Research Awards and Grants (August 2019)

Check out some of our recent research awards and grants:


Title: Mariculture Tourism: Cultivating Consumer Demand and Coastal Community Supply

PI: Knollenberg, Whitney

Direct Sponsor: National Sea Grant Office

Amount Awarded: $119,784

Abstract: This study proposes to develop a profile of potential shellfish mariculture tourists so coastal communities can capitalize on the growing interest in food tourism. This will be accomplished through a combination of survey, asset mapping, and comparison techniques. First, a survey will be conducted of food tourists who intend to visit Atlantic coastal states to identify potential shellfish mariculture tourists’ experience preferences and the barriers to their participation. Then community-based asset mapping will be conducted with NC community stakeholders, including tourism and economic development officials, shellfish mariculture producers, residents, and other coastal industry members to identify existing shellfish mariculture tourism assets. These findings will be compared to the current shellfish mariculture tourism product supply in NC coastal communities to identify how demand for shellfish mariculture tourism can be met. Finally, a suite of prototype NC shellfish mariculture tourism outreach materials will be developed which will be tested for their ability to connect with potential shellfish mariculture tourists and stimulate demand for shellfish mariculture products.


Title: Applications of Nanocellulose in Waterborne Coatings Systems\

PI: Khan, Saad

Direct Sponsor: Eastman Chemical Company

Amount Awarded: $43,587

Abstract: We will use unmodified and chemically modified nanocellulose materials to develop rheology, dewatering and film formation routes that will lead to films and coatings with target physical appearance, mechanical integrity and thermo-chemical and wetting properties. For this purpose we will use precursors from three different nanocelluloses: cellulose nanocrystals (CNC), cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) and lignocellulose nanofibrils (LCNF). Results from this study will be used to develop novel coatings and films, as well novel personal care products.


Title: Genetic Resource Conservation of Threatened and Endangered Tree Species in the Eastern United States

PI: Jetton, Robert

Direct Sponsor: US Department of Agriculture Forest Service

Amount Awarded: $20,000

Abstract: The eastern United States is home to some of the most biologically diverse temperate forests in the world that provide a number of ecosystem services including clean air and water, carbon storage, recreational opportunities, and wood and fiber to feed a growing population’s need for solid wood and paper products. These critical forest ecosystems are anchored by more than 140 tree species, many of which are threatened by natural and human-caused disturbances including native and exotic insects, diseases, invasive plants, tropical weather systems, wildland fire, development, fragmentation, and climate change (per Forest Tree Genetic Risk Assessment System, Potter and Crane, 2010). As tree populations begin to decline, dynamic approaches to ex situ genetic resource conservation are necessary to secure seed resources for long-term preservation and the eventual restoration of the species and ecosystems. The knowledge gained and materials produced through this agreement will further the mission of the U.S. Forest Service R8 National Forest System Genetic Resource Management Program. It will help to further support the ecosystem health, diversity, sustainability, and productivity philosophy espoused by the U.S. Forest Service. And further, will contribute seed for the restoration of disturbed or degraded forests throughout the eastern United States. The Cooperator will benefit through the strengthening of its genetic resource conservation program, the production of new scientific knowledge, the generation of technical and peer- reviewed publications, and training and education opportunities for students. The objectives accomplished through this agreement will demonstrate that the U.S. Forest Service and Camcore/N.C. State University are leaders in the field of genetic resource conservation of threatened and endangered tree species.


Title: Game Changer: a Mechanical Insecticide for Mosquitoes, Sand Flies, Filth Flies and Other Arthropods from Volcanic Rock

PI: Roe, Richard

Direct Sponsor: US Army

Amount Awarded: $285,869

Abstract: Project is to develop a mechanical insecticide for mosquito, filth fly and sand fly control for the US military.


Title: Eradication Analysis & Decision Support (eRADS)

PI: Meentemeyer, Ross

Direct Sponsor: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) – USDA

Amount Awarded: $131,230

Abstract: Eradication and/or containment of an invasive pest species is one of the most difficult, expensive and critical decisions that engage state, federal and private sector affected parties and stakeholders. Deciding whether or not to engage an eradication or containment program can vary according to complex factors that are difficult to predict. First, pest incursions are affected by many site-specific characteristics – such as the landscape configuration of the affected host(s) and distribution of pests – that make it challenging to define an action area, where containment or eradication would occur. Second, the timeline for making the decision to enter a program is not consistent among pests because of their life
histories and response to the new environment. The response timeline can have a positive or negative effect, depending on whether or not the program is initiated before a critical threshold. Third, pest biology and treatment options could range from well-known to unknown and treatment efficacies could vary drastically. Even when treatment options are well-known and effective, these resources must be deployed in a timely and organized manner for containment or eradication to be successful. When there is little information on pest biology or treatment options, knowledge in these areas must be derived or developed to determine if containment or eradication is feasible. A decision to not enter a program that is not technically feasible will result in no program related costs, but a negative perception from affected parties; a win-lose. Alternatively, entering a program that is not technically feasible will result in high costs and a negative perception from the affected parties because the program is likely to fail; a lose-lose. If, however, a program is both technically feasible and successful, the affected industry benefits and regulatory resources are optimized, a win-win. Identifying the conditions that are likely to lead to each of these outcomes is a central question for those that manage invasive pests and diseases. While it is not feasible to predict the conditions surrounding an incursion a priori, we can address key factors surrounding an incursion once it occurs using the Eradication Analysis & Decision Support (eRADS) tool. First, eRADS identifies the area of concern using data on the pest distribution (e.g., from the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Program) and its associated hosts (e.g. NASS Cropland Data Layer) and what is known about the biology of the pest (e.g. Global Pest and Disease Database and other data sources). Next, eRADS quantifies landscape metrics in the action area – specifically the connectivity of suitable hosts – to determine how likely the pest could disperse. Then, eRADS leverages what is known about the pest from CAPS data sheets or New Pest Response Guidelines, to evaluate treatment options and determine how quickly they might be deployed. eRADS evaluates the technical feasibility of implementing a program and provides a score ranging from “Feasible” to “Not Feasible,” along with an epidemiological description. eRADS allows decision makers to evaluate how technically feasible a program might be and determine what modifications are required to make it feasible.


