Feedstock Development programs

Feedstock and Ecosystem Service Modeling Program

This program is building tools to identify the best and most sustainable feedstocks for any given location. This is achieved by the development of state-of-the art models allowing projections of yields, yield stability and ecosystem services of second-generation biofuel feedstocks, while at the same time providing the largest database of actual measurements of these emergent crops.

program Highlights

2014 Highlights

After our second year as a program, we reached a set of key milestones in the development of modeling and informatics tools, and we have continued to apply these tools to understand, predict, and guide the future of sustainable feedstock production. We consolidated disparate modeling projects into a cohesive program, which has allowed us to focus on developing more precise simulations from leaf to global scales. The new model, CropCent, is a “super-model” that integrates features from its parent models, including leaf-level photosynthesis, radiative transfer, and biogeochemistry, that are necessary to support investigations from a single platform. We have also incorporated a new algorithm that is able to simulate the interception of light within a three-dimensional plant canopy and have used this model to understand field-scale effects of row orientation, plant architecture, and row spacing on light interception and photosynthesis. With the biogeochemistry model, we will be able to evaluate the effects of litter removal on soil carbon storage, water content, and greenhouse gas balance. The Biofuel Ecophysiological Traits and Yields database has been improved to make it easier for users to access and contribute data. To support the increased focus on uploading raw (as opposed to published) data, we have added the capacity to represent and query individual plots within research sites. This feature also supports new users. In support of higher resolution global simulations of current and future feedstock production potential and ecosystem services, we have built new sources of data from the climate projections that were published as part of the most recent IPCC report (CMIP-5). To support this work, we have developed new methods that parallelize both data access and computation for high performance computing.

2013 Highlights

Completing our first year as a program, the EBI Ecosystem Modeling program is maturing into a cohesive and productive entity. As requested by the EBI Management in 2011, we have moved toward incorporating all feedstocks, their yields and ecosystem services into a single modeling framework. This is allowing us to develop a cohesive predictive framework that leverages the strengths of the previous models. We have focused on mechanistic simulations that build predictions from first principles of physics and ecophysiology. This approach is particularly appropriate in the context of global change, which requires forecasts of biofuel agroecosystems experiencing novel environments. We have accomplished key tasks of integrating four specialized models previously associated with individual projects and research groups. We started with four models that simulate plant physiology and crop productivity (BioCro), soil biogeochemistry and greenhouse gas production (DayCent) biophysical and water use (AgroIBIS) and radiation (MLCan). We have combined these four models into two functioning meta-models: CropCent combines BioCro and DayCent, while AgroIBIS+ now combines AgroIBIS, BioCro, and MLCan. Our next step will be to combine these two meta-models into a single “super” model. The Super Model will provide a mechanistic framework for scaling small-scale physical and physiological processes to ecosystem, regional, and global-scale predictions of diverse biological and physical processes. The coupling of these models began a year ago and we have been expanding, validating, and applying our second generation of coupled models. We have expanded our applications of these models to include global and future scenarios. In addition, we have integrated geospatial analyses of crop biogeography that optimize yields and ecosystem services on pastures and marginal lands. Our program has influenced external research and benefitted from collaborations through sharing data and training of collaborators. We have continued to build end-user access to our data and model projections. We added new features to the Biofuel Ecophysiological Traits and Yields database (BETYdb) that makes it easier to access data and model output. We have also added productivity models to the PEcAn modeling workflow, which connects our database directly to modeling simulations, quantifies predictive uncertainty, and provides a web interface to global simulations.


Published in 2014

Light to Liquid Fuel: Theoretical and Realized Energy Conversion Efficiency of Plants Using Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) in Arid Conditions, Sarah C. Davis, David S. LeBauer, and Stephen P. Long, Journal of Experimental Botany, V. 65 (13), pp. 3471-3478, doi: 10.1093/jxb/eru163, April 7, 2014. 


