MSU environmental activities and accomplishments, from sources on and off-campus.
ESPP Students Moving On
Two ESPP specialization students completed their doctoral coursework last semester.
Rachael Shwom successfully presented her dissertation, entitled "Greens, Suits and Bureaucrats: A Sociological Study of Dynamic Organizational Relationships in Energy Efficient Appliance Policy." She begins her assistant professorship this semester in Rutgers University's human ecology department.
Sara Parr Syswerda was also successful in defending her dissertation, "Ecosystem Services from Agriculture Across a Management Intensity Gradient in Southwest Michigan."
Congratulations to both!
New Civil and Environmental Engineering Site Showcases Water Work
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has launched a new Web site highlighting its research in hydrology and water resources.
The site details the department's hydrology research and facilities, as well as its outreach efforts to increase public understanding of water sources. It also features openings for faculty positions and assistantships under engineering professors, including ESPP affiliates Phanikumar S. Mantha and Shu-Guang Li.
Check out the Web site here.
McCright Wins Teacher-Scholar Award
Aaron McCright (Lyman Briggs College, Sociology) will receive the Teacher-Scholar Award at MSU's 2009 Awards Convocation on Feb. 3.
Each year the university selects six Teacher-Scholars, who have earned the respect of both students and colleagues in seven or fewer years at MSU.
McCright teaches undergraduate courses in sociology of science and environmental social science, and graduate courses in environmental sociology and social movements. He also teaches in the Kellogg Biological Station study away program and in the Tropical Biodiversity and Conservation in Panama study abroad program. He was also selected in 2008 to participate in MSU's Lilly Teaching Fellows Program.
Affiliated Faculty Garner Intramural Research Grants
Four ESPP affiliates received university grants through MSU's Intramural Research Grant Program. The recipients are:
Kendra Cheruvelil (Fisheries and Wildlife, Lyman Briggs College): The Effects of Lake Shoreline Development on Painted and Map Turtle (Chrysemus Picta and Graptemys Geographica) Populations.
Michael Nelson (Fisheries and Wildlife, Lyman Briggs College, Philosophy): A History of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Study.
Daniel Steel (Philosophy): Extrapolation and Public Policy: Understanding Uncertainty Factors.
James Trosko (Pediatrics and Human Development): Developing Mannitou Glycan as a Clinical Biomarker for the Early Detection of Cancer: Search for the Possible Co-Expression with a "Cancer Stem Cell" Marker, Oct-4.
To see the full list of recipients, click here.
Poulson Blogs on "Media Meltdown"
Great Lakes Town Hall
12/15/08 - 12/18/08
David Poulson, associate director of MSU's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, was a guest columnist on the Great Lakes Town Hall's opinion forum.
Poulson, who covered the environment and other beats for 21 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, wrote five essays on the decline of traditional news media, and about how journalists might continue to cover environmental stories while newspapers face worsening budget constraints.
In the first of his posts, which was selected by the Town Hall's editors as one of the year's five best, Poulson wrote: "The erosion of a nationwide cadre of professional watchdogs hurts not just because of the stories that don't get covered. It hurts because of the stories that journalists prevent from happening. How many times has a bad decision on the environment been avoided for fear that it would be exposed to the light of public scrutiny?"
To read the essays, click here.
Growing More Corn Comes with $58M Price Tag, Researchers Say
Planting more corn sticks farmers with a hefty bill for services that bugs perform for free, research by two ESPP affiliates says.
Doug Landis (Entomology), Scott Swinton (Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics) and two co-researchers found that growing more corn for ethanol reduces the diversity of landscapes and limits the ability of beneficial insects to control pest insects. That means farmers have to apply more pesticides for smaller yields, costing about $58 million per year in Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
"Diverse landscapes often support higher levels of vital ecosystems services such as pest suppression and pollination," Landis said. "Our goal is to provide information so people can make more informed decisions."
The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and featured on TreeHugger, an environmental blog with more than a million unique visitors per month.
Packaging Students' Glass Recycling Video Earns Cash, Laughs
Glass really wants to be recycled, if a new video by four MSU packaging seniors is any indication.
Led by packaging instructor Dennis Young, the group created a minute-long YouTube video that won the Recycle Glass Day competition, sponsored by the Glass Packaging Institute. They were chosen from more than 80 students in the contest, and won $5,000, as well as another $5,000 for the MSU School of Packaging.
"This video reinforces the message that each of us must do our part to make recycling happen," said Susan Selke, acting chairperson of the packaging school. "Glass is 100 percent recyclable, but only if it is delivered into a system that allows recycling to occur."
To read more and see the winning video, click here.
MSU-Based Biomaterials Company Garners $750K in State Investment
Great Lakes IT Report
EcoSynthetix, a Lansing-based company founded by Ramani Narayan (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science), was one of two recipients of the first round of Invest Michigan! grants, which support businesses with high growth potential.
The company, which creates bio-based alternatives to petroleum products, received $750,000 from the fund, created by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2008. Among its products is EcoSphere Biolatex, a starch-based material used for coating and bonding paper. With 19 paper mills in Michigan and wildly fluctuating oil prices, the market for EcoSphere is ripe, its creators say.
Bioeconomy Must Not Be Sidetracked, Dale Tells Podcast Listeners
In an interview on the Spartan Podcast, Bruce Dale (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science) and host Russ White discussed myths regarding ethanol, the ongoing debate about the relationship between ethanol and land use and why sustainability is a personal issue for a mineworker's son.
"A society that is built on nonrenewable resources is a society that's always on the brink of ending," said Dale, Associate Director of MSU's Office of Biobased Technologies.
The Spartan Podcast is an online series of interviews produced roughly once a week. Its focus is communications, new media and technology, but environmental researchers have been well-represented on the show.
Cow Power: Michigan Farmers Turn Manure into Energy
Detroit Free Press
In a round metal building on Scenic View Dairy farm, stinky manure from 3,500 cows and 9,400 pigs is being fermented and turned into electricity. What's left afterward is a rich, dark pile of soft biofiber that looks like mulch and smells only faintly of its origins. It goes back into the barns as bedding for the cows. Liquid that is leftover is sprayed as fertilizer onto nearby corn, soy, alfalfa and wheat crops...
Farmer Velmer Green of Green Meadows Farms in Elsie has a 3,000-cow operation that produces about 60,000 gallons of manure daily. His digester, part of ongoing Michigan State University research, has been running an 800-kilowatt generator since spring, with the electricity going to Consumers Energy. Digesters are not new, even in Michigan, where there were half a dozen in the 1980s, says Steve Safferman, agricultural engineering professor at MSU. Most failed because farmers didn't know how to fix them, found them too expensive to operate or didn't have the time to run them.
