University of Idaho
  • Moscow, Idaho, United States
Recent publications
Predicting phenotype from genotype is a central challenge in biology. By understanding genomic information to predict and improve traits, scientists can address the challenges and opportunities of achieving sustainable genetic improvement of complex, economically important traits in agriculturally relevant species. Converting the enormous, recent technical advances in all areas of genomics and phenomics into sustained and ecologically responsible improvements in food and fuel production is complex. It will require engaging agricultural genome to phenome (G2P) experts, drawing from a broad community, including crop and livestock scientists and essential integrative disciplines (e.g., engineers, economists, data and social scientists). To achieve this vision, the USDA NIFA-funded project inaugurating the Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative (AG2PI) is working to: Develop a cohesive vision for agricultural G2P research by identifying research gaps and opportunities; advancing community solutions to these challenges and gaps; and rapidly disseminating findings to the broader community. Towards these ends, this AG2PI project is organizing virtual field days, conferences, training workshops, and awarding seed grants to conceive new insights (details at Since October 2020, more than 10,000 unique participants from every inhabited continent have engaged in these activities. To illustrate AG2PI’s scope, we present survey results on agricultural G2P research needs and opportunities, highlighting opinions and suggestions for the future. We invite stakeholders interested in this complex but critical effort to help create an optimal, sustainable food supply for society and challenge the community to add to our vision for future accomplishments by a fully actualized AG2PI enterprise.
Highlights A novel amide-based nonflammable electrolyte is proposed. The formation mechanism and solvation chemistry are investigated by molecular dynamics simulations and density functional theory. An inorganic/organic-rich solid electrolyte interphase with an abundance of LiF, Li 3 N and Li–N–C is in situ formed, leading to spherical lithium deposition. The amide-based electrolyte can enable stable cycling performance at room temperature and 60 ℃. Abstract The formation of lithium dendrites and the safety hazards arising from flammable liquid electrolytes have seriously hindered the development of high-energy-density lithium metal batteries. Herein, an emerging amide-based electrolyte is proposed, containing LiTFSI and butyrolactam in different molar ratios. 1,1,2,2-Tetrafluoroethyl-2,2,3,3-tetrafluoropropylether and fluoroethylene carbonate are introduced into the amide-based electrolyte as counter solvent and additives. The well-designed amide-based electrolyte possesses nonflammability, high ionic conductivity, high thermal stability and electrochemical stability (> 4.7 V). Besides, an inorganic/organic-rich solid electrolyte interphase with an abundance of LiF, Li 3 N and Li–N–C is in situ formed, leading to spherical lithium deposition. The formation mechanism and solvation chemistry of amide-based electrolyte are further investigated by molecular dynamics simulations and density functional theory. When applied in Li metal batteries with LiFePO 4 and LiMn 2 O 4 cathode, the amide-based electrolyte can enable stable cycling performance at room temperature and 60 ℃. This study provides a new insight into the development of amide-based electrolytes for lithium metal batteries.
The atmosphere contains a diverse reservoir of microbes but the sources and factors contributing to microbial aerosol variability are not well constrained. To advance understanding of microbial emissions in wildfire smoke, we used unmanned aircraft systems to analyze the aerosols above high-intensity forest fires in the western United States. Our results show that samples of the smoke contained ~four-fold higher concentrations of cells (1.02 ± 0.26 × 10 ⁵ m ⁻³ ) compared to background air, with 78% of microbes in smoke inferred to be viable. Fivefold higher taxon richness and ~threefold enrichment of ice nucleating particle concentrations in smoke implies that wildfires are an important source of diverse bacteria and fungi as well as meteorologically relevant aerosols. We estimate that such fires emit 3.71 × 10 ¹⁴ microbial cells ha ⁻¹ under typical wildfire conditions in western US forests and demonstrate that wildland biomass combustion has a large-scale influence on the local atmospheric microbial assemblages. Given the long-range transport of wildfire smoke emissions, these results expand the concept of a wildfire’s perimeter of biological impact and have implications to biogeography, gene flow, the dispersal of plant, animal, and human pathogens, and meteorology.
