With past support from the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council, we have significantly advanced the development of the University of Minnesota Mesocosm Facility (http://biometeorology. umn.edu/). This facility is now allowing us to probe how climate and management decisions impact corn productivity and some of the critical environmental side effects of food production.
As of November 2, 2015, 7 of 12 mesocosms are fully functional and being used in trials. The other 5 mesocosms are being brought online following operational testing and are expected to be used in trials before the end of December 2015. Updates regarding the mesocosm facility and experimental trials can be obtained at the above website.
Despite numerous challenges in building and testing each mesocosm, our research continues to advance this facility. We are poised to conduct more collaborative investigations that explore processes ranging from the microbe to whole plant canopy scales. Our proposed research will begin to develop an ensemble of plausible climate change simulations that represent the next 50 years to assess impacts on corn productivity, and examine the impact of timing nitrogen fertilizer applications to match crop demand.