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US Egypt Cooperative Research: New Approach for Measuring Crop Evapotranspiration and Updating Crop Coefficients in Egypt: University of California-Davis

Richard Snyder

[email protected]

1104062 <br/><br/>This project supports a cooperative research project by Dr. Richard Snyder, University of California at Davis and Dr. Hassan E-Banna Osman, Agricultural Research Institute (ARC) in Cairo, Egypt and Dr. Atef Swelam, ICARDA, Cairo, Egypt. They plan to work on developing new methodologies to measure actual evapotranspiration (ETc) in Egypt. This will help the Egyptian water policy planners. The goals of this project are to (1) refine and use the SIMETAW model for water demand planning in Egypt and (2) use the calibrated Surface Renewal method (SR) to develop and update crop coefficient (Kc) values for various crops by region in Egypt. Also, this project aims to develop training materials to extend the methodology to the water resources engineers, agronomists, extension agents, and growers. The SIMETAW application program and surface renewal are being used by the State of California to estimate the demand for irrigation water to improve agriculture water resources management. It has the potential to greatly improve our knowledge about the demand for water in crops in Egypt and it will help farmers with on-farm irrigation efficiency. Information on water demand is also needed to efficiently manage water supply and delivery in the Nile Delta and other regions in Egypt. The proposal is to develop and collect the information needed to apply the SIMETAW model for all agro-ecological zones in Egypt and to run the model, test its accuracy, and modify the program as needed to provide the Egyptian irrigation engineers with better statistics on water use under different conditions. In addition, this project will identify where more reference evapotranspiration (ETo) stations are needed to improve the spatial estimation of ETo over Egypt. The PIs will work jointly to install and operate surface renewal stations to measure crop evapotranspiration and to determine crop coefficients. This will help growers to improve their on-farm irrigation efficiency, and it will help Egyptian water management specialists and hydrologists to better manage water flows through the irrigation networks in Egypt. The effort will be beneficial to both the economy and the environment. The first year of the project will mainly be devoted to training, installation of SR stations, and basic data collection. In the second and third years, cooperators will collect data from SR stations to determine ETc and Kc values for various important crops. The third year will focus on educational materials, publishing and dissemination of the project findings.<br/><br/>Intellectual merits: The proposed activity involves application of a water demand model in Egypt and development of crop coefficients for various crop types in Egypt. The research uses surface renewal method to estimate evapotranspiration over Egypt. Software for water budget determination and management over varied croplands has been developed over a number of years, mainly using California locations for testing and calibration. Application to other climates and cropland situations is required to test and calibrate the software. This will be provided by the work in Egypt. Technology transfer will be conducted with workshops and materials. <br/><br/>Broader impacts: Overall water is a critical resource whose management affects all aspects of human life. Agriculture is the biggest water consumer and so better management pays off substantially. This work will contribute to this goal, and is highly important in a region (Middle East) where water is likely to be a contentious issue among nations as well. The research will help scientists in Egypt to devise better methods to estimate evapotranspiration and get better estimates of surface energy budget, and thus help manage water resources better. The research can provide information on exchange coefficients over an arid region. <br/>This proposal is supported under the US-Egypt Joint Fund Program where NSF supports the US side and the Government of Egypt funds the Egyptian side.

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant: The Uluzzian and the Middle-Upper Paleolithic Transition in the Italian Mezzogiorno: Arizona State University

C Michael Barton

[email protected]