Student Videos Highlight Push for Sustainable Economy
Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
It's one thing to read about Michigan's bioeconomy, but a series of student-produced videos helps viewers see what it's all about.
Telecommunication and journalism students produced eight short videos for a course taught by Amol Pavangadkar, a teaching specialist with the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. The videos highlight work by MSU researchers on bio-based plastics, fibers and fuels.
Click here to view the videos and read more about the project.
Michigan's Bioeconomy the Focus of Futures
The latest issue of Futures, a publication of the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, provides a go-to resource on MSU's efforts in developing the state's bioeconomy. It covers diverse aspects of the bioeconomy, such as the 2008 Farm Bill, the role of farms in capturing carbon and the possibility of local biodiesel cooperatives.
The issue also contains an article on the Sustainable Michigan Endowed Project, which was created in 2002 by Jeff Armstrong (Agriculture and Natural Resources dean) and Sandra Batie (MAES, Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics).
"I don't know of anywhere else in the nation that has anything like SMEP," Batie said. "It's a high-powered think tank that's multidisciplinary and involves people who do extensive engagement and research who then come together to relate it to Michigan."
The project also provides seed grants for research to create healthier communities, economies and ecosystems in the state.
To read this and other issues of Futures, click here.
Ecology Course Mixes Methods to Explain Climate
Connections (newsletter of the College of Natural Science)
At the beginning of each semester, Carolyn Malmstrom (Plant Biology) asks students in the ecology class she co-teaches to name the most significant environmental change they've witnessed. Increasingly, the answer is climate change.
Malmstrom and teaching partner Mary Bremigan use newspapers, government reports, videos and good old-fashioned discussion to teach their students about climate change in an approachable and lively way.
"It is not just about someone getting a grade and a degree," Malmstrom said. "It is about their formation as scholars and citizens, and that requires that we really care and engage them."More>>
Journalism Workshop in Alaska Heats Up Climate Coverage
Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
A group of 12 journalists from around the country ventured to Alaska this summer to delve into the biggest story on the planet: climate change.
Sponsored by MSU's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, the group visited Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to witness pine bark beetle infestation and drying wetlands, went on a boat tour to see the receding glaciers of Harding Ice Field and talked with scientists at the forefront of climate change research.
The group wrote more than a dozen stories - which appeared in the Washington Post, Reuters and elsewhere - about the impacts of climate change on Alaska's ecosystems and its people.View the articles or to learn more about the workshop
Faculty Win Prizes for Research on Insects, Plant Populations
Connections (newsletter of the College of Natural Science)
Entomology professors Doug Landis and Rich Merritt were recognized by the Entomological Society of America's North Central Branch. Landis won the Recognition Award in Entomology for significant contributions to agriculture, and Merritt earned the C.V. Riley Award for outstanding contributions to the science of entomology.
Jennifer Lau (Kellogg Biological Station) received the Young Investigator Prize for 2008 from the American Society of Naturalists for outstanding and promising work by investigators. Lau studies how plant populations and interactions between species respond to environmental change.
Hall Blogs on Great Lakes Climate Change, Biodiversity
Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability
Kimberly Hall (Fisheries and Wildlife, Forestry) was featured as The Great Lakes Town Hall guest blogger during the week of October 13th. Her articles discussed impacts of climate change on biodiversity in the Great Lakes region, and strategies we can incorporate into management and conservation to help species adapt.
Hall was asked to contribute to the site after her presentation at last April's conference on Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region. She said she enjoyed writing less scientifically than usual, and that her first blogging experience was "a nice opportunity to convey the emotional side of spending a lot of time thinking about an environmental challenge with such huge potential to impact species and people around the world."
"Do we value biodiversity in the Great Lakes?" she wrote in one post. "What about water quality, clean beaches, and all of the other traits of healthy Great Lakes ecosystems? If so, we need to be working hard now to minimize all of the other stressors that we already know put our lakes at risk, and moving forward with climate-specific strategies as well."More>>
Jones Part of $1.8 Million Department of Defense Grant
Fisheries and Wildlife
ESPP affiliate Michael Jones (Fisheries and Wildlife) is co-PI on a project that received a $1.8 million grant from the Department of Defense to reconcile wildlife conservation with national defense needs.
The project focuses on speeding recovery of red-cockaded woodpecker populations, which has been impeded by habitat fragmentation. The researchers will look for a cost-effective habitat trading system, in which landowners can earn income by conserving endangered species habitat to offset the environmental impacts of military installations.
The research is sponsored by the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, the environmental science and technology arm that funds broad research to solve the department's most important environmental problems.More>>
Sibley Works to Improve Science Education with NSF Grants
Duncan Sibley (Geological Sciences) is part of two research teams that received grants from the National Science Foundation to improve science education.
One of the projects seeks new ways for college instructors to learn about students' understanding of science topics and identify barriers to their learning. The other grant funds improvement of the Noyce Scholars program, which places science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors and professionals in high-need K-12 classrooms.
Sibley directs MSU's Center for Research on College Science Teaching and Learning, which uses applied research to find out how college students learn science. "The Center provides an intellectual meeting place where support and encouragement of both the art and the science of teaching and learning is emphasized," its Web site says.
It's Cool to Keep Heat Turned Low
Lansing State Journal
For the second year in a row, residents of Bower Co-op in East Lansing are competing with Raft Hill Co-op, another of the 12 houses that make up the Michigan State University Student Housing Cooperative, to see which could go the longest without switching on the furnace. Both caved around the middle of November when the weather began to turn icy, and both seem to think the other house won. But the contest was about more than winning. It was about reducing environmental impact, about finding ways to live with a smaller carbon footprint...
Terry Link, director of the Office of Campus Sustainability at MSU, says more students are working to make their environmental ideals part and parcel of their day-to-day lives.
Sessions Will Shed Light on Water Withdrawal Rules
Capital News Service
A series of workshops developed by the Michigan State University Water Team and the Institute of Water Research is intended to help participants understand the state's new water withdrawal regulations. The December and January meetings will be held in Howard City, Clinton Township in Macomb County and West Olive...
David Lusch, MSU senior research specialist focusing on drinking water protection and groundwater management, says the sites were chosen because of the number of large-quantity water withdrawals there. "Michigan had no choice but to have some sort of water withdrawal regulatory environment in place to prevent federal action or water diversions out west," says Lusch.
