advanced Policy Applications, 1/08-8/12. I collaborated with Dr. Sarah Taylor Lovell (University of Illinois) on this project funded by the UVM University Transportation Center. Our role in this larger signature project was to quantify impacts of road particulate matter (e.g. road salt, gravel, dust, litter) on the soils and vegetative communities of forests immediately surrounding roadways, based on road type, traffic volume and topography.
Species inventory of nematodes in tropical forests of Costa Rica, 1/05-3/10. I collaborated with Drs. Thomas Powers (University of Nebraska, Lincoln), Robin Giblin-Davis (University of Florida, Ft Lauderdale), S. Patricia Stock (University of Arizona, Tucson), Alejandro Esquivel (Universidad Nacional, Heredia, Costa Rica), Lorena Uribe and Marielos Mora (University of Costa Rica, San Jose) on this project funded by the National Science Foundation Biodiversity Surveys and Inventories.
Climatic Change in Arid Lands: Effects on Soil Biota and Ecosystem Processes, 5/05-4/10. I collaborated with Drs. Cheryl Kuske (Los Alamos National Laboratories, NM) and Jayne Belnap (USGS, Moab, UT) on this project funded by the Department of Energy - Program for Ecosystems Research. Current weather at our field site in Utah. 2006 PI Meeting Report, 2007 PI Meeting Report. University of Vermont, The View (9/18/08), Vermont Quarterly (Summer 2009).
CURRENT AND RECENT PROJECTS