Casey Kula


Education: Master’s student, Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL
B.S in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies at Edgewood College in Madison, WI.

Background & Previous Research

Born and raised outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I moved to Madison, Wisconsin to pursue my undergraduate degree at Edgewood College. While at Edgewood College, I pursued a bachelor’s degree in biology which encompassed the broad disciplines of ecology, zoology, genetics, botany, microbiology, chemistry, and physiology. In addition to my bachelor’s degree, I completed a minor in environmental studies that discussed the topics of economics, science, development, and policy through an environmental or sustainability lens. My senior thesis explored the intersection between public perception of invasive species and the rendering of cultural ecosystem services in a Madison area greenway space.

Current Research

Under the direction of Dr. Sadeghpour, part of my current research involves the tradeoffs and benefits of various cover cropping systems including cereal rye (Secale cereale) variety, seeding rate, planting spacing, and mixture with crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum). Data collection includes the decomposition rate of each cover crop treatment, soil nitrate immobilization, crop physiology, and yield components in the subsequent corn (Zea mays) crop. In addition to research surrounding cover crops, Dr. Sadeghpour and I are analyzing correlations between soil carbon and soil characteristics as proxies for ecosystem services in which the data was collected from a long-term no-till study conducted by Southern Illinois University. Other areas of research interest include soil aggregate size and stability distribution from a biochar/manure study, as well as a literature review of the life cycle analysis in regard to phosphorus use efficiency and sustainability.

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