This article introduces formation as an organizing model for lifelong learning and places existing lifelong learning theory into this larger context. Further, in order to demonstrate how this framework might be applied, we suggest a lifelong learning agenda based on formation, which includes intentionality, meta‐learning skills, and meta‐practices. Meta‐learning skills are strategic tools for facilitating lifelong, profound formation, while meta‐practices are the strategic implementation of those meta‐learning skills. Lifelong learning as continual formation has substructures such as deformation, reformation, and transformation. Profound learning practices lead toward profound living, more broadly described as human flourishing.
The emergence of the cellulosic bioeconomy requires not only adequate technological, economic, and policy advances, but also effective communication and coordination among the multiple stakeholders in the bioeconomy community. Aiming to facilitate stakeholder communication and collaboration for cellulosic bioeconomy growth, an agent-based model is developed as a community communication tool in this study. The tool simulates the behaviors and interactions of key stakeholders, as well as the responses and interactions between the stakeholders and biophysical, socioeconomic, and environmental conditions. The agent behavior rules are developed and validated based on behavior and economic theories and information attained from a stakeholder focus group study and a land use survey. A pilot study in a Central Illinois watershed shows stakeholder synergies, i.e., positive feedback loops across multiple stakeholders. The modeling tool's role in facilitating community communication is demonstrated via the focus group study. A comparison of policy scenarios suggests that the cellulosic bioeconomy development is fastest under a portfolio of policies combining the views of the multiple stakeholders. Critically, subsidy for small-scale bio-facilities is essential as it rapidly initializes an early market for cellulosic feedstocks and the adoption of Miscanthus. The communication tool is applied to bringing stakeholders and researchers together to develop shared visions, assess barriers, and explore solution portfolios to initialize and speed up the regional cellulosic bioeconomy.
Managers of insect-pollinated orchards face many decisions that can significantly influence crop yields, including managing pollination through use of beehives or the layout of cultivars in the orchard. Understanding the relative importance and interactions between these multiple decisions through empirical field trials is rarely possible, so modeling approaches can provide valuable insights and generate new hypotheses. Based on kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis var. deliciosa (A. Chev.) A. Chev. ‘Hayward’), a dioecious fruiting vine, as an exemplar, we used a spatially-explicit system of differential equations on a lattice to explore the effects of overlap of male and female flowers, hive placements within the orchard, and orchard layout on the predicted pollination success. In our model, hive placement and orchard layout influenced the proportion of fruit set in an orchard more strongly than male and female flowering synchrony. Simulations with hives distributed evenly around the orchard had the most fruit set, while hives located at a single point resulted in relatively low fruit set. Our model showed that the effect of hive distribution was more important for fruit production than planting regime. We have demonstrated how such a model can be used to provide key information for orchardists to optimize their yields. Our model predicts that while orchard planting decisions are important, the consideration of hive placement during flowering is likely to have greater influence on final orchard productivity in functionally dioecious crops.
Topographic variation within fluvial systems is essential for providing a mosaic of physical habitats and supporting the dynamic hydraulic, geochemical, and biological processes that determine both aquatic and riparian ecosystem function. In highly-modified rivers through both urban and rural settings, the physical heterogeneity of alluvial channels has been diminished by anthropogenic activities. As riparian areas are increasingly under pressure from agricultural and urban development, identifying the geomorphic controls on physical heterogeneity through these environments is critical. In this study, we use the bed coefficient of variation (CV) extracted from a high-resolution bathymetric LiDAR survey as a dimensionless metric for topographic variation and physical heterogeneity over 100 km of the Boise River corridor that spans an urban-rural gradient. Our CV results for both the streambed and channel demonstrate that the average topographic variation of reaches in urban areas is 22–25% lower than reaches located in rural areas along the same river. While these results initially support the application of the urban stream syndrome hypothesis, CV values had similar magnitudes in both urban and rural reaches suggesting there is a dominant control on topographic variation that was not directly related to urban land use. Analysis of CV values relative to normalized levee width indicates that the causative driver of morphologic simplification in the channel was lateral constraints from levees. In the Boise River, topographic variation increased linearly with normalized levee widths that ranged between 50% and >300% of the average channel width. Further, topographic variation was maximized in reaches where flow expansion during high discharge inundated between 1 and 2 times the average channel width (approximately 65–70% of the available floodplain). Our simple and objective watershed-scale approach leverages high-resolution topography data to identify reaches of high physical heterogeneity for river conservation, as well as help guide environmental flow releases in managed rivers.
