Schulte Moore of Iowa State named 2021 MacArthur Fellow • News Service • Iowa State University

Lisa Schulte Moore’s research team has made many advances in understanding and managing native grasslands in agricultural landscapes that have far-reaching environmental benefits. Schulte Moore has been named the 2021 MacArthur Fellow. Image courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Bigger picture.

AMES, Iowa – Lisa Schulte Moore, professor of ecology and natural resource management at Iowa State University, has been named a 2021 MacArthur Fellow. Prestigious awards, sometimes called “engineering grants,” identify scientists, artists , entrepreneurs and others who have demonstrated exceptional creativity and promise important future breakthroughs.

Schulte Moore is the first ISU faculty member to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. She has conducted groundbreaking research as a landscape ecologist working closely with farmers to build more sustainable and resilient farming systems. She pushes the boundaries of her field by incorporating other disciplines traditionally considered to go beyond ecology – economics, engineering and sociology, for example – to address critical challenges such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, water quality and rural exodus.

“I think my job is to put a puzzle together and I’m always looking for the missing piece of the puzzle,” she said. “Where do I go or what do I need to learn to get the next part?” I’ve found that sometimes you have to build and paint the puzzle piece yourself, and that’s part of the fun of science.

“Dr. Schulte Moore represents the best of Iowa State University. His selection for the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship is an extraordinary endorsement of his promising research and academic excellence in the fields of agriculture, ecology, forestry and human-landscape interactions, “said Wendy Wintersteen, president of Iowa State University.” She is a true champion of land grants. Dr. Schulte Moore recognizes the value of incorporating various disciplines into her research in order to address the pressing and complex global challenges of society.

About Schulte Moore’s research

Schulte Moore, a first generation student in her family, received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire in 1993, a Master of Science degree from the University of Minnesota at Duluth, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She joined the faculty of Iowa State University in 2003.

Much of his research focuses on integrating native grassland perennials into farming systems to support new markets and protect water quality, soil and wildlife habitat. She has published over 100 scientific and educational articles in leading journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Ecology and Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment.

Schulte Moore’s instrumental role in the Grassland BANDS The research team made many advances in understanding and managing native grasslands in agricultural landscapes that have far-reaching environmental benefits. Conventional cultivation of corn and soybeans can deplete topsoil, and runoff of nutrients from agricultural fields can pollute waterways and contribute to dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico. But she and her colleagues have shown that meadow strips can reduce soil loss from nearby agricultural fields by 95% and nitrogen and phosphorus runoff by 70-80% by putting more roots in the soil to maintain. soil and nutrients in place.

Schulte Moore has been instrumental in many outreach efforts to encourage adoption of grassland strips by farmers and landowners, and she said their contribution has been critical to the success of the program. Grassland strips are now in use in 14 states on more than 115,000 acres of cropland. The federal conservation reserve program first recognized prairie strips as a conservation practice eligible for government financial support as a result of the 2018 Farm Bill. USDA has sought advice from Schulte Moore and other ISU staff when developing policies to implement grassland strips under the law.

Schulte Moore is also the lead developer of People In Ecosystems Watershed Integration (PEWI), a computer simulation that shows how land use practices impact soil, water, crop production, and wildlife habitat. And she heads the Consortium for Cultivating Human and Natural Regenerative Enterprise (C-CHANGE), which received a $ 10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop new value chains for U.S. farmers, especially the production of renewable natural gas from the biomass of perennial plants. grasses. She said this type of research, developing new markets and creating new incentives for producers to establish diverse perennial vegetation on farms, will be the backbone of her future research.

“I am working to show the full value of native ecosystems in the Midwest and figure out how to turn it into financial value for farmers and rural communities,” she said.

The MacArthur scholarship

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced 25 MacArthur Fellows for 2021 Tuesday. Schulte Moore will receive an unconditional award of $ 625,000 as part of the scholarship as an investment in the potential of his work.

The foundation selects scholarship holders who demonstrate exceptional creativity, promise important future breakthroughs based on a track record of significant achievement and the scholarship’s potential to facilitate future creative work.

Nominees are brought to the attention of the program through an ever-evolving pool of invited external nominators chosen from as wide a range of fields and areas of interest as possible, according to the foundation’s website. Nominations are evaluated by an independent selection committee made up of a dozen leaders in the arts, sciences, humanities, and for-profit and not-for-profit communities. Proposers, reviewers and selectors all serve anonymously, and their correspondence is kept confidential to prevent outside influence on the selection process.

While the scholarship is individual recognition, Schulte Moore attributes the collaborative atmosphere to Iowa State as a critical part of its success.

“My job is not possible without great teammates,” she said. “I am truly honored and touched by this award, but I cannot do my job without the help and expertise of many people in the State of Iowa and beyond. “


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