With NSF funding and under the supervision of Dr. C. Michael Barton and Dr. Geoffrey A. Clark, Julien Riel-Salvatore will investigate the archeology of the last Neanderthals and the first modern humans in southern Italy. This region, known as the Mezzogiorno, constituted a stable, relatively isolated geographical area during the Late Pleistocene, and has yielded cave sites containing Mousterian, Uluzzian, and Aurignacian archaeological assemblages. The first two industries are thought to have been the handiwork of Neanderthals, while the Aurignacian is more recent and usually attributed to the first modern humans of the Italian peninsula. The archaeological investigation will focus on stone tool technology and economic behavior to test the proposition that the Aurignacian represented a fundamentally different adaptation than either of the earlier industries, and to highlight the unique features of the Uluzzian which was made by some of the last Neanderthals. Stone tools, the most durable and abundant facet of the archaeological record, will be studied to reconstruct land-use patterns and lithic resource utilization, and a study of the patterns of utilization of given rock outcrops will be undertaken to reconstruct the three industries' geographical and social landscapes. A comprehensive radiocarbon dating program will furnish a timeline for the arrival of the Aurignacian in the area and gauge the pace of cultural change during that period, while paleoenvironmental reconstruction based on magnetic susceptibility will test the potential correlation of this arrival with an episode of climatic deterioration.<br/><br/>The proposed research focuses on the behavioral differences that might have given modern humans an adaptive edge over Neanderthals in an ecological refugium located in a geographical cul-de-sac between roughly 40-30,000 years ago. This work will provide fine-grained information on whether the two hominids coexisted in the Mezzogiorno at any point before the disappearance of Neanderthals and, if so, highlight the defining characteristics of the resulting interactions. By framing forager behavior in its larger ecological context, the research will lead to a better understanding of human-environment interactions during that period as well as enable the integration of data from the Mezzogiorno with those from neighboring regions. These insights will ultimately help clarify what it means to be fully human and whether the period under scrutiny attests to the gradual and piecemeal, or relatively rapid and conclusive, apparition of the indicators of behavioral modernity outside of Africa. <br/><br/>More broadly, the project will train the author in the use of innovative analytical methods to directly compare Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherer adaptations with those of their ethnographically-documented counterparts, and potentially identify extinct idiosyncratic behavioral modes not known from extant foragers. By fostering collaboration between Italian and US-based researchers, this project will also encourage scientific dialogue across different research traditions and spur the development of international collaborations. Publication in Italian and Anglo-American peer-reviewed journals will ensure diffusion of the research results to an international scientific audience, while public lectures in the US and Italy will foster an enhanced understanding of the principles of biological and behavioral evolution and of the process of scientific research in the public at large.

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

Collaborative Research: Vertical control of groundwater arsenic concentrations in shallow Bangladesh aquifers: Columbia University

Alexander van Geen

[email protected]

0345688<br/>van Geen<br/><br/>Elevated levels of arsenic (As) in groundwater of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta (GBMD) consumed by tens of millions of people has caused what may be the largest case of human poisoning in recorded history. Although the source of As is natural, the spatial distribution of As in groundwater is highly variable. Field investigations conducted by the team of PIs in Araihazar upazila, Bangladesh, over the past 3 years suggest that in the case of the shallowest aquifers, this spatial variability across 101-102 m is driven vertically by the surface geology: (a) groundwater As concentrations tend to remain low to ~20 m depth wherever sandy deposits extend to the surface, (b) As concentrations are typically elevated in shallow aquifers that are capped by a surface layer of fine silt or clay. Demonstrating the expression of this relationship in a complex fluvio-deltaic environment required the collection of spatially dense data using a novel combination of geophysical and geochemical tools. In this proposal, we propose to apply the new approach developed in Araihazar, which includes on-site measurement of labile sediment properties, to investigate the spatial controls of As in shallow aquifers of several other areas of Bangladesh. <br/>NSF Criterion 1 – Science: Fluvio-deltaic deposits are intrinsically complex systems because their architecture reflects changes in the position and order of stream channels over time. Somewhat serendipitously, this team of PIs has discovered what appears to be a very consistent relationship between the nature of surfacial deposit and the redox state of the underlying aquifers on spatial scales of 101-102 m. If this relationship holds on such scales elsewhere in Bangladesh, it could also explain regional differences in the mean and variability of groundwater As concentrations on spatial scales of 104-105 m throughout the GBM, as wells as similar environments where elevated As in groundwater As has been reported, such as Vietnam and Argentina. The proposed investigation will also set the stage for parallel studies of the impact of surface geology on the microbiology and hydrology of shallow aquifers. <br/>NSF Criterion 2 – Impact: The vast majority of the ~10 million tube wells in Bangladesh are shallow (< 20 m). As more of these wells are tested, the usage of high-As wells for drinking and cooking (as opposed to washing) will hopefully drop. If the hypothesis that redox conditions in shallow aquifers are anchored to the local surface geology can be confirmed in different fluvio-deltaic settings of the GBMD, this knowledge could be used for targeting safe aquifers more effectively. A critical question facing policy makers, however, is whether tube well As concentrations could change over time as irrigation, which draws water primarily from the shallow aquifers, continues. An implication of the hypothesized vertical control by surface geology would be that the spatial distribution of groundwater As concentrations in the shallow aquifers is relatively insensitive to changes in hydrology caused by large-scale groundwater pumping for irrigation. This is clearly important to know since it would reduce the need for repeated testing of tube wells over time and the need for switching irrigation from groundwater to surface water. Finally, our observation might lead to field-scale manipulation of surface deposits to produce low-As groundwater in areas with very few other options.<br/>

