August and September Awards and Grants

Long-Distance Dispersal and Disease Outbreaks: Effects of Initial Prevalence, Basic Reproduction Number, and Control Tactics

Empirical data and modeling studies will be used to: 1) Determine effects of initial disease prevalence, spatial pattern of initial disease prevalence, and basic infection number on disease spread; 2) Compare the efficacy of reactive ring culling, reactive ring vaccination or chemotherapeutic applications, timing and extent of reactive ring treatments, and broad-scale population protection for disease control; and 3) Determine the influence of initial disease prevalence and basic infection number on the efficacy of these control tactics against pathogens exhibiting long-distance dispersal. Modeling studies of wheat stripe rust, foot-and-mouth disease, sudden oak death, and arboviruses will be conducted. Extensive comparative modeling will be conducted through factorial combinations of models and input data among the different diseases. Generalized theory and models will be developed to predict rules-of-thumb for the control of diseases caused by pathogens with long-distance dispersal. Data from natural experiments with sudden oak death and foot-and-mouth disease, and manipulative experiments with wheat stripe rust, will be used for model validation/verification. The project will determine the importance of initial disease prevalence, the spatial pattern of initial disease prevalence, and the basic reproduction number on the spread of diseases caused by pathogens with “fat-tailed” dispersal kernels, and the interaction of these biological variables with control practices such as reactive culling, reactive vaccination or chemotherapeutic applications, and broad-scale protective strategies. The work is fundamental to our understanding of disease spread, and is crucial to predicting the spread of epidemic invasions and designing disease control strategies. The work is potentially transformative as it will provide a rare opportunity to test such hypotheses in natural and manipulative field experiments, and because the applicability of a broad diversity of plant, animal, and human pathogens with fat-tailed dispersal kernels will be rigorously evaluated via the interdisciplinary modeling efforts. Conclusions should apply over a very wide range of spatial scale due to the nature of dispersal kernels of pathogens that have the potential for long-distance dispersal.

PI(s): Ross Meentemeyer, Center for Geospatial Analytics
Sponsor(s): Oregon State University, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) – National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
Amount Awarded: $131,764.00


USGS NCCWSC Program: Southeast Climate Science Center (Recompetition)

The guiding strategy of the Southeast Climate Science Center (SE CSC) is to provide staffing and institutional support for core SE CSC mission areas. The SE CSC’s mission involves supporting researchers and managers to co-produce science connected to management decisions (actionable science), coordinating logistics and communications to bring partners and the community together (within NCSU, with USGS researchers, and across the broader community) to discuss global change impacts to the DOI mission, and training the next generation (graduate students) and current managers on how to use and develop global change science.

PI(s): Nils Peterson, Forestry and Environmental Resources; Erin Seekamp, Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management; Lara Pacifici, Forestry and Environmental Resources; Ryan Emanuel, Forestry and Environmental Resources
Sponsor(s): US Geological Survey (USGS)
Amount Awarded: $897,618.00


Unearthing the interacting nontuberculous mycobacterial, environmental, and host determinants of lung disease in the islands of Hawai’i

The main objectives of this proposal are to fill current gaps in knowledge of nontuberculous mycobacteria ecology and disease transmission using the Hawaiian Islands as a model to understand the critical factors that influence how NTM inhabiting water and soil environments become infectious agents responsible for a recalcitrant lung disease. The specific aims of this proposal are to 1) conduct island-wide environmental sampling and use genomic profiling, soil and water analyses, and climate data to survey the environmental and epidemiological factors associated with the frequency and diversity of NTM in Hawai’i; 2) conduct a comprehensive comparative analysis of matched Hawaiian environmental and clinical NTM isolates to identify species of NTM and to link environmental influences and patient behavior with prevalence of NTM infection; and 3) build a predictive model of NTM transmission to understand disease dynamics in the Hawaiian Islands. This model may then be used to study these bacteria and associated lung disease with results that are likely generalizable to other areas of the world.

PI(s): Jamian Pacifici, Forestry and Environmental Resources
Sponsor(s): University of Colorado – Denver, National Science Foundation (NSF)
Amount Awarded: $20,183.00


Proving Cross Laminated Timber Panels for Residential Homes

Proposed development of CLT panel systems in the US has focused on large lumber gluing and layup systems, presses and CNC machining centers that require high equipment and facility costs approaching $30 million. The result of such high investment requirements is that few US CLT operations exist and none are currently in operation in the US South. This project will develop an alternative strategy able to produce 80% of the output of a large size CLT panel plant at 2% of the investment cost. It is possible to quickly develop a forest products industry niche for CLT panels using existing equipment resources once used by the casegoods furniture industry by using a small size batch process format. These presses are capable of manufacturing 4’x8’ panels for residential homes, pressing multiple CLT panels per batch press cycle. These Residential CLT panels (RCLT) can be used for walls, floors, and roof decking for use by general contractors with the support of knowledgeable architects and organizations like the APA. The National Forest System has excess low-quality materials that need to be removed to improve forest health, reduce fire danger and assist the local economy. These lower grade materials are plentiful and are suitable for residential CLTs. Material for RCLTs could include Southern yellow pine and the mixed hardwood species that can also be processed into veneers for hardwood plywood. An objective of this project is to evaluate suitable species for lumber and plywood RCLT for use in building residential homes. This project will demonstrate a manufacturing system by making samples of RCLTs in several existing furniture cold presses, pressing a stack of several RCLTs in batches. The project includes the development of joinery types to connect the panels for assembly. The goal is to successfully manufacture RCLT panels that pass the APA PRG 320 Standard using the two lumber grades approved by the APA (#2 yellow pine for faces and #3 for the core and cross bands) and hardwood veneers using this low capital approach.

