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K-State Today

May 18, 2015

Two K-State faculty receive scholarships for international collaboration

By Chuck Rice and Marcellus Caldas

Two K-State faculty receive scholarships for international collaboration from the National Council of Science and Technology — Science Without Borders Fellowship Program, Brazil.

Chuck Rice, university distinguished professor of agronomy, and Walter Dodds, university distinguished professor of biology, received scholarships from the Science Without Borders Program for visiting research in Brazil.

The scholarship program aims to attract senior foreign researchers recognized internationally to conduct projects with Brazilian research groups and visit Brazil for up to three months each year over two to three years. The program also provides scholarships for Brazilian students, doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers to develop research in Brazil and abroad. The benefits of this fellowship include support for living expenses while the researcher is in Brazil as well as funding for the local laboratory.

Walter Dodds's research in Brazil will study the linkages of primary and secondary production in streams across different biomes. The project is to study the fundamental ecology of streams in the Atlantic coast to the Cerrado region of south central Brazil. The results of this research will aid in understanding a central controlling factor in ecology and help value ecosystem services related to canopy cover, oxygen production and nutrient cycling in Brazilian streams.

Dodds' collaboration in Brazil started a couple years ago when he hosted Davi Gasparini, then a doctoral student from Brazil. Gasparini became a faculty at the São Carlos School of Engineering in the University of São Paulo. Besides University of São Paulo and K-State,  two other partners are part of the project: Rio de Janeiro State University and Southern Illinois University.

Rice's research in Brazil will examine the accumulation of carbon in surface and subsurface soils and the influence on soil health and biodiversity. The goals of the project are to access the carbon storage capacity of conservation agricultural system; evaluate the contribution of roots to soil carbon; characterize the carbon footprint in conservation tillage systems and greenhouse gases; and improve our understanding of the chemical and physical mechanisms for carbon storage in soils. 

Rice has had a long collaboration with Telmo Amado from Federal University of Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul. Rice's collaboration started by meeting Amado at a soil meeting in Brazil. They wrote a grant funded by both countries to support student exchanges between the two universities. Rice hosted Amado on a sabbatical at K-State. The outcome of the fellowship is to better understand how soil management can help mitigate greenhouse gases and adapted to climate change. This project will also will generate information on temperate and tropical agricultural systems that will be used for teaching.