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

International Research Fellow Awards: Identifying IndigenousMedicinal Plants and Developing Techniques to Aid in Their Domestication and Use in Agroforestry Systems: Fellowships

Garry Ford

[email protected]

9810300 Ford The International Research Fellow Awards Program enables U.S. scientists and engineers to conduct three to twenty- four months of research abroad. The program's awards provide opportunities for joint research, and the use of unique or complementary facilities, expertise and experimental conditions abroad. This award will support a twelve-month postdoctoral research visit by Dr. Garry Ford to work with Dr. Erick C. M. Fernandes at the International Center for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya. Dr. Ford is going to identify indigenous medicinal plants and develop soil and plant management techniques to aid in their domestication and use in agroforestry systems. He will do an ethnobotanical survey of plants, in the Embu and Machakos districts of Kenya, that are used by the local people as medicines. A detailed plant-material survey will be conducted for the selected phytomedicinal plant species to determine their ecotype range. Also geo-referenced data sets will be gathered for each species and compiled in a geographic information system (GIS) software package. This information will be useful to gain knowledge of agromedicinals and mechanisms for their conservation at the community level. In addition to collaborating with Dr. Fernandes, Dr. Ford will have the opportunity to further his studies by attending international bioresources/natural products workshops and conferences held in Kenya and other parts of Africa, fostering collaborations with his African colleagues. ***

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

The Acquisition of Sesotho Passive: Brown University

Katherine Demuth

[email protected]

This study will provide an in-depth examination of how and when Sesotho-speaking children understand and use complex syntactic structures such as the passive (e.g. The ball was kicked by Chris). In so doing, it will provide critically needed cross-linguistic information about how children learn the structure of language. The results will have a significant impact on our understanding of the constraints on language learning, and the extent to which this is influenced by both biological (maturational) and environmental (language-specific) factors.<br/><br/>The project has several broader impacts. First, it will serve as a stimulus for further research on little studied by genetically important languages, expanding the research database beyond English and other European languages. Second, this data will be made available in the public domain. Third, this project will enhance international collaboration with the National University of Lesotho. Finally, underrepresented students will be provided with a range of educational, research and training opportunities in the fields of linguistics and cognitive science.<br/><br/>This award is co-funded by the International Office of Science and Engineering.

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

Elastic and Inelastic Scattering of Gamma Rays, Award in U.S. and Indian Currencies: University of Pittsburgh

Richard Pratt

[email protected]

Description: This project supports cooperation between Dr. Richard H. Pratt of the University of Pittsburgh and Dr. P.P. Kane of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India. The main research area will be the study of elastic scattering (Rayleigh scattering) and inelastic scattering (bound-electron Compton scattering) of hard x-rays and soft gamma rays by atoms. The focus will be on the atomic physics which appears to largely determine photon-atom scattering. The proposed studies will also provide more accurate data needed by workers in medical diagnostics, applied radiation physics and reactor safety. Objectives include the study of near-threshold effects in elastic scattering, and improved understanding of Compton scattering from tightly-bound inner-shell electrons of high-Z atoms. Scope: The work involves joint experimental and theoretical research between highly-complementary ongoing research programs in photon-atom scattering. The U.S. and Indian scientists have successfully collaborated in research in this area in the past. The research has both basic research interests as well as potential applications that are beneficial to scientists and radiation professionals in the two countries. Training of students is an integral part of the project. The project is being supported under two grants: INT 9019385 to the University of Pittsburgh; INT 9102053 to the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