The Theoretical Limit to Plant Productivity, Evan H. DeLucia, Nuria Gomez-Casanovas, Jonathan A. Greenberg, Tara W. Hudiburg, Ilsa B. Kantola, Stephen P. Long, Adam D. Miller, Donald R. Ort, and William J. Parton, Environmental Science & Technology, V. 48 (16), pp. 9471-9477, doi: 10.1021/es502348e, July 28, 2014. 


A Quantitative Assessment of a Terrestrial Biosphere Model's Data Needs Across North American Biomes, Michael C. Dietze, Shawn P. Serbin, Carl Davidson, Ankur R. Desai, Xiaohui Feng, Ryan Kelly, Rob Kooper, David LeBauer, Joshua Mantooth, Kenton McHenry and Dan Wang, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, V. 119 (3), pp. 286-300, doi: 10.1002/2013JG0022392, March 19, 2014. 


Bioenergy Crop Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Potential Under a Range of Management Practices, Tara W. Hudiburg, Sarah C. Davis, William Parton, and Evan H. Delucia. Global Change Biology—Bioenergy, doi: 10.1111/gcbb/12152, March 7, 2014. 


Feedstocks for Biofuels and Bioenergy, S. P. Long, A. Karp, M. S. Buckeridge, S. C. Davis, D. Jaiswal, P. H. Moore, S. P. Moose, , D. J. Murphy. S. Onwona-Agyeman, A. Vonshak, book chapter, SCOPE Bioenergy and Sustainability, 2014. 


Sisal/Agave, Sarah C. Davis, Stephen P. Long, Book Chapter, V. M. V. Cruz and D. A. Dierig, eds., Industrial Crops, Springer New York, pp. 335-349, 2014.

Published in 2013

On Improving the Communication Between Models and Data, M. C. Dietze, D. S. LeBauer, R. Kooper, Plant and Cell Environment 36 (9), pp. 1575-1585, doi: 10.1111/pce.12043, January 3, 2013


Toward Cool C Crops, Stephen P. Long and Ashley K. Spence, Annual Review of Plant Biology, doi:10.1146/annurev-arplant-050312-120033, April 13, 2013.


Applicability of Phosphorus Site Indices to Wastewater Effluent-Irrigated CroplandD. Jaiswal and H.A. Elliott, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 68 (3), Vol. 68 no. 3, 228-237, May-June 2013.


Facilitating Feedbacks Between Field Measurements and Ecosystem Models, D. S. LeBauer, D. Wang, M. C. Dietze, Ecological Monographs 83: pp. 133-154.


Translating Probability Density Functions: From R to BUGS and Back Again, D. S. LeBauer, M. C. Dietze, B. M. Bolker, The R Journal, 5(1): pp. 207-209.


Predicting Yields of Short-Rotation Hybrid Poplar (Populus spp.) for the Contiguous U.S. through Model-Data Synthesis, D. Wang, D. S. LeBauer, M. C. Dietze, Ecological Applications 23, pp. 944-958, http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/12-0854.1


Published in 2012

A Regional Comparison of Water Use Efficiency for Miscanthus, Switchgrass and Maize, A. VanLoocke, T. E. Twine, M. Zeri, C. J. Bernacchi, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 164:82-95


Harvesting Carbon from Eastern U.S. Forests: Opportunities and Impacts of an Expanding Bioenergy Industry, S. C. Davis, M. Dietze, E. Delucia, C. Field, S. P. Hamburg, S. Loarie, W. Parton, M. Potts, B. Ramage, D. Wang, H. Youngs, S. P. Long, Forests 3: 370-397.


Impacts of Nitrogen Allocation on Growth and Photosynthesis of Miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus), D. Wang, M.W. Maughan, J. Sun, X. Feng, F. Miguez, D.K. Lee, M.C. Dietze. Global Change Biology - Bioenergy (in press).


Modeling Spatial and Dynamic Variation in Growth, Yield, and Yield Stability of the Bioenergy Crops Miscanthus x giganteus and Panicum virgatum Across the Conterminous United States, F. E. Miguez, M. Maughan, G. A. Bollero, S. P. Long, Global Change Biology – Bioenergy 4: 509-520.


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