PI(s): Philip Mitchell, Forest Biomaterials; Harry Wade Watt, Forest Biomaterials
Sponsor(s): US Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Forest Service
Amount Awarded: $249,758.00


CNH-L: Visualizing forest futures under climate uncertainty: integrating indigenous knowledge into decision support tools for collaborative decision making.

Scope of Work NC State University Robert Scheller, Professor at North Carolina State University will be responsible for providing oversight of the LANDIS-II modeling component. In addition, Dr. Scheller will conduct model optimization as needed, particularly for the new forest succession (NECN-H) extension and interfacing LANDIS-II with the visualization tool. He will facilitate running the model simulations on high-speed servers. He will also assist with stakeholder workshop preparation and facilitation. Finally, he will assist in the preparation of all related manuscripts.

PI(s): Robert Scheller, Forest Biomaterials
Sponsor(s): Pennsylvania State University
Amount Awarded: $68,669.00


Standard: Establishing Ethical Norms of Data Integrity and Management in Citizen

“Citizen science” refers to a broad spectrum of ways in which scientists and members of the public collaborate in scientific discovery, and scientists and practitioners engaged in the use of citizen science is a rapidly growing part of the scientific community. However, because citizen science can be initiated and funded outside of traditional institutions and conventional regulatory oversight mechanisms, and creates new circumstances overlooked by regulatory oversight, the field has an ethics gap. The gap presents an opportunity to create and disseminate new frameworks, building an ethical culture at the outset of an emerging field to proactively address issues as they emerge. We focus on the common denominator to nearly all citizen science projects: volunteer data collection and use. We propose to survey current and ideal practices and the use of human-centered design to create ethical culture in collaboration with the Citizen Science Association (CSA) with the goals of: (1) Identifying and guiding responsible research by practitioners in the emerging field of citizen science, and (2) building CSA’s capacity to establish and maintain ethical norms in a burgeoning field.

PI(s): Caren Cooper, Forestry and Environmental Resources
Sponsor(s): National Science Foundation (NSF)
Amount Awarded: $400,000.00


From Sidewalks to Pixels, Using Google Street View and Computer Vision to Create a National Sidewalk Inventory

The contractor will conduct a literature review and write a white paper that explores the feasibility of automating audits of Google Street View images for the identification of sidewalks. The white paper will include, but not be limited to, answers to four questions: 1. What are the computing and programming requirements to detect sidewalks in Street View photographs with existing computer vision technology? 2. How can computer vision techniques be automated to process large volumes of Google Street View images? 3. What are the potential scope and performance capabilities of an automated sidewalk surveillance tool prototype? 4. Are there other current or emerging technologies or image sources that should be considered in future work?

PI(s): James A. Hipp, Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management
Sponsor(s): McKing Consulting Corporation, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Amount Awarded: $29,933.00


Interactive Analytics for Natural and Cultural Resource Management at Congaree National Park

This project will improve access to and leverage the full benefits of the extensive—though arguably underutilized—research archive at Congaree National Park. NC State will compile and document geospatial information on research sites (sampling locations, plots, transects, etc.) at Congaree National Park (CONG) that can be associated with derivative research publications. The derivative products will provide staff, researchers, and partners at Congaree National Park with the ability to both locate research sites associated with specific research publications and identify publications related to research sites throughout the park. Improved access to research locations and findings will improve the following: (1) resource management decisions affecting specific locations in the park, (2) resource management decisions affecting specific habitat types, (3) identification of potentially understudied areas in the park; and (4) capacity for future research proposals and permits to leverage pre-existing data in site selection and data analysis. Improving access to geographic data and science research results throughout the park will also improve compliance and field activities for all areas of park operations including visitor and resource protection, interpretation, and trail management. These products will facilitate research access and maximize utilization by NPS staff, researchers, and partners. An analysis of geographic and temporal biases in the distribution of sampling sites can help prioritize future research locations or sampling sites and form recommendations for data management.

PI(s): Jelena Vukomanovic, Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management; Justin Shedd, Center for Geospatial Analytics
Sponsor(s): US National Park Service, US Department of Interior
Amount Awarded: $31,872.00


Developing Standards-Based Educational Modules for Green Buildings and Sustainable Materials

The overall goal of the project is to develop a systematic framework and reusable education modules to teach undergraduate and graduate students about various standards and standards-based analytical tools related to green buildings and sustainable materials. Modules will be integrated into existing courses in the College of Natural Resources and the College of Design at NCSU. We will focus on maximizing the replicability of those modules in both traditional classroom environments as well as online learning so that they can be adapted by universities nation-wide. Webinars and workshops in conferences will be offered to broaden the impacts and promote the modules. Real-world case studies will be critical parts of the modules and developed through the PI(s)’s research projects and support from project collaborators.

PI(s): Yuan Yao, Forest Biomaterials; Stephen Kelley, Forest Biomaterials
Sponsor(s): National Institute of Standards & Technology
Amount Awarded: $75,000.00