The 2016 Great Plains Soil Fertility Contest resulted in a big win for Colorado State University’s Nora Flynn, a graduate student in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. The Great Plains Soil Fertility Contest is a biennial event that allows professionals from across the Great Plains and Canadian Prairies to present personal findings and research, and discuss current developments. A part of this conference includes giving out awards to students and professionals who have done notable research.
Showing how microorganisms and root growth are related
The research poster that resulted in an award for Flynn studies how microorganism growth changes in relation to the root growth of plants. “This research is important” said Flynn, “because we want to know more about how microorganisms can aid in the growth of plants and vice versa in a water-limited scenario.”
Her research project was advised by Steven Fonte, an assistant professor in CSU’s Department of Soil and Crop Sciences who specializes in agroecosystem ecology. “Nora is a bright and highly motivated student whose work will make important contributions to agricultural sustainability in Colorado and beyond,” said Fonte.
Flynn’s research with microorganisms is a part of a larger study that partners with the USDA Limited Irrigation Research Farm. LIRF exists to determine how crops can be grown utilizing less water, and research is done by growing crops under a gradient of water stress.
A passion for agriculture
Flynn, who would like to continue her research dealing with sustainable agriculture, says that she enjoys being a part of the College of Agricultural Sciences because “it’s a really good mix of the things I’m interested in, such as soils and plants, but you need to think about the social side of it too, it can’t stand on its own.” She likes how so much of agriculture is driven by societal needs, and would like to continue to work with resource scarcity, and improve the sustainability of largescale farming.
“Winning the poster competition means a lot to me” said Flynn, “I care a lot about presenting my research in a way that gets other people interested, so it was a good recognition of my effort to present my research in an intriguing way.” Being a first year graduate student, this was one of her first opportunities to share her research with the professional world. By coming away with a win, Flynn proved that her research is both valuable and relevant, and she hopes to continue on in her quest to improve the sustainability of agriculture.