"Cool" Idea for Efficient Climate Control Wins Recognition
A Michigan State University researcher and a colleague have won the Boston Innovation Prize for the design of a low-cost, energy-efficient method of cooling and dehumidifying residential and small commercial spaces. Norbert Müller, assistant professor in Michigan State University's Department of Mechanical Engineering, and John Barrie, of the Appropriate Technology Collaborative in Ann Arbor, Mich., collaborated on the award-winning project. "The technology used for this air conditioner is radically different," Müller says. "We are using the most natural refrigerant, water."
How to Save and Purify the World's Water Supply
Clean water is one thing that most Americans take for granted. But with aging infrastructure, climate change and an accelerating world population, keeping clean water running from our taps is a growing challenge, both physically and politically...
Antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and emerging pathogens like E. coli are the biggest threats to a clean water supply, according to Joan B. Rose, director of the Center for Water Sciences at Michigan State University. Rose, a microbiologist, says our aging water purification systems have a tough time keeping up with not only the increasing number of water-borne threats, but also with the increasing number of vulnerable citizens.
Dietz Advises Congress on Climate Policy
It seems all but certain that the next Congress will take legislative action on climate change, and when it does, ESPP Director Thomas Dietz will be among its advisers.
The National Academy of Sciences tapped Dietz to help lead a $6 million study called America's Climate Choices. The two-year study will assess short and long-term strategies for slowing and adapting to climate change, and will identify challenges and new directions for research.
Dietz said Michigan State takes a unique approach to climate change research, and that the appointment speaks highly of the MSU model.
"There is a lot being done around campus on climate change, and this is a huge validation of that," he said.More>>
Dietz interviewed on Spartan Podcast, 11/19/08
Students Race to Finish MSU's First Solar Car
The State News
An efficient vehicle cruising in the Michigan sun is what a team of students envision as they work to finish Michigan State University's first solar car. The car, which will be powered by the sun's energy and contains no pollutants, is 90 percent complete and looks far different from a normal gas-powered vehicle. It is expected to be able to reach speeds of at least 40 mph.
MSU Theater Department Really Goes 'Green'
Lansing State Journal
In a year of creative connections, director Christina Traister is tying the Michigan State University Department of Theatre's annual Shakespeare production to the earth. The director, who has spent the past couple of seasons working with the Michigan Shakespeare Festival, is greening "Love's Labour's Lost" by using recycled and natural materials to create the production...
Traister, who is a visiting assistant professor of acting and voice and a native of Grand Ledge, has worked with the MSU Office of Campus Sustainability on this production.
If a Tree Falls in the Forest, Are Biofuels to Blame? It's Not Easy Being Green
Wall Street Journal
Biofuels are under siege from critics who say they crowd out food production. Now these fuels made from grass and grain, long touted as green, are being criticized as bad for the planet...
Previous studies have found that substituting biofuels for gasoline reduces greenhouse gases. Those studies generally didn't account for the carbon emissions that occur as farmers world-wide respond to higher food prices and convert forest and grassland to cropland. Bruce Dale, chemical-engineering professor at Michigan State University, says he is skeptical that policymakers can establish an accurate system for gauging the indirect effect of biofuel production on overseas land use. "All this stuff is accounting," which in turns depends on data and "assumptions you make about how the world works," he says.
Economic Downturn Bears Out Research by Arvai, Rivers
A paper published last December by Joe Arvai (ESPP and Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies) and Louie Rivers (ESPP and Criminal Justice) went against widely accepted behavior theory, but real-world evidence from the current economic downturn substantiates their claims.
Faced with repeated financial injury, they said, people are more likely to eat their losses and hang on to what cash they have left, rather than making risky investments to get their money back.More>>
MSU Researchers Study Globalization with NSF Grant
MSU researchers have received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation's program in Coupled Natural and Human Systems to study the effects of globalization on remote communities.
The researchers will conduct a five-year study of "globalization from the perspective of households," said principal investigator Dan Kramer, an assistant professor jointly appointed by Fisheries and Wildlife and James Madison College.
Also working on the project are Andrea Allen, Anthropology; Aaron McCright, Lyman Briggs College and Sociology; Jiaguo Qi, Geography; and Gerald Urquhart, Lyman Briggs College.
New Center to Help Farmers Turn Waste into Energy
MSU's new Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center will use state and foundation grants totaling more than $3 million to combine new and existing programs in a planned building south of campus.
Director Steven Safferman (Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering) says the facility will develop technologies to help small and mid-sized farms turn animal waste into electricity, heat and other valuable products.
Robertson Paper on Biofuels Published in Science
Phil Robertson (Crop and Soil Sciences) was lead author of a paper published in the October 3 issue of the journal Science.
Robertson and numerous co-authors from diverse disciplines found that policymakers have a brief opportunity to protect the environment from potential harm caused by the fledgling biofuels industry. A system of incentives could encourage farmers who grow biofuel crops to adopt sustainable practices, the paper says.
Local High Schoolers, ESPP Staffer Build Green Float
When ESPP staffer Marcy Heberer pitched the idea of a "green" homecoming float to the students she advises at East Lansing High School, the kids responded in a big way.
The junior and senior classes built the float from locally gathered recycled material, and may have started a trend for future floats. Best of all, by saving money on building materials, the students were able to donate $1,000 worth of non-perishables to a local food bank.
Salchow, Link Help Students Design Eco Posters
Office of Campus Sustainability
Kelly Salchow (Art and Art History) and John Kinch (Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures, or WRAC) joined Terry Link, director of the Office of Campus Sustainability, to help students create posters that put an environmental twist on popular political slogans.
Students taking courses in WRAC and art and art history last spring semester designed posters with slogans like "I Like Bike" and "Wind Power to the People" to coordinate with the presidential election. A limited number of posters will soon be available by contacting the Office of Campus Sustainability.
They can also be downloaded here.
McCright and Auras Awarded Lilly Fellowships
Aaron McCright (Lyman Briggs College and Sociology) and Rafael Auras (Packaging) are among seven assistant professors selected to participate in MSU's Lilly Teaching Fellows Program for the 2008-2009 school year.
The program seeks to give a diverse group of instructors a chance to hone their teaching skills, and to prepare fellows for faculty leadership roles. In one of the program's chief components, fellows choose and are paired with experienced faculty mentors.
ESPP Affiliates Fill Magazine's Pages
The latest issue of MSUToday magazine focuses on environmental stewardship, so it's no surprise that its pages are filled with ESPP affiliates.
