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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
  • Allison J Miller
  • (314) 587-1232
  • James D Bever
  • Kayri Havens
  • Sarah Lovell
  • Kristine L Callis-Duehl
Award Date:07/28/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 12,499,623
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 4,601,122
  • FY 2021=$4,601,122
Start Date:09/01/2021
End Date:08/31/2026
Transaction Type: Cooperative Agreements
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.074
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:BII: New Roots for Restoration: integrating plant traits, communities, and the soil ecosphere to advance restoration of natural and agricultural systems
Federal Award ID Number:2120153
DUNS ID:044193006
Parent DUNS ID:044193006
Program:Cross-BIO Activities
Program Officer:
  • Anne W. Sylvester
  • (703) 292-7168

Awardee Location

Street:975 N. Warson Rd.
City:St. Louis
County:Saint Louis
Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Street:975 North Warson Road
City:St. Louis
County:Saint Louis
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

Land-use conversion in urban and rural areas has impacted >75% of lands globally, resulting in ~50% loss of the world’s topsoil in the last 150 years. Informed selection of plants based on an understanding of how they interact with each other and with the soil will enable restoration of degraded lands in natural and agricultural systems. Through their root systems, plants connect aboveground components of ecosystems to the soil; however, how plant traits, from roots to shoots (stems and leaves), govern these connections remains poorly known. Plants are unusual among organisms because half of the plant body lives aboveground, in air, while the other half lives belowground, in soil. The scientific mission of the New Roots for Restoration Biology Integration Institute is to address land losses by understanding how the soil ecosphere (soil and soil microbes) and the plant community influences above and below ground variation in plant traits, and vice versa: how do above- and belowground plant traits influence properties of plant communities and the soil ecosphere? Scientific advances made by the Institute will improve our ability to predict below-ground functional traits based on above-ground structures. This information can be applied to accelerate breeding (for perennial crops) and select suitably diverse plants (for wild species) for use in ecologically and functionally appropriate efforts to restore natural and agricultural ecosystems. Recognizing that restoration requires a diverse, nimble workforce that spans disciplines, the Institute establishes education, training, diversifying, and outreach intentionally designed with many points of entry and ready mobility across labs and institutions. The New Roots for Restoration Biology Integration Institute advances the critical, cross-cutting biological theme of how plant roots and shoots relate to one another, and how those relationships influence and are influenced by plant communities and the soil ecosphere. Scientific activities focus on genetic and environmental determinants of perennial plant phenotypes, and the influence of perennial phenotypes on communities and ecosystems using representative species from three prominent plant families (Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Poaceae). A series of concentric circles orient research activities: at the core are plant organismal systems, in which contemporary phenotyping approaches quantify root and shoot systems and are used to understand how above- and belowground plant traits covary among individuals, populations, and species. Next, plants are placed in population and community contexts to investigate how patterns of above- and belowground trait covariation shift across populations and as a function of plant community composition. To understand interactions between plants, communities, and the soil ecosphere, new experiments examine how soil and soil microbiome mediate root/shoot variation and interactions of populations and plant species, and vice versa. Finally, structural equation modeling is used to assess relative importance of plant phenotypic variation, species, communities, and site properties to changes in soil. New Roots for Restoration engages researchers from disparate disciplines (agroecology, community ecology, computer science, genetics, plant biology, restoration, soil microbial ecology, soil science), research contexts (natural, agricultural systems), and organizations (non-profit research institutes, universities, botanical gardens), and is supported by Institute Expertise Cores that provide technical training and data consistency across projects. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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