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Our Mission

Our team’s research mission is to improve agroecosystems' productivity, environmental stewardship, and provision of ecosystem services
Mosaic landuse in NE Sardinia, Italy, showing vineyards, cork oak woodlands, and grasslands (photo credit K. Taylor).

Mosaic landuse in NE Sardinia, Italy, showing vineyards, cork oak woodlands, and grasslands (photo credit K. Taylor).

We focus on the quantitative understanding of the interactions among water, nutrients, carbon dioxide and management of agricultural and natural systems. We develop and apply biophysical simulation models, i.e. simplified representations of reality that provide useful insights into the working of the system. Our team’s educational mission is to provide students the broad background and skills underpinning agricultural and natural systems management and modeling, and the ability to advance the knowledge frontier in engineering and natural sciences.

The models are the basis for: (1) framing and executing research, (2) tools for education, (3) repositories of knowledge, and (4) instruments for sharing and interpreting how natural and human factors affect natural and managed systems. Accordingly, our research and educational activities cover diverse topics in vegetation and soil biogeochemistry, crop physiology, agronomy and landscape level processes. We support two simulation modeling systems, Cycles and CropSyst, and collaborate in projects that apply the Penn State Integrated Hydrology Model (PIHM). Students and visiting scholars in our lab investigate from root scale processes to watershed scale nutrient flows.