Carole Gibbs (Criminal Justice and Fisheries and Wildlife), Stephen Hamilton (Zoology) Jennifer Olson (Geography and Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media), Stuart Gage (Entomology), Jack Liu (Fisheries and Wildlife), Shu-Guang Li (Civil and Environmental Engineering), and others are featured in the magazine.
Read the magazine [pdf].
Volunteer for Festival and See Environmental Films Free
Volunteers are needed for "Green on the Big Screen," an environmental fair and film festival presented by MSU's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences and the East Lansing Film Festival, to be held November 13-16.
Volunteers will receive free movie passes in return for greeting visitors, acting as ushers, serving refreshments and assisting moderators during Q and A sessions, among other duties.
To sign up, contact Matthew Cimitile at email@example.com. For more information about the festival, visit www.cas.msu.edu/filmfest
Global Warming Tied to Disease
(Note: Kari Lydersen, who wrote this story, was among the reporters who attended the climate change workshop in Alaska sponsored by MSU's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism.)
When a 1991 cholera outbreak that killed thousands in Peru was traced to plankton blooms fueled by warmer-than-usual coastal waters, linking disease outbreaks to epidemics was a new idea. Now, scientists say, it is a near-certainty that global warming will drive significant increases in water-borne diseases around the world...
More than 100 pathogens can cause illness if you drink or swim in water contaminated by sewage, including norovirus Norwalk and hepatitis A viruses and bacteria such as E. coli and campylobacter. "If someone gets something swimming, they could bring it into work or day care. This is what's happened with cryptosporidium before," says Joan Rose, professor and water researcher at Michigan State University.More >>
Buying Local Gets Boost from State
Traverse City Record-Eagle
The Department of Agriculture's 'Select Michigan' campaign is helping farmers sustain their businesses and helping consumers identify locally grown food. The five-year-old program has been a success since its inception, department officials say. In the first year, 700 jobs were kept or created and sales increased by 10 percent to 20 percent. The program uses stickers on produce to identify them as local to shoppers. It's funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Fund and the Michigan Food and Farming System. In addition, more than 20 commodity groups provide funding to promote products represented by Select Michigan. "I don't think there's a downside to the program," says Chris Peterson, director of the Michigan State University Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Sen. Levin Visits New Composite Vehicle Lab
College of Engineering
U.S. Sen Carl Levin toured the College of Engineering's Composite Vehicle Research Center (CVRC), where faculty showed him how the new facility will help build safer, more lightweight and environmentally friendly vehicles for military and civilian use.
ESPP affiliate Lawrence Drzal (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science) helped lead the senator's tour.
The CVRC and its Department of Defense agency partners aim to solve problems unique to heavy-duty vehicles, and intend to apply those solutions to combat and civilian vehicles.More >>
Economic woes may hurt colleges' green efforts
Chronicle of Higher Education [paid subscription]
Recent events on Wall Street raise a complicated question: Will the financial crisis help or hurt colleges' sustainability efforts?
"I'm seeing more integrated thinking out there," says Terry Link, sustainability director at Michigan State University. He sees new interest in sustainability from people who aren't known for being environmental firebrands.
Earth-friendly East Lansing condos go green with grass roof
Lansing State Journal
Some downtown condominium residents now can gaze out their windows at a grassy rooftop. Crews finished construction of the city's first 'green' roof Tuesday at Albert Place Condominiums, a 36-unit residential development at Albert Avenue and Bailey Street.
Brad Rowe, Michigan State University horticulture professor who served as a consultant for the project, says the roof's benefits include storm water management because it should retain 60 percent to 100 percent of rain that falls on it, energy conservation because it will insulate and shade the building and fewer repairs because it should last twice as long as a standard roof.
Dr. Bill Derman on Afripod
Bill Derman, Professor of Anthropology at MSU, discussed his recent volume "Conflicts Over Land and Water in Africa" on the Africa Past and Present podcast. He described the role of government policies, local farmers, and chiefs in land reform in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Derman also reflected the sensitive position of researchers working in the changing political context of southern Africa.
Listen to the podcast
MSU Initiative to Support Women in Science
Increasing the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers is the goal of a five-year, $3.98 million NSF ADVANCE grant to MSU.
The project will first develop policies to recruit, retain and promote women in the Colleges of Engineering, Natural Science and Social Science. Successful changes will then spread across campus.
Women earn half of all bachelor's degrees in science and engineering, but are only 27 percent of the science and engineering work force at large and only 29 percent (in 2003) of doctoral-level science and engineering faculty in four-year colleges and universities, with only 18 percent at the rank of full professors.
ESPP affiliates Diane Ebert-May (Plant Biology), Kay Gross (Plant Biology) and Joan Rose (Fisheries and Wildlife) are on the project's advisory board.More >>
A Listening Party for Nature
To some biologists, sounds are more than an aural accompaniment to field trips: They convey information that traditional field surveys are hard-pressed to uncover. Now scientists are using sounds to tap into the pulse of ecosystems and monitor their health.
"The microphone is one of the most important biological sensors ever invented," says Stuart Gage, ecologist at Michigan State University. "It just hasn't been properly used for interpreting ecosystem dynamics."
Stung by mysterious die-offs, Michigan beekeepers worry about impact
As beekeepers harvest honey this month, they face an uncertain future that could bring higher food prices as bees mysteriously continue to vanish from hives. . The use of pesticides, a fungus, parasitic mites and even stress and the bees' diet are all theories. "Bees are still dying. We don't know the cause," says Zachary Huang, associate professor of entomology at Michigan State University. "We do not know whether it's a single cause or a combination of things."
Environment at MSU: Water
ESPP's second "Environment at MSU" research networking event on October 3rd focused on water, a historic strength at MSU. Faculty and students heard presentations from Jan Stevenson (Zoology), Jon Bartholic (Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies), Julie Winkler (Geography) and Jeff Andresen (Geography).
For more about the speakers' presentations and biosketches of attendees, click here
Jinhua Zhao Wins Award for Climate Paper
Jinhua Zhao (Economics and Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics) has been awarded first prize in an international competition for a paper addressing global climate change. Jinhau co-authored the paper with Larry Karp of the University of California, Berkeley. It was one of 36 submissions, with authors from 18 countries, to the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements.
For more about the paper and its author (new to MSU), click here
Institute of Water Research Receives $1 Million Grant [pdf]
MSU's Institute of Water Research received a $1 million grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), as well as $500,000 from the university, to help MDEQ improve its source water protection efforts.
According to the Institute, by combining MDEQ's tools with MSU's know-how, the project "has the potential to produce paradigm-shifting advances in hydrological science and engineering."