One of the important premises of unattended operation, a highly promoted characteristic of fission batteries and advanced microreactors, is the ability to automate the analysis of sensors data used in support of operational monitoring and control. To meet this vision, this work proposes a new monitoring and data recovery paradigm to ensure resilience against data corruption which may be the result of malicious intrusion into the reactor operational network. This is paramount to ensure 100% availability under contingency scenarios such as cyberattacks. In support of this vision, earlier work has presented the concept of covert cognizance and demonstrated its mathematical ability to identify and embed cognizance parameters under the noise-dominated null space of the sensors data. This work extends this concept and applies it in real-time to demonstrate three key characteristics: zero-impact, zero-observability, and data recovery, where the first characteristic is to ensure no impact on operation, the second is immunity to discovery by pattern recognition techniques, and the third is to allow recovery of corrupt or falsified data. Recognizing that fission batteries are designed to operate under steady state most of the time, we elect to employ a small modular reactor model under transient operational conditions to demonstrate the operational resilience enabled by the covert cognizance paradigm. Specifically, the PI controller is augmented with the covert cognizance modules to develop self-awareness and enable automatic data recovery. The developed modules are expected to be equally applicable to a wide range of advanced reactor technologies relying on full or partial unattended control.
Using price data from the lower 48 states, we find that regional natural gas market in the US has become less integrated since the rise of shale production. Price pairs for those states with significant shale production, as well as for major consumption states, show a particularly high reduction in integration. However, the degree of integration has stabilized in recent years, especially after 2016. For state pairs with integrated prices, we show that it takes longer to correct any disequilibrium from the long-run price relationship during the shale boom, indicating slower information transmission. Pipeline capacity and distances play a key role in determining information transmission throughout the sample period, while production, consumption, and storage levels have become more important in recent years. The analysis suggests significant welfare gains from efforts to improve natural gas market integration, such as pipeline and storage capacity expansion projects.
We report new coupled zircon U-Pb age and Hf isotope data, along with whole-rock Hf-Nd isotope data for 20 samples from the Priest River and Clearwater complexes—Neoarchean and Paleoproterozoic basement exposures in northern Idaho, northwest Laurentia. The new zircon data reveal two well-defined periods of magmatism at ∼ 2.66 and ∼ 1.86 Ga in each complex, with no evidence of any intervening or older magmatic events. Positive zircon initial εHf values of the Neoarchean rocks (+1 to +3) indicate juvenile magmas derived from a depleted mantle source. The Paleoproterozoic rocks, in both complexes, share a much wider range of initial zircon εHf values (−7 to +6) which suggests magmas derived from a depleted mantle source intruded and assimilated pre-existing Neoarchean continental crust. The shared age and isotope compositions in the Priest River and Clearwater complexes suggest that the two complexes likely belong to a single crustal block—the Clearwater block. Based on these new zircon U-Pb ages and Hf isotopic data of the Neoarchean and Paleoproterozoic rocks, the Clearwater block is shown to be distinct from the nearby Wyoming Province, the Medicine Hat block, and components of the Great Falls tectonic zone. We also report new zircon Hf isotope data for the ∼ 1.58 Ga Laclede orthogneiss in the Clearwater block, which along with published U-Pb and Hf isotope constraints, support a paleogeographic connection between the Gawler craton, East Antarctica, and northwestern Laurentia during ∼ 1.9 Ga to ∼ 1.6 Ga. Comparison with other examples of co-existing Neoarchean and Paleoproterozoic igneous rocks present in other continents suggests that the global record of 2.7–2.5 Ga magmatism often represents new crustal additions from a depleted mantle reservoir. The record of 2.0–1.7 Ga rocks also represent additions of juvenile magma, but with significantly larger contributions from pre-existing continental crust. In many cases the 2.0–1.7 Ga crust preserved on Earth today was added during the assembly of the supercontinent Nuna.
The existing variation among pea protein isolates’ functionality limits their application in food formulations. The source and extent of variations among yellow pea protein profiles was assessed in 10 single seeds of two varieties with different size and weight. A new approach was developed to analyze proteins of yellow pea combining three analytical methods of size exclusion chromatography (SEC), reverse phase high performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC), and microfluidic SDS-PAGE, to achieve the highest separation resolution. A high variation of protein concentration was observed not only between varieties, but also among seeds of the same variety. Vicilin to legumin ratio was between 2.72–4.19, and 1.70–2.22 among the individual seeds of AC Agassiz and CDC Saffron varieties, respectively. V/L ratio was significantly different among the individual seeds for both varieties. The amount of some protein fractions/subunits were correlated with seeds’ size and weight for AC Agassiz, while such correlations were not observed for CDC Saffron.
