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Nebraska Remote Researchers

The Crop Root Microbiomes in Your Backyard

Background

To minimize the spread of COVID-19, social distancing and work from home have become a common practice for the people in most parts of Nebraska. Despite these circumstances, it is still possible to ask and answer important scientific questions. We are a group of scientists at University of Nebraska-Lincoln who study crop genomics, phenomics, and crop root associated microbiomes. Specifically, we are interested in how crops, i.e., maize, soybean and sorghum, respond to different environments and recruit different sets of microbes to live on their roots.

Genomics
the study of all of an organism's genes
Phenomics
the study of high-dimensional plant traits
Root Microbiomes
the set of microorganisms associated with plant roots

A group photo of the UNL researchers in their 2019 corn field.

A group photo of the UNL researchers in their 2019 corn field.

Inspiring Young Scientists

Inspiring Young Scientists

This summer, we want to identify nitrogen fixing soil microbes in your neighborhood, and find out if heritable microbes can be consistently recruited to maize and sorghum roots from various locations across the state of Nebraska.

We are looking for about 10 highly motivated high school students who could commit:

  • Six weeks (about five hours per week) to planting, monitoring, and sampling 24 maize and sorghum seedlings
Inspiring Young Scientists

How it works

Shipping planting kits

Shipping planting kits

Planting kits will be shipped to the participants’ home addresses.

Experimenting in backyard

Experimenting in backyard

The participants will conduct the experiment in their backyards according to the detailed instructions provided by the researchers.

Note taking

Note taking

Participants are expected to measure the morphological traits as the plants develop.

Sample processing

Sample processing

Five weeks after planting, root-associated soil samples will be collected and shipped back to the UNL lab. In the lab, microbiome DNA will be extracted for sequencing.

Exploring plant sciences

Exploring plant sciences

Participants will pair with graduate students at UNL to analyze their own data and to explore biological questions.

Requirement checklist

Join us on this scientific adventure!

Closed!

Applications will be accepted until June 8th, 2020. If you have any questions, please refer to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) or contact us at yns@nebraska.edu.

  • You are a highly motivated high school student in Nebraska who is interested in plant sciences.

  • You can find a 10 x 10 ft plot to conduct a planting experiment with the consent from your parents (alternatively, we can provide plastic pots).

  • You can commit about six weeks (about five hours per week) from June to July 2020 to plant and monitor the growth of 24 maize and sorghum seedlings.

Join us on this scientific adventure!

Applications will be accepted until June 8th, 2020. If you have any questions, please refer to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) or contact us at yns@nebraska.edu.

Sponsorship

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