ESPP Affiliates' Photos Win Prizes
Zachary Huang (Entomology) and Ryan Klataske (Anthropology) won awards for their photographs in the most recent Global Focus contest, sponsored by MSU Office of International Studies and Programs, along with the Alumni Association. The photos were selected from more than 200 entries.
Cheruvelil Chosen for Women's Science Symposium
Kendra Cheruvelil (Fisheries and Wildlife and Lyman Briggs College) was selected to attend an annual symposium held by Women Evolving Biological Sciences. The group aims to keep women active in science, and to help get more women into tenure track positions where they can act as academic and research leaders.
Cheruvelil said "many in academia think that because the percent of women undergraduate students is at or above 50 percent, and because in some fields of science the percent of women graduate students is nearing 50 percent, there is no longer an attrition problem for women in the sciences." But that is untrue, she said, since those numbers belie the small percentages of women in tenure track positions.
For more information about the symposium, click here
Sticklen to Lead $2.5 Million NSF Project
Jon Sticklen (Computer Science and Engineering) was named co-principal investigator in a National Science Foundation-funded collaboration with Lansing Community College that seeks to increase the number of students completing degree programs in engineering.
Rose Wins Water Award
Joan Rose (Fisheries and Wildlife) is the winner of the Hei-jin Woo Award, which recognizes outstanding work by a woman engineer or scientist in the water field. Rose received the award in recognition of her work in water quality and public health.
Hyndman Testifies Before House Subcommittee [pdf]
David Hyndman (Geological Sciences) testified before a House subcommittee about the environmental impacts of the bottled water industry.
Read his testimony [pdf]
MSU Center a Leader in Studying Global Change
MSU's Center for Global Change and Earth Observations brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines in an effort to understand the changing planet.
Director Jiaguo Qi says the stakes are high, and hopes that by applying social science techniques to environmental issues, the Center can help people adapt to a changing world.
Salchow Featured in Sustainable Design Book
Kelly Salchow (Art and Art History) is profiled in "SustainAble: A Handbook of Materials and Applications for Graphic Designers and Their Clients (Design Field Guide) (2008). The book describes a package design project Salchow's students worked on. Packaging can be extremely wasteful and is generally assumed to be disposable, Salchow noted: "I urged students to consider it as durable." Students integrated the package form into the use of the object; for example, Kim Magerko designed a package for a toy car that also serves as a tunnel for the car to travel through. "As educators," said Salchow, "it's our responsibility to prepare students to contribute to society as professionals, but perhaps more importantly to instill a sense of ethics."
"SustainAble" is a source book for educators and practitioners.
"The Wilderness Debate Rages On": Michael Nelson Edits Follow-up Volume
Michael Nelson (Fisheries and Wildlife, Lyman Briggs) is co-editor of The Wilderness Debate Rages On, a collection of essays, fiction and standard academic papers that exhibit the wide range of ideas about what wilderness is and how it ought to be used. The book is a follow-up to The Great New Wilderness Debate, also co-edited by Nelson, which was released a decade ago. Nelson said he hopes the book can bring civility to a fierce and occasionally violent debate.
New ESPP Hire: Louie Rivers
We're very pleased to welcome Louie Rivers as a joint hire between ESPP and Criminal Justice. Rivers comes to us from Washington, D.C., where he worked for two years at the National Science Foundation. He's an expert in environmental risk, and will teach online courses in conservation criminology.
Sustainability Science Event - Networking for Environmental Researchers
More than 50 faculty, staff and students attended the first in a series of monthly networking seminars hosted by ESPP. The event focused on sustainability science and featured presentations by Thomas Dietz (ESPP) and Sandra Batie (Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics).
A description of the event, attendee biosketches, and Tom Dietz's and Sandra Batie's slides are available here.
Overview of Invasive Species Work at MSU
MSU's Invasive Species Initiative and the work of ESPP affiliates Doug Landis (Entomology), Doug Schemske (Plant Biology), Deborah McCullough (Entomology), and Rob Ahern (Entomology), among others, are featured in the summer issue of the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station's magazine. More >>
Other stories in the issue discuss MSU invasive species research related to the Great Lakes, agriculture, biofuels, and horticulture. Check it out.
Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics Graduate Students Win Honors
Wei Zhang and Daniel Mooney, both of MSU's Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, received awards for environmentally-related theses from the American Agricultural Economics Association at its annual meeting, held July 27-29, 2008 in Orlando, FL. Zhang was awarded Outstanding Ph.D. Dissertation: Honorable Mention for her 2007 Ph.D. dissertation, "Optimal Pest Management in the Presence of Natural Pest Control Services." (Only 2 PhD dissertations received awards; this one came in 2nd.) Daniel Mooney was awarded Outstanding M.S. Thesis: Honorable Mention for his 2007 M.S. thesis entitled "The Economic Impact of Disease-Resistant Bean Breeding Research in Northern Ecuador." (This was one of 4 M.S. theses nationally receiving awards.) Scott Swinton (Agricultural, Food & Resource Economics) was research supervisor for both theses.
Tom Dietz Chairs National Research Council's Panel's Report on Public Participation in Environmental Decisionmaking
When done correctly, public participation improves the quality of federal agencies' decisions about the environment, says a new report from the National Research Council, entitled "Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decisionmaking." Tom Dietz (Environmental Science and Policy Program) chaired the panel that issued the report. The NAS report is available here.
See New York Times coverage on Dietz
MSU Praised By National Wildlife Federation For Sustainability Efforts
National Wildlife Federation
Michigan's colleges and universities rank 9th in a new national report card from the National Wildlife Federation that gauges how well institutions of higher education are recycling, conserving energy and water, protecting wildlife habitat and teaching environmental education.."I think it's safe to say that MSU is honestly striving to be a truly 'green' university," said Terry Link, director of the Office of Campus Sustainability for Michigan State University. "We are attempting to walk our motto - 'Advancing Knowledge, Transforming Lives'.
Peggy Ostrom Researches Hawaiian Petrel Using Lava Tubes
On a chilly, Michigan winter day, a day you dream about Hawaii, I was sitting in the office of Michigan State University zoology professor Peggy Ostrom. We were discussing ocean sequestration of carbon for a magazine article I was writing. After the interview, Ostrom mentioned her upcoming work on a project involving a Hawaiian endangered seabird, a collaboration with Smithsonian Institution scientists Helen James and Robert Fleischer.
