EBI Personnel Directory DeLucia, Evan
Dr. Evan DeLucia is a member of the EBI Executive Committee. He is also Professor of Plant Biology at the University of Illinois, where he heads the Department of Plant Biology.
His current research focuses on the adaptive physiology of trees and the role of forests in the global carbon cycle. Other topics he has researched include air pollution, forest conservation, and how greenhouse gases, pesticides and pest control impact forests. He also has conducted research on sustainable agriculture. DeLucia has been consulted regarding his expertise by the media, Congress and scientific organizations, such as the National Academy of Sciences.
DeLucia has been named an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, a Fullbright Fellow at the Landcare Institute in New Zealand, and an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow with the Ecological Society of America.
The program quantifies the major pools and fluxes in the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and water in large plots of M. x giganteus, switchgrass, restored prairie, and corn. Researchers also determine the regulation of these fluxes by the insect and soil microbial communities. The group is developing a mechanistic understanding of how different feedstock crops affect major ecosystem processes, such as the capacity to sequester atmospheric carbon, retain soil nitrogen, minimize water contamination, and produce greenhouse gases including methane and nitrous oxide.
In the southeastern United States, the proposed change in land use associated with an expanding biofuel industry is from grazed pasture to energy cane. During the transition, the project team predicts large initial ecosystem losses of carbon and nitrogen associated with cultivation, but with the establishment of the perennial energy cane, it's anticipated that the retention of atmospheric C02 as recalcitrant organic matter in the soil will increase. In addition, the transition from pasture grazed by cattle to fields of energy cane should greatly reduce methane flux to the atmosphere. To test these hypotheses, the team is developing coordinated measurements of CO2, CH4 and water vapor fluxes, as well as potential changes in soil carbon and N03 leaching in pasture, representing current land use, and energy cane, representing future land use (started in 2012).