IRES: US-India International Research, Education, and Industry Experiences for Students in Acoustics and Non-Destructive Evaluation: Auburn University

Chetan Sankar

[email protected]

0623351<br/>Sankar <br/><br/>This is an IRES award that supports academic and industrial research experiences in India for engineering students at Auburn University. The research focus is in the leading edge areas of acoustics and non-destructive evaluation. This project will enable collaboration between Auburn and the IIT Madras where Auburn students will travel to India, team with local Indian students, and work in local industry research laboratories to solve engineering problems in acoustics and non-destructive testing. They will return to the US and their experiences will be collected as case studies for other students. The PIs have extensive experience in both international collaboration and case-study engineering education. The Indian mentors are highly experienced in modeling industrial problems in their laboratories and have well developed linkages with the local industries. This collaboration builds on the strengths of all involved in this project. <br/><br/>In addition to strengthening their research skills, students participating in this project will benefit by broadening their contacts and developing deeper insights into global R&D issues. Collectively, these have the potential to positively impact international collaborative activities in the future. Students not directly participating will gain from the experiences of their peers through case studies, which will be available for use in graduate and undergraduate classrooms at Auburn and potentially at other universities as plans develop for their inclusion in engineering curriculum. <br/>

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

US-Pakistani Developing Collaboration on the Current Estimation and Future Prediction of Micro-hydro Power Potential: Response to a Changing Environment: Oregon State University

Kendra Sharp

[email protected]

1137272 <br/>This project supports a cooperative research project by Dr. Kendra Sharp, Oregon State University, Corvallis and Dr. Ahmed Sohail and others at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Islamabad, Pakistan. They plan to study The PI will conduct preliminary research in collaboration with. They plan to work on finding the parameters that influence the success of micro-hydro power systems, especially for Pakistan where water networks depend on snow melting and rapid flow because of topographical features. They plan to develop the results into a full research proposal to be submitted to NSF or to the US-Pakistan S&T program funded by the State Department. The long-term research objective and expected long-term scientific contribution, is to develop scientific tools for the assessment of current and future small-scale hydro power potential in a defined region with an emphasis on the response to changing (decadal scale) climate. While Pakistan is the specific geographic focus of the proposed work, the present proposal could be viewed as a template for the study of other regions as well.<br/><br/>Intellectual merit: The PI has correctly identified a need for undertaking long-term assessment of micro-hydroelectric potential, and proposes activities for providing technical support to undertake such an assessment. She has the necessary background to undertake the proposed activities, and she has demonstrated experience working in Pakistan very recently, and has developed contacts that are necessary to completing the project. The expertise of Sharp and Sohail are complementary, to perform preliminary analysis and long-term evaluation of micro-hydroelectric power potential in Pakistan, seeking sufficient and spatially high-resolution regional data regarding spatial and temporal variation in precipitation and temperature. They want to eventually map locations of all potential micro-hydro sites in Pakistan. Micro-hydro is an important technology in the developing world, especially in mountainous regions such as northern Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan. The proposal is timely and points out the complexity of pinpointing micro-hydro sites, including the effect of climate change on water resources and their distribution. <br/><br/>Broader impacts: The project would support of graduate and undergraduate training, help develop a collaborative relationship between OSU and NUST with the potential for ongoing exchange of students and faculty. The project includes outreach in terms of a workshop, and can add to educational material for use in undergraduate or graduate education at OSU. The students could get some interesting experience. It will bring together, in an educational context, aspects of the study of climate change effects and renewable energy. The impact of electricity availability would be significant to the affected populations.