The dysregulation in heat balance, the main cause of exertional heat stroke, occurs not only in midsummer but also in the cold season. Possible causes of this are a reduction in convection and evaporation due to tailwinds and an acceleration of radiant heat inflow. Although the amount of radiant heat that reaches the surface can be estimated, the actual amount of heat that flows into the body cannot be specified yet. This paper made an experimental attempt at this. A device is made up of a temperature controllable heat sink and heat flow detector, which keeps the surface temperature constant and has a heat exchange coefficient comparable to that of the human body surface. The output of this device (total heat exchange) was divided into radiant heat exchange and other heat exchange using a standard radiant heat calibrator, Leslie cube. A phenomenon, in which a wet surface while the surface temperature was low absorbed larger heat than that of the dry surface, was found. And authors named this “hidden heat inflow”. As a result of multiple regression analyses, both radiant heat exchange and other heat exchanges are closely related to the surface temperature, and the maximum difference in total heat exchange during the experiment reached 200 kcal/m2/h. It has been suggested that this phenomenon may also occur on the surface of human skin. One of the causes of this “hidden heat inflow” is considered to be the decrease in evaporative cooling due to the decrease in surface temperature. However, this alone cannot explain all of the phenomena, so water vapor aggregation may also be involved. A “hidden heat inflow” as a sufficient heat source for exertional heat stroke or collapse during a marathon race on a cold day was evidenced experimentally.
1. Rapid technological advancements and increasing data availability have improved the capacity to monitor and evaluate Earth’s ecology via remote sensing. However, remote sensing is notoriously ‘blind’ to fine‐scale ecological processes such as interactions among plants, which encompass a central topic in ecology. 2. Here, we discuss how remote sensing technologies can help infer plant‐plant interactions and their roles in shaping plant‐based systems at individual, community, and landscape levels. At each of these levels, we outline the key attributes of ecosystems that emerge as a product of plant‐plant interactions and could possibly be detected by remote sensing data. We review the theoretical bases, approaches, and prospects of how inference of plant‐plant interactions can be assessed remotely. 3. At the individual level, we illustrate how close‐range remote sensing tools can help to infer plant‐plant interactions, especially in experimental settings. At the community level, we use forests to illustrate how remotely‐sensed community structure can be used to infer dominant interactions as a fundamental force in shaping plant communities. At the landscape level, we highlight how remotely‐sensed attributes of vegetation states and spatial vegetation patterns can be used to assess the role of local plant‐plant interactions in shaping landscape ecological systems. 4. Synthesis. Remote sensing extends the domain of plant ecology to broader and finer spatial scales, assisting to scale ecological patterns and search for generic rules. Robust remote sensing approaches are likely to extend our understanding of how plant‐plant interactions shape ecological processes across scales – from individuals to landscapes. Combining these approaches with theories, models, experiments, data‐driven approaches, and data analysis algorithms will firmly embed remote sensing techniques into ecological context and open new pathways to better understand biotic interactions.
A composite mixture of wood fiber and sodium silicate (SS) binder has been explored as a viable material for use in additive manufacture of wood based composite materials. Mixtures of 50–60% wood fiber and 50 − 40% SS were explored. The curing behavior of these formulations were examined by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and dynamic rheometry. An exothermic curing peak of 83 °C was observed for SS and increased to 153 and 163 °C with the addition of wood fiber. Rheology flow curves showed higher viscosity values for 50/50 blends and lower values for SS. A custom extrusion system was fabricated and 50/50 wet blends were extruded, cured at different temperatures, and characterized for flame retardancy, mechanical, thermal, and water absorption properties. Surface chemistry changes before and after curing were determined by Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Mechanical properties, determined by three-point bend testing, improved with the addition of the wood fiber but varied with different curing temperatures and thermal stability of the composites increased with curing temperature. This extruded wood-SS composite shows promise for use in additive manufacturing.
