This story was first published in the CASNR NewsCenter. See the original article and all nine 2021 CASNR Undergraduate Research Grant recipients here.
In order to give more opportunity to engage undergraduates in research activities, Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources officials have selected nine standout students to receive 2021 Undergraduate Research Grants.
“These students are really outstanding individuals,” said Christy Bratcher, CASNR's Associate Dean for Research. “Seeing CASNR students get involved in research at the undergraduate level encourages me that we will continue to have excellent students transitioning into our graduate programs.”
The funding will support wages for undergraduate research activities or for supplies to conduct research projects. After completing the project, the student will submit an abstract to a professional society meeting or to a symposium or research conference supported at Texas Tech.
This year's winners who will be working on research in the Department of Plant and Soil Science are:
Brock Buckingham, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Wheeler, Texas. Buckingham's research will focus on unmanned aerial system application in precision agriculture. The study will evaluate different unmanned aerial systems platforms and sensors, including a Phantom Pro 4 and a Phantom Pro 4 RTK (real-time kinematic) with 4k cameras, three-dimensional topographic data acquisition. The accuracy, precision, and efficiency of these systems will be assessed as a basis for practical application in precision agriculture. His project director is Wenxuan Guo, an assistant professor of crop ecophysiology and precision agriculture in the Department of Plant and Soil Science with a joint appointment with Texas AgriLife Research.
Justin Dawsey, a senior natural resources management major from Howe, Texas. Dawsey's research will focus on mapping of silverleaf nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium Cav.) growth patterns for simulating invasion dynamics in a novel environment. The study aims to determine the factors that influence the ability of silverleaf nightshade to invade an area and successfully outcompete the native plants already there. Data will be analyzed statistically to determine silverleaf nightshade growth patterns, and will entered into the EDYS plant growth model to look at long-term patterns of the plant's invasion success. His project director is Cade Coldren, an assistant professor of ecological modeling in the Department of Plant and Soil Science.
Ava Hale, a first year student plant and science major from Spring, Texas. Hale's research will focus on understanding the dynamics of alien chromosome transmission from the wild allotetraploid species, Oryza latifolia Desv. to cultivated rice. The study aims to validate preliminary observations and limited available data on the presence of genetic mechanisms for chromosome elimination in O. latifolia. Among Hale's duties will be setting-up and maintaining of the experimental materials in the greenhouse; manual emasculation and pollination of the experimental materials; and harvesting and planting of the F1 seeds in plug trays. Her project director is Rosalyn Shim, an assistant professor of plant breeding and genetics in the Department of Plant and Soil Science.