Rain Exclusion eXperiment (REX) at the Kellogg Biological Station LTER

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Grant Falvo (KBS), Tvisha Martin and Meredith Mann collecting nematode samples under the REX rainout shelters, KBS 2021

The REX project is a novel and innovative three-year experimental trial that is being conducted within the NSF funded Kellogg Biological Station-Long-Term Ecological Research main cropping system experiment. The Sprunger lab is contributing to REX by addressing the imminent question of how nematode communities respond to drought induced by climate change. This is key to understanding how soil food webs in agricultural systems shift under water stress and how they contribute to resilience and ecosystem function. This experiment is being conducted using rainout shelter mesocosms, which simulate drought through preventing natural rainfall. Specifically, three types of rainout shelters which simulate an irrigated systen, variable rainfall, and drought are installed during planting within no-till corn-soy-wheat rotation systems and early successional systems. Within each rainout shelter the effect of drought is tested on plots that are under a nematicide, fungicide, and no additional application. Currently, the Sprunger Lab has officially completed year one of data collection and is excited to see what they find! Stay tuned for more updates on the REX project!