ESGSA Student Seminar Series
Speaker: Breanna Ilg, Rutgers University
Seminar Title: Climate Change Induced Drought and its Impacts on Constructed Wetlands
Human activity has accelerated climate change since industrialization began. With rapid changes in global temperatures, severe weather events are becoming more frequent. Droughts, caused by water deficits in rainfall, soil moisture, and groundwater supplies, are one weather anomaly exacerbated by anthropogenic climate change. Droughts are particularly impactful on wetland ecosystems. Constructed wetlands are human made environments which mimic natural wetlands to treat wastewater. Although these wetlands are human made, they are still dependent on the natural environment, as they rely on rainfall and soil moisture to maintain a healthy, functioning ecosystem. Climate change induced drought events have and will continue to impact constructed wetland processes. This talk evaluates how drought impacts constructed wetlands, as well as explores the potential resilience that various vegetation, soil types, and microbial communities have towards water deficit, in order to make recommendations for how to design constructed wetlands in the face of climate change.
Speaker: Mark LaBarge, Rutgers University
Seminar Title: Environmental and Economic Comparison of Zoysiagrass, Bermudagrass, and Creeping Bentgrass Fairways in the Northern Transition Zone
Zoysiagrass (Zoysia spp.) and bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) are warm-season turfgrasses used in the lower transition zone and southern portion of the United States. Cool-season grasses, like creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.), are typically used in the northern portion of the United States and the transition zone. Cool-season grasses are reaching their adaptation limits due to climate change and are bringing about complications in sustainable golf course management. Given the development of cold-hardy zoysiagrass and bermudagrass cultivars, these warm-season grasses offer potential options for superintendents to save money, resources, and have less of an impact on the environment. A series of four studies will commence in the summer of 2022 to determine and quantify the agronomic performance, economic benefits, environmental impact, golfer perceptions, and potential shortcomings of zoysiagrass and bermudagrass used for fairways in the northern transition zone. Study 1 will be a germplasm evaluation of zoysiagrass and bermudagrass cultivars and experimental selections to evaluate their performance in New Jersey climate. Study 2 will be an environmental and economic comparison of the top performing zoysiagrass, bermudagrass, and creeping bentgrass cultivars under fairway maintenance practices. The 3rd and 4th study will determine irrigation requirements of each turfgrass species and if there is a golfer preference in fairway grass species, respectively. This novel, multi-disciplinary approach to evaluating turfgrasses will provide data on warm-season turfgrasses in New Jersey climate and benefits for the golf and sod industries. It will provide a concrete example of the costs, benefits, feasibility, and shortcomings of two warm-season turfgrass species that have not been evaluated in NJ in 30 years. Superintendents and sod growers may benefit from the information found in this study as it can broaden their options for golf course management and sod production in the region.