Column: Has a UC Riverside researcher created the Holy Grail of drought-tolerant lawns?
Riverside’s Robert Schulz and colleagues at UC Riverside have just received a $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant to help make it happen.
Robert Schulz is an associate professor of earth and planetary sciences, and a research scientist in the earth and planetary sciences division of the UC Riverside Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences. His major research interests include the hydrologic cycles of Earth’s oceans, and the effects of changing climate on vegetation. He is also an Earth system scientist with the Institute for Theoretical Analysis, a Center of Academic Excellence for the Life Sciences and a Center of Excellence in Sustainable Energy and Environmental Research. He received his B.S. degree in geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his M.S. in geology and Ph.D. in soil science from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
To learn more about UC Riverside’s research and innovative engineering programs, please visit the university’s web site at ucr.edu.
Has a UC Riverside researcher created the Holy Grail of drought-tolerant lawns?
Robert Schulz’s work, which began in 2010, aims to develop a sustainable grass and drought-tolerant turf, or turf with traits that make it more drought-tolerant, especially adapted to the Southwestern U.S., Mexico, the Pacific Rim, or in warm climates that have higher summertime temperatures.
This work involves analyzing the genetic and molecular pathways of drought-tolerant grasses and their impact on the water-holding capacity and water-use efficiency of the plant. The data are then put into the context of a range of conditions, from drought to extreme weather.
The work is done by analyzing the genomes of species such as wild grasses, as well as by generating synthetic grass with the genetic sequence of drought-tolerant grasses and plants.
The work involves scientists at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, in addition to researchers at UC Riverside, the University of Arizona and the University of California, Davis. The funding covers a variety of projects and activities, including genome sequencing and analysis, as well as synthetic grass generation, with the