Title: Next Generation Logistics Systems for Delivering Optimal Biomass Feedstocks to Biorefining
Industries in the Southeastern United States

PI: Kelley, Stephen

Direct Sponsor: University of Tennessee

Amount Awarded: $150,000

Abstract: This project will develop and test an advanced statistical process control framework, enabling production of consistently high-quality biomass feedstock at reduced cost. With information on feedstock properties available at various points along the supply chain, more accurate cost analysis will be conducted along with life-cycle analysis of the feedstock production systems.


Title: Multi-scale Assessment of Wild Turkey Ecology in North Carolina

PI: Moorman, Christopher

Direct Sponsor: NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Amount Awarded: $644,410

Abstract: This 4-year study will provide a comprehensive understanding of wild turkey demography at 3 regions in North Carolina and will quantify spatial and temporal variation in underlying vital rates. The results and recommendations stemming from the study will serve as a solid foundation on which future turkey management actions can be based.


Title: North Carolina Statewide Forest Products Marketing Team

PI: Mitchell, Philip

Direct Sponsor: US Forest Service

Amount Awarded: $249,739

Abstract: The North Carolina Statewide Forest Products Marketing Team (SFPMT) is a team of industry professionals working together to assess and review the current state of the North Carolina forest and wood products industry to identify marketing issues and needs, develop solutions and assist the industry to exploit opportunities. Covering all one hundred counties of North Carolina plus the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, economic opportunities identified by the project will benefit local communities for employment and economic activity. Improved forest management and marketing will lower the cost of good forest management for landowners resulting in more acres of forest improvements to be undertaken. This project will support efforts to maintain current forest land use as working forest land, thus supporting environmental maintenance of wildlife and water resources. This project will offer a platform for cooperative education and networking to improve communication among industry participants and to promote better utilization of North Carolina’s forest resources in the US National Forests as well as on private forest lands. North Carolina State University is the organizer of this effort, with a project staff of five industry professionals to oversee the proposed efforts for organization and outreach. The project will update both USFS Product Locators for North Carolina for primary and secondary industry segments. The team will host approximately thirty regional meetings across the state, reaching out to all industry segments, including landowners, loggers, log yards, sawmills and lumber drying operations, firewood, cabinet, furniture, millwork, flooring and composite manufacturers. The use of electronic media tools will optimize outreach efforts and create a vivid, interactive, and resourceful connection to, and within the industry. Our expectation is that our efforts will grow sales, profitability and employment for the forest and wood products industry in North Carolina. This project will raise the importance of networking to a new level as we reach out and include a large number of industry participants that are not connected today and will open new channels for better utilization of forest materials into value-added products.


Title: Planning for Advocacy Efforts: Best Practices from Tourism Industry Associations

PI: Knollenberg, Whitney

Direct Sponsor: ASAE Foundation

Amount Awarded: $7,437

Abstract: Associations play a crucial role in the success of the tourism industry. One of the most valuable benefits they offer those they represent is advocating for the interests of the industry with policymakers at the local, state, and federal level. Many challenges are faced by association leaders charged with advocating for the tourism industry. They must represent the interests of many different stakeholders within the industry and may have to address a wide range of policy issues that can impact the industry, including those related to social issues that impact visitors’ image of a tourism destination, funding for tourism marketing and management efforts, or taxation levels. Many policy changes have the potential to develop into crises for the tourism industry. Like in any crisis, it is vital for tourism stakeholders to take action to mitigate risks and the potential impacts of policy changes. In the context of policy-induced crises, advocacy is one way to take action to reduce risks and the impacts of crises. Recently, there have been an increasing number of policy-related crises impacting the tourism industry. Therefore, organizing advocacy efforts to represent the tourism industry’s interests among policymakers is becoming an increasingly important role for associations and their leaders. However, very little is known about what associations are doing to plan for advocacy efforts on behalf of the tourism industry. In this way, tourism industry associations may not be maximizing the tools and benefits they offer to their members. This proposed research study seeks to identify best practices in advocacy planning among tourism industry associations in order to help all associations deliver services to their members.


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

PI: Vukomanovic, Jelena

Direct Sponsor: US National Park Service

Amount Awarded: $16,224]

Abstract: This agreement will support the National Park Service (NPS) Southeast Exotic Plant Management Team (EPMT) through the following task: NPS Southeast Exotic Plant Management – Geodatabase Design to Support Collection and Sharing of Treatment Data. Southeast Exotic Plant Management Team staff identified the critical need for a geospatial  database framework to document treatment and monitoring and guide management and decision-making. Changes in technology have enabled the collection and management of data for inventory, treatment and monitoring in a streamlined fashion. This project develops geospatial technologies to improve efficiency, transparency, and coordination for the locations being treated by the Southeast Exotic Plant Management Team. The goal of this task is to provide the Southeast Exotic Plant Management Team with a platform to streamline the collection, storage, and dissemination of geospatial and tabular data documenting the treatment (spraying of chemical pesticides) of exotic plants in the 15 National Park Service Units they service. This task will facilitate communication between EPMT and other partners involved with exotic plant management. Upon completion, the geospatial database will manage, store, and display data needed to make timely and sound management decisions. The final geospatial database framework will be made available to other teams that manage exotic plant monitoring and treatment data to use as a template.