Paul Thompson Discusses Ethics of Emerging Technologies
New York Times
Paul Thompson (Philosophy and Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies) discussed the ethics of emerging technologies in the New York Times. An excerpt: "Last year, a private company proposed fertilizing parts of the ocean with iron, in hopes of encouraging carbon-absorbing blooms of plankton. Meanwhile, researchers elsewhere are talking about injecting chemicals into the atmosphere, launching sun-reflecting mirrors into stationary orbit above the earth or taking other steps to reset the thermostat of a warming planet. ... Paul Thompson, a philosopher at Michigan State and former secretary of the International Society for Environmental Ethics, says many scientists were trained to limit themselves to questions answerable in the real world, in the belief that "scientists and engineers should not be involved in these kinds of ethical questions."
Greenpeace Cites MSU Agricultural Research
A Greenpeace article on Food Security and Global Change includes a reference to research done at Kellogg Biological Station's Long-Term Ecological Research site by Rich Smith (Plant Biology), Kay Gross (Plant Biology), and Phil Robertson (Crop and Soil Sciences). The research shows how crop rotation and incorporation of diversity can influence crop yields.
Scientists Brief Congress on the Sustainability of Cellulosic Biofuels
Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station Newsletter
Phil Robertson (Crop and Soil Sciences) and Doug Landis (Entomology) took part in an Ecological Society of America-hosted House and Senate briefing on the sustainability of cellulosic biofuels. They discussed the ecological and economic considerations surrounding the use of cellulosic biomass -- the leaves, stems and other fibrous parts of a plant -- to produce biofuels.Landis spoke about the value, both environmental and monetary, of maintaining high levels of biodiversity in agricultural systems..Robertson spoke about the economic, environmental and social elements of biofuel sustainability.
Strategic Partnership Grant for Proposal on Electronic Properties and Applications of Microbial Nanowires
MSU Research News
The MSU Foundation has provided support for a group led by Gemma Reguera (Microbiology and Molecular Genetics). Building on their leadership in characterizing microbial nanowires, the research team will analyze the conduction properties of microbially produced protein nanowires and explore innovative applications for conductive proteins. Potential applications include design of conductive peptides and protein nanowires and insights to bimolecular self-assembly and electron transfer as well as development of more efficient microbial fuel cells and bioremediation processes for toxic materials.
'Small' research at MSU leads to advances in energy, electronics
Lawrence Drzal (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science) and his students have developed a nanomaterial that makes plastic stiffer, lighter and stronger and could result in more fuel-efficient airplanes and cars as well as more durable medical and sports equipment.
The material - xGnP Exfoliated Graphite NanoPlatelets - will be instrumental in the development of new and expanded applications in the aerospace, automotive and packaging industries, said Drzal. The graphene nanoparticles are being manufactured by a new startup company, XG Sciences Inc., located in mid-Michigan and a spinoff from intellectual property owned by MSU. XG Sciences has an exclusive license to manufacture this material.
Rachael Shwom Blogs on Climate Change & Values
Great Lakes Town Hall
Ph.D. candidate Rachael Shwom (Sociology and ESPP) was guest commentator on the Great Lakes Town Hall during the week of July 28. Shwom wrote about connections between the Great Lakes, global warming, and the public's perspective. The Great Lakes Town Hall is sponsored by the Biodiversity Project, in Chicago. Read her postings (or contact Brenda Wanous at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Combing for Clues
The State News
The month of August not only marks the beginning for a new school year at Michigan State University, but also the beginning of honey harvesting season for beekeepers across the state. But as students return to East Lansing they may be the only ones creating a buzz, as Michigan's honeybee population is continually disappearing.
For more than 20 years, Zachary Huang, an associate professor of entomology at MSU, has been studying bees, but it wasn't until two years ago that an unusual disappearance of honeybees sent panic through beekeeping communities around the nation. Since 2006, about 25 percent of the honeybee population has been lost in our country and we don't know why, Huang says. Beekeepers are opening up their hives and the bees are simply just not there.
Jack Liu Identifies Disciplinary Integration as Key to China's Future
In a forum in Nature, Jack Liu (Fisheries and Wildlife) discussed disciplinary integration as a tool to make China a research and innovation powerhouse.
Oxobiodegradable Bag Wears Down Anywhere
Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Oxobiodegradable bags are fully biodegradable and will provide a better solution to paper or compostable bags made of natural fibers such as jute, plastic manufacturers in the UAE. Ramani Narayan, professor of material science and engineering at Michigan State University, says oxobiodegradable bags should be consumed within the time specified by related standards as the waste will end up in landfills.
Brad Rowe Receives Research Award of Excellence for Green Roof Research
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities
Brad Rowe (Horticulture) received the award from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities at the 6th International Green Roof Conference in May 2008. The award goes to "an individual whose research has received widespread peer recognition, has performed outstanding service to the development of the green roof industry, and has enhanced the development of green roofs in North America and worldwide."
Kay Gross receives Ecological Society of America's Distinguished Service Citation
MSU College of Natural Science News
Kay Gross (Kellogg Biological Station and Plant Biology) received the Ecological Society of America's ( ESA ) Distinguished Service Citation. ESA announced: "She is renowned in the ecological community for both her scientific contributions to plant ecology and her contributions to developing the institutional infrastructure of the field.. Gross has been involved in the development of a long-term archive of ecological data that is freely accessible to ecologists and was instrumental in developing a "think tank" for ecology, which resulted in the establishment of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis."
Remote weather stations give farmers timely advice
The Associated Press, New York Times
For apple growers like Abby Jacobson, making or losing money depends as much on what they don't do as what they do. So when data from Michigan State University 's high-tech weather monitoring network helped her decide to skip four costly chemical sprayings this spring, she considered it an unqualified success.
Scientists across the nation want to emulate MSU's long-term research success
The United States should use an MSU program as a model for long-term agricultural research and set up a network of similar sites across the country, according to a paper in the journal BioScience. A paper in the July/August issue of the journal BioScience calls for the United States to use the internationally known program as a model for agricultural research and set up a network of LTER-like sites across the country. Typically, agricultural research projects are funded for two to three years.
MSU Faculty Study E. coli Transport Through Soil
Three MSU faculty have received funding from the US Department of Agriculture (CSREES) to characterize and model pore geometries within soils which control the flow, distribution, and retention of E. coli from agricultural ecosystems subjected to contrasting long term management. Sash Kravchenko (Crop and Soil Sciences), Joan Rose (Center for Water Sciences), and Alvin Smucker (Crop and Soil Sciences) will use the synchrotron at Argonne National Laboratories to process their images. This project will increase understanding of the pore routes of E. coli transport originating from animal manures applied to surface soils.
