Thank you for your interest in the University of Wisconsin-Madison and learning more about the research that takes place in the Kucharik Agroecology lab that is housed between the Wisconsin Energy Institute (1552 University Avenue), the Department of Agronomy (1575 Linden Drive) and The Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (or SAGE, 1710 University Avenue – the Enzyme Institute).
My research group roughly consists of one to two post docs, five to eight M.S. and Ph.D. students and one to three undergraduates working in both a field experimental setting and using numerical ecosystem models and observational datasets to better understand the influence of changing climate and land management on ecosystem services. Our interests include carbon cycling and sequestration in prairie ecosystems and agricultural landscapes, water quantity and quality, the impact of alternative biofuel cropping systems on carbon, water, and energy exchange, urban heat islands and urban ecology, and how Midwest crop yields are affected by climate change and farmer management. While my research has a predominant geographic focus in the central U.S., my students have previously used numerical models at the global scale also.
All of my graduate students are usually funded as research assistants working on grants that myself or other collaborators have received funding for (examples of funding sources are The U.S. Dept. of Energy, NASA, The National Science Foundation, USDA, and Wisconsin Focus on Energy). I almost always take on students that have received fellowships, offering more flexibility in their research direction. Undergraduates working in my lab sometimes perform research as part of independent study (Biology 152) or a senior thesis, and are mentored in tandem between myself and one of my graduate students. Graduate students that work with me on ecosystem modeling projects and other investigations using land-use and climate datasets are typically based in SAGE, while those that are involved in field research are based in the Department of Agronomy or Wisconsin Energy Institute, where my physical lab spaces are located. The majority of our field research takes place across the agricultural landscapes of the Midwest.
I can advise students enrolled in the Department of Agronomy, the Agroecology program, the Nelson Institute’s Environment & Resources (E&R) program, the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS), and Freshwater and Marine Sciences (FMS). All programs offer M.S. and Ph.D. degrees with the exception of Agroecology, which is a M.S. program only.
If you think you might be a potentially good fit for my lab, I encourage you to send me an email with the following information: 1) the department(s)/programs you are applying to; 2) your resume or c.v.; 3) a brief statement on your research interests and/or goals. I receive many inquiries for positions, usually starting in fall of the year proceeding desired admittance, making for a very competitive process! Please think carefully about how you might see yourself fitting into our lab setting, and clearly communicate what you are most interested in working on. You should also seriously consider making a visit to my lab and the greater UW-Madison campus.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my interests and work and all of the great things going on at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.