EBI Personnel Directory Quinn, Lauren

Feedstock Development

Lauren Quinn





Potential Ecological Impacts of Agricultural Intensification: Invasiveness of Miscanthus Species

Representatives from the bioenergy industry have indicated a desire to improve future varieties of Miscanthus spp. to maximize production area and yield while minimizing the risk of escape into natural areas. While the Illinois clone of M. x giganteus is sterile and may be limited in the geographical range available for production, many varieties of the more cold- and drought tolerant M. sinensis have the potential for escape through fertile pollen and seeds. In tthis project, relevant solutions will be developed for an industry wishing to intensify production while minimizing invasion risk and regulatory burden. It is important for producers to know the conditions under which Miscanthus spp. can and cannot establish and grow successfully, not only for maximizing potential yields, but also for minimizing potential escape.

Germplasm Collection, Nutrient Cycling, Cold Hardiness, Photosynthetic Capacity, and Flowering Phenology of Miscanthus sacchariflorus, Miscanthus sinensis, and Their Natural Hybrids in Native Stands Ranging from Central to Northern Japan

Miscanthus species show great promise as bioenergy feedstocks, yet these non-native crops share a number of traits with invasive plants. Therefore, it is crucial to explore the potential for invasion prior to the commercialization of Miscanthus species for bioenergy production. Researcher Lauren Quinn has published the first descriptions of invasive Miscanthus sinensis populations in the U.S., and, along with PI's Tom Voigt and Bryan Endres, is investigating seed germination and early establishment of M. sinensis, M. x giganteus (powercane) and Panicum virgatum in field settings. In addition, the team is working toward improvements to invasive plant regulations to protect both natural ecosystems and bioenergy producers from escaping feedstocks.