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

US – Egypt Cooperative Research: Studying Air Quality Dynamics in Cairo, Egypt Using A Linear Genetic Programming Approach Over Remotely Sensed Atmospheric Parameters: Chapman University

Hesham El-Askary

[email protected]

This collaborative research project is being undertaken by Dr. Hesham El-Askary, Chapman University, and Dr. Ahmad Mahmoud, Cairo University, Egypt, to identify the sources of atmospheric aerosol pollutants that frequently settle over the Egyptian City of Cairo and its surrounding Greater Nile Delta region.<br/><br/>The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report emphasizes the impacts of urban pollution on the surface energy budget. Cairo, Egypt is a highly populated urban area characterized by rapid land use and land cover changes, activities that affect the local climate. Traditional statistical and signal processing techniques applied to satellite derived observations over Cairo have shown varying degrees of natural and anthropogenic pollution. Excess aerosol episodes (namely dust storms and pollution) of varying magnitude have been found to occur over Cairo and other cities in the Greater Nile Delta region concurrently on the same months of April and October for the years under investigation. Among the data observed, there is an upward trend of water vapor content, confirming a potential aerosol contribution to localized climate change. The PI plans to use various aerosol derived satellite parameters over an extended time period. These parameters will be coupled with linear genetic programming (LGP) technology to achieve better climate modeling for the purpose of understanding the effects of different air pollution episodes over Cairo. Such coupling will provide insight into the microphysics of the air dynamics and enhance the understanding of the role and degree of contribution or the level of impact of different atmospheric parameters under investigation. The obtained output can be utilized for the identification and control of pollution sources to provide first hand corrective actions, proper management and policy recommendations. <br/><br/>This collaborative research project involves international research opportunities for a junior scientist at Chapman University. Further, it will enhance international collaborative efforts at the university, as well as the international content of undergraduate courses taught by the PI.<br/><br/>The project is funded under the US-Egypt Joint Fund Program, which provides grants to scientists and engineers in both countries to undertake cooperative research.<br/><br/>

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

Doctoral Dissertation Research: Gut Microbiomes of Hunter-Gatherers: Roles of Diet and Helminths: University of Pennsylvania

Sarah Tishkoff

[email protected]

The human gut contains microorganisms (gut microbiome) that have complex interactions with one another and their human hosts. Recent research on microbiome diversity and composition has shown that the gut microbiome (GM) has a large influence on nutrition, metabolism, and immune response. These studies have focused primarily on urban populations from industrialized countries that have increased access to health resources and diets enriched in highly-processed food. However, less is known about the GM in non-industrialized settings. The shift from hunting and gathering to agriculturalist and pastoralist practices occurred relatively recent in human history (within the last 10,000 years), and modern hunter-gatherers may possess novel GM composition. This project will study the GM of African populations who have adapted to a range of environments and foods as they spread through the continent, to understand how GMs have co-evolved with their human hosts and with human parasites. The research will expand what is known about normal human variation in GMs, and how differences in the microbiome (including in the industrialized world) may influence health. The project will support teaching and training opportunities for students, local community outreach, education and capacity building at the study sites, and international collaborations.<br/><br/>This research will assess fundamental questions about human adaptation and biology by characterizing GMs and soil-transmitted helminth (STH) and schistosomiasis (collectively referred to as helminths) parasite infections across ethnically and geographically diverse African populations with a range of subsistence practices. Fecal samples, ethnographic data, and nutrition surveys will be collected from African pastoralists, agriculturalists, and hunter-gatherers. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) will be used to test fecal DNA for several common species of helminths, including the giant roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides and fluke Schistosoma mansoni. Next-generation sequencing of 16S ribosomal bacterial and archaeal DNA (16S rDNA) and internal transcribed spacer (ITS1) region of fungal DNA will characterize GMs, and association testing will be done on GM composition and diversity with diet, subsistence, geography, presence, absence, and abundance of helminths, and genetic ancestry. The research expands knowledge of the spectrum of normal human variation in GM and the impact of helminth infection on GM composition. This project is also of broader significance for global public health since helminth infection is a major disease burden in Africa. This project can increase our biomedical understanding of the distribution of helminths and their relationships with GM composition as potentially correlated factors in the pathogenesis of disease.

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