Laura van der Pol

Sustainability Leadership Fellow Cohort: 2020-2021

Ph.D. Student, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, and Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory

Research Summary: Agriculture is both part of a problem and solution to achieving sustainable civilization; my research focuses on ways to make how we grow our food part of the solution. I study how integrating plants that can fix nitrogen from the air (called legumes) into grain systems can enhance soil fertility and sequester carbon from the atmosphere, thus improving our ability to grow food and mitigate climate change. One novel aspect of my work is incorporating a recently domesticated perennial grain Kernza into my research, as little is known about this crop’s capacity to sequester soil carbon.