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Microbiomes of Aquatic, Plant, and Soil Systems across Kansas


Kansas NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 Award OIA-1656006 



PROGRAM (RII Track-1 Award)

NSF EPSCoR RII Track–1 Awards provide up to 20 million dollars, total, for 5 years to support physical, human, and cyberinfrastructure improvements in research areas selected by the jurisdiction’s EPSCoR steering committee. The selected project is designed to have the best potential to improve the jurisdiction’s future research and development competitiveness. 


RII Track-1 Current Solicitation 

Current Solicitation is closed

Announcing a Kansas NSF EPSCoR funding opportunity for major initiatives to improve research infrastructure in the focus area of Adaptive and Resilient Systems



RII Track-1 Award
OIA-1656006: MAPS

In September 2017, Kansas received the NSF EPSCoR Track-1 Award OIA-1656006 for a research project titled Microbiomes of Aquatic, Plant and Soil Systems (MAPS) across Kansas. The project utilizes fundamental research to determine how microbiomes can enhance productivity, mitigate environmental problems in agricultural-dominated landscapes, and conserve native grasslands and their ecosystem functions. The MAPS project will probe the connectivity among microbiomes found in plants, aquatic and soil systems. The steep precipitation gradient across the state makes Kansas an outstanding outdoor laboratory for testing hypotheses related to the impacts of precipitation on microbial processes. While previous research tends to focus on plant, soil, and aquatic microbiomes individually, recognition of the interconnected nature of the three classes of microbiomes makes this project unique and potentially transformative.

The MAPS’ vision is a world in which microbiomes and their interactions with the environment are used to manage ecosystem processes and mitigate environmental degradation in agricultural and native landscapes.

The MAPS’ mission is to elucidate how microbiomes interact within native and agriculturally dominated aquatic, plant, and soil habitats, leveraging the steep precipitation gradient across Kansas as a means of projecting system response to environmental change. To this end, MAPS will provide a vehicle for education, training, and outreach that includes informing policymakers and managers.

Integrated within the project’s research objectives are workforce development, education, and outreach initiatives which include First Awards for tenure track junior faculty members and Merit Awards to recognize individual MAPS research achievements. The MAPS education components feature teaching MAPS related lessons to elementary students and professional development for secondary science teachers.  The MAPS diversity endeavors utilize collaborations with the Kansas State University Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (KSU LSAMP) program and the Haskell Environmental Research Studies (HERS) Institute, the latter focusing on combining Indigenous ecological knowledge with scientific approaches. MAPS Outreach efforts include a collaboration with the Konza Environmental Education Program (KEEP) and support for Museum Projects.  As a result of these programs, the public will receive MAPS information to better understand the importance of microbiome ecosystems across Kansas.

The MAPS research team includes 45 faculty members from the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Wichita State University, Fort Hays State University, and Haskell Indian Nations University.

LEARN MORE about the MAPS education initiatives

LEARN MORE about the MAPS outreach initiatives

LEARN MORE about the MAPS project

The MAPS Strategic Plan