Increased wildfire activity has led to renewed interest in enhancing local capacity to reduce wildfire risk in residential areas. Local fire departments (LFDs) are often the first responders to rural wildfires. However, LFDs may also struggle to address service demands in the growing wildland urban interface, including increasing numbers of wildfire incidents and changes in area socio-demographics (e.g., aging populations) or culture (e.g., decreasing volunteerism, new residents). We used a mixed-mode survey (n = 770) to explore rural perceptions of various fire service organizations (FSOs), including LFDs, in wildfire-prone areas of northeastern Washington State, USA. We also explore relationships between perceptions of LFD capabilities or capacity (e.g., personnel, LFD ability to respond to private property during a wildfire event) and resident performance of eleven wildfire risk mitigation activities that contribute to home defense (e.g., development of a water supply, installing sprinklers). We found that study participants have relatively high levels of trust in LFD's to respond to a wildfire event on their properties. This trust is also slightly higher than the amount of trust placed in other FSOs (e.g., state, federal, private contractors). Respondents also largely understand that LFDs do not have sufficient capacity or capability to respond when wildfire events impact multiple private properties in their area. Trust in LFDs was significantly and negatively correlated with resident installation of fire-resistant siding, installation of sprinklers on their home, and placing firewood or lumber more than 30 feet (∼9 m) from their dwelling. Similarly, respondents' perceptions of LFD capacity and capabilities was significantly and negatively correlated with purchasing a generator and stacking firewood more than 30 feet (∼9 m) from their home. Our results suggest that perceptions of FSOs have the potential associations with resident performance of select wildfire mitigation actions (e.g., firewood placement, installation of non-flammable siding). However, they also were not significantly related to many other mitigations suggested for residents to complete as part of broader wildfire management strategies (e.g., driveway clearance, water supply establishment, safe zone creation).
The Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) concept is a rapidly evolving Generation IV design that has recently attracted favorable attention due to the potential for reducing waste generation, realizing passive safety features, and seizing on the opportunity for cost effective economics. An investigation into the power transient behavior of an autonomous load-following, closed-loop, natural circulation MSR system is important to quantifying operational and safety performance under dynamic conditions. This paper presents the results of a STAR-CCM+ and a comparatively simple asymmetric, one-dimensional, numerical model to solve the compound dynamic MSR power behavior subject to flow and temperature reactivity feedback only. Results show that reactor power is affected by fuel salt flow velocity (global) and temperatures (local bulk volume averages) in a coupled, time-delayed manner that results in a unique compound dynamic, closed-loop power feedback mechanism. The 1-D simulation approach opens the possibility of performing inexpensive computations to evaluate time-dependent reactor performance relative to thermo-physical fuel salt limitations. Results also potentially motivate a convincing conclusion that natural circulation MSRs provide a leap in safety and reliability.
We imaged the near-surface sedimentary structures of a large linear dune, flanking dune forms and an associated crossing linear dune never before studied in the northern Namib Sand Sea using 200-MHz Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR). The dry, uniform sandy conditions and wavelength used allowed for highly detailed observations of sedimentary structures to depths of ∼ 12 m across a >1km lateral scan. Sedimentary features observed in the main linear dune include scouring and abrupt changes in strata such as trough cross stratification (TCS), onlap, downlap, truncation and avalanche-related bedding, all a result of complex sand transport conditions. Different phases of deposition have produced an opposed succession of strata on each side of the dune. These successions alternate 2-dimensional (2D), or bedform instability mode features with 3-dimensional (3D), or fingering mode features, separated by a clear process boundary. These alternating successions reflect a change in the dominant wind environment in the recent past. The changing winds may feed into the building and overall stability of this dune field and may be a model for conditions in other large linear/longitudinal dune fields. The subsurface structure of an oblique crossing linear dune demonstrates sand transport generally down the dune long axis in the direction predicted from modern, ERA-Interim model as well as paleoclimate model winds. This suggests relatively long-term stability of this intermediate-sized landform and the potential long-term coexistence of large dunes and secondary forms. These studies have implications for the extensive sand seas of Titan, where lack of large secondary forms may indicate a simple wind regime over long time periods.
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3,571 members
Leslie Baker
  • Department of Geological Sciences
Kenneth E Wallen
  • Department of Natural Resources and Society
Saket Chandra
  • Department of Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences
Ajay Kumar Chinnam
  • Department of Chemistry
Moscow, Idaho, United States