China's programs aim to restore environment and help people
Science Daily, PhysOrg.com, Huliq.com, Space News
Two of the world's largest environmental programs in China are generally successful, although key reforms could transform them into models for the rest of the world, according to new research. Jianguo "Jack" Liu, Michigan State University Distinguished Professor , and several colleagues reviewed China 's Natural Forest Conservation and Grain to Green programs that together represent a government investment of more than 500 billion yuan ($72 billion-plus).
Hyena has hidden 'language' of groans
Hyenas are famous for their loud laughs, but hyena groans may be an equally important facet of their vocal repertoire. Frederic Theunissen's team at the University of California in Berkeley , US , is using a captive hyena colony in Berkeley Hills to study those groans, which are too subtle to record in the wild. ... Kay Holekamp, zoologist at Michigan State University, isn't surprised that Theunissen's work has revealed variation in hyena groans. "Spotted hyenas live in very complex societies, and they have a long, slow development during which cubs must form many different social relationships," she says. "Groans may very well play a role in that socialization process."
Mid-Michigan a valley of giant alternative energy potential
Business Review, Kalamazoo Gazette
Alternative energy could power an economic renaissance in a state that desperately needs jobs, and mid-Michigan could play a key role in that future. "We have a significant opportunity to create new jobs throughout the alternative-energy production chain," says Steve Pueppke, director of the Office of Biobased Technologies at Michigan State University.
The Wilderness Debate Rages On
The University of Georgia Press
Ten years ago, The Great New Wilderness Debate began a crossdisciplinary conversation about the varied constructions of "wilderness" and the controversies that surrounded them. The Wilderness Debate Rages On will reinvigorate that conversation and usher in a second decade of debate. ESPP faculty member, Michael P. Nelson, co-edited The Wilderness Debate Rages On.
Research on Phosphorus Levels in Lakes Guides State Policy
Pat Soranno (Fisheries and Wildlife) and a team of MSU researchers are collaborating with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to develop a phosphorus standard for Michigan lakes. "Every lake is different," says Soranno. "What is considered healthy for one body of water is not necessarily healthy for another. That's why it's important to develop a standard that takes water chemistry and biology differences into account." By looking at patterns among hundreds of water bodies, Soranno and her team developed an approach that predicts healthy nutrient levels on the basis of lake characteristics and the surrounding land.
Alternative energy: The movie
Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
Over the years, screenwriters have come up with all sorts of creative ideas for alternative sources of energy. With gas prices where they are, it's definitely time to take a closer look. ... "Many waste streams, including swine manure, can be better treated to protect our environment, and at the same time to provide some form of energy, including methane gas or even crude oil," says Yuanhui Zhang, professor of environmental engineering at the University of Illinois. One hurdle, however, is manure supply. "This is technically feasible, and could make a small contribution to vehicle fuels," says Bruce Dale, engineering professor at Michigan State University. "There just isn't enough of it."
Students' Renewable Energy Argument Wins Air and Waste Management Association Award
A team of five MSU students won second place in a student environmental challenge at the Air and Waste Management Association's 101 st Annual Conference in Portland , Oregon . Eight student teams from Canada and the United States participated in the challenge, which asked students to either reject or accept a proposal for a new 1,000 MW Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) coal facility meant to serve the Pacific Northwest region. The MSU team included Brandon Knight, Michael Collins (Journalism), Lauren Olson (CARRS), Rebecca Hullman (ESPP and Environmental Engineering), and Tan Zhao (Environmental Engineering). The team decided to abstain from the use of fossil fuels, and instead proposed a renewable portfolio consisting of wind, biomass, geothermal, compressed air storage, wave, solar, and energy efficiency/conservation. MSU students will have another chance to compete in a similar challenge when the conference moves to Detroit in June 2009.
EPA honors MSU professors with Green Chemistry Award
Two MSU professors have received national honors for their work that has provided significant innovations in pollution prevention in the United States. Chemistry professors Robert Maleczka and Milton Smith have earned the 2008 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Garlic mustard pulled with a vengeance
Detroit Free Press
For several weeks more than 1,000 people around the state took part in Michigan 's first Garlic Mustard Challenge, a competition aimed at pulling up 100,000 pounds of the aggressive invader by June 15. What do all these people have against garlic mustard? The plants can produce up to 17,000 seeds per square yard. The mustard takes over large areas, dominating native wildflowers and other plants. Through its roots, it secretes chemicals harmful to fungi that are beneficial to other plants, including trees. ... "It's a very serious invader," one of the top 10 worst alien plants in Michigan, says Doug Landis, a Michigan State University professor researching invasive species. Landis is studying possible biological controls for garlic mustard that might someday help rein in the plant.
David MacFarlane Describes Urban Tree Utilization on Morning Edition
WKAR's Morning Edition featured David MacFarlane (Forestry) suggesting more creative use of storm-damaged trees. The story focused mainly on how Lansing is using storm-damaged trees (most are burned for power generation), but also highlights that, in general, substantial amounts of wood are discarded or put to lower value uses; with better infrastructure, they could be better utilized.
Helpful health tips for swimming in pools
Spencer Daily Reporter (Iowa)
No matter where you are swimming -- in your backyard or community pool -- you should know the difference between a healthy pool and a risky one. Proper pool treatment and healthy behavior are keys to a safe swim protecting water quality and swimmer health. ... "A well-maintained, properly chlorinated swimming pool is essential to preventing illnesses from waterborne bacteria and viruses," says Joan Rose, Water Quality Council member and noted Michigan State University microbiologist. "These pathogens can cause swimmers to experience diarrhea, respiratory illness, ear or nose and skin infections."
Jennifer Sowa is the team leader for the environmental stewardship communications team at Michigan State University . MSU has established an expansive environmental stewardship effort called Be Spartan Green. Sowa talks about the five things you can do to be Spartan Green.
Flooding muddies push for ethanol
Massive flooding in the Midwest has ruined millions of acres of crops, spurring record corn prices and raising serious questions about whether the United States can meet new requirements for using corn-based biofuels in the nation's cars and trucks. ... Bruce Dale of Michigan State University, an expert on ethanol, note that energy prices, especially oil, are driving much of the increase in food prices. "We've had cheap food and cheap energy for a long time," Dale says. He noted diesel fuel has jumped to $4.70 a gallon, up $1.88 in the last year, which also has boosted food prices.
Nobel Prize shines on MSU faculty
MSU faculty contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, which recently won the Nobel Prize for Peace. David Campbell (Geography), Kim Hall (Fisheries and Wildlife and Forestry), and Julie Winkler (Geography) were reviewers for the 2007 report's Working Group II, on "Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability." Campbell and Hall were reviewers for the 2001 report's Working Group II, also, and David Skole (Forestry) reviewed for the 2001 report's Working Group I, on "The Scientific Basis." Skole was also a lead author for the first assessment of Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry and received a special Nobel Diploma given to those who contributed to the IPCC in substantial ways.
Knight Center for Environmental Journalism produces "Meltdown" program on climate change, featuring MSU faculty
The Knight Center's Lou D'Aria and students from journalism, broadcasting, theater, zoology, music, and fisheries and wildlife produced a program on climate change in the Arctic. The program features MSU faculty members Nathaniel Ostrom (Zoology), David Skole (Forestry) and Merrit Turetsky (Plant Biology).
ESPP student wins NASA fellowship
NASA has granted a two-year Earth Systems Science Fellowship (ESSF) to Geography and ESPP student Carolina Santos, awarding her $30,000 per year to pursue her research on Complex Land Use & Cover Trajectories in the Northern Choco Bioregion of Columbia . The fellowship supports training of interdisciplinary scientists to support the study of the Earth as a system, with a particular emphasis on using observations and measurements from NASA's Earth orbiting satellites. Congratulations Carolina!
Letting 1,000 forests bloom
China 's Hengduan Mountain Region lies more than 1,500 kilometers southwest of Beijing . The Hengduans are like islands, isolated, with a range of ecological niches, spurring plants to speciate like mad. They house 3,500 endemic species of plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals, including giant pandas. That's made this part of China a prime target of plant collectors and botanists since the late 19th century. ... China started to replant and preserve forest lands nationwide. These moves were "a major milestone," says Jianguo "Jack" Liu, ecologist, of Michigan State University.
MSU faculty present to legislators on climate change
As Jeffrey Andresen, of MSU's Department of Geography, and Nathaniel Ostrom , of MSU's Department of Zoology, testified on June 10 at a hearing on climate change organized by Representative Rebekah Warren, Chair of the House Great Lakes and Environment Committee, and Steve Chester, Director of the DEQ. Dr. Andresen specializes in agricultural meteorology & applied climatology, while Dr. Ostrom studies how carbon dioxide and nitrogen function within the climate and carbon cycles. David Skole , of MSU's Department of Forestry, also spoke to legislators recently. Dr. Skole studies global carbon cycles and the role of forests in climate change.
Bacteria make major evolutionary shift in the lab
New Scientist (U.K.)
A major evolutionary innovation has unfurled right in front of researchers' eyes. It's the first time evolution has been caught in the act of making such a rare and complex new trait. ... Twenty years ago, Richard Lenski, evolutionary biologist at Michigan State University , took a single Escherichia coli bacterium and used its descendants to found 12 laboratory populations. "It's the most profound change we have seen during the experiment. This was clearly something quite different for them, and it's outside what was normally considered the bounds of E. coli as a species, which makes it especially interesting," says Lenski.
Knight Center for Environmental Journalism receives Michigan Emmy
Louis A. D'Aria, executive producer of the MSU Knight Center for Environmental Journalism's television program "Environment," was awarded a 2008 Emmy award by the Michigan Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on Saturday, June 7 in the category of best lighting for "Dying to be Heard." The Michigan Emmy awards were announced last night at ceremonies held at the Gem Theatre in Detroit .
Paper for pricey plastic?
Reuters, Forbes, New York Times
You know that flimsy plastic bag the convenience store clerk put your toothpaste in? The price of those bags, though still cheaper than paper ones, is rising fast because of higher natural gas and oil prices. And the same goes for plastic water bottles, takeout containers, the case around your computer, and car parts. ... Susan Selke, acting director of Michigan State University's School of Packaging, says she expected more changes in packaging to use less plastic, and also more plastic made from sugar cane and other renewable resources, rather than natural gas and oil.
High fuel prices to make cellulosic biofuels increasingly competitive with gas
A new institute in the San Francisco Bay Area is seeking to make cellulosic biofuel an economically viable alternative to corn ethanol and gasoline within the next five years. ... "The first thing we have to do is make sure that the long-term fertility of the soil is preserved," says Bruce Dale, chemical engineer at Michigan State University who studies cellulosic ethanol production. "One of the reasons I like perennial grasses as a source of cellulosic ethanol is that's what they do, just kind of by nature, because they have these deep roots and tend to capture nutrients and build up soil carbon over time."
Science News, The Scientists
If Stephen Jay Gould were alive today, he would be smiling. Maybe even gloating. New research suggests that the famous evolutionary biologist was right when he argued that, if the evolution of life were "wound back" and played again from the start, it could have turned out very differently. ... Scientists obviously can't turn back the hands of time, but Richard Lenski and his colleagues at Michigan State University did the next best thing. Lenski's team watched 12 colonies of identical E. coli bacteria evolve under carefully controlled lab conditions for 20 years, which equates to more than 40,000 generations of bacteria. After every 500 generations, the researchers froze samples of bacteria. Those bacteria could later be thawed out to "replay" the evolutionary clock from that point in time.
MSU launches campaign to cut power use by up to 17 percent
Lansing State Journal
Michigan State University's leaders can't do much about the skyrocketing prices of coal and natural gas. But they think they can convince students, faculty and staff to turn off a few lights and power down their computers at the end of the day, particularly if it means smaller tuition bills and more money for university programs. "The challenge we have on campus is people don't get the electrical bill," says Kathy Lindahl, assistant vice president for finance and operations.
MSU researchers receive University Research Corridor (URC) funds for energy projects
MSU College of Engineering
The University Research Corridor (URC), an alliance of Michigan 's three research universities, announced May 29 that its first seed fund grants will go to two energy projects led by College of Engineering researchers. The seed investments will help launch two collaborations for efficient development of cheaper forms of electricity and fuel, one involving all three universities and the other involving MSU and U-M.
MAES scientist selected as 2008 Leopold Leadership Fellow
Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station
MAES scientist Scott Swinton, professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, is one of 19 environmental researchers from across North America selected as Leopold leadership fellows for 2008. Each of the fellows will participate in two weeklong intensive training seminars in June and September to learn to become stronger communicators with audiences outside of academia, including journalists and policymakers.
MSU water fellows follow outline water quality protection needs to joint House, Senate Committee
Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station
MAES scientist Scott Swinton, professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, is one of 19 environmental researchers from across North America selected as Leopold leadership fellows for 2008. Each of the fellows will participate in two weeklong intensive training seminars in June and September to learn to become stronger communicators with audiences outside of academia, including journalists and policymakers.
Graphene-