Refining Crop Yield Estimates via Isotopic Analysis of Plant Water

This research project will test the hypothesis that the isotopic composition of plant water can be used to accurately estimate crop yield. The rationale for this hypothesis is that transpiration directly affects the isotopic composition of water inside a plant leaf, whereas water inside plant roots reflects the unaltered isotopic composition of the water. By measuring isotopes of water in each of these plant components we will have a more accurate measure of the amount of transpiration, and since transpiration is linearly proportional to yield, a direct estimate of crop yield. The methodology that the student will undertake will be: 1) creating and testing an isotopic reference for use in this research, 2) extracting water from plants and analyzing it for its isotopic composition, and 3) synthesizing, interpreting, and presenting the results.

Between the Form and Formlessness of Objects and Desire: The Economies of Ambivalence, Androgeny and Passion

My 2017/18 research is an interdisciplinary collaborative performance project titled: Between the Form and Formlessness of Objects and Desire: The Economies of Ambivalence, Androgyny, and Passion. This work deconstructs symbolism and semiotics as they are rescripted through the body and environment. My collaboration with artists and scholars at UWM, in Milwaukee, and Lawrence University extends this research with dance, visual, and digital artists by developing interactive performance installations that will culminate in performances in Milwaukee and festivals nationally. The choreographic methods we design will inquire how gender is performed and deconstructed. I utilize choreography, new media, and interactive performance scores to explore the materiality within an analogue-digital spectrum. Our methods combine choreographic and embodied performance with motion sensors, camera feed, and projected images to explore the ever-vanishing and ever-present gesture.

Emotion and Physiology

In this research project, participants will complete both self-report measures of personality and life events/stress assessments. Not many studies have used direct manipulation of autonomic nervous system regulation through manipulation of tachtile sensory inputs; thus, the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) will be used to induce positive and negative affective responses. Self-report measures of emotions will be administered after writing exercises, during as well as after the presentation of IAPS image sets. Cardiovascular reactivity measures, including heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure, will be recorded throughout the experiment to assess the effects of self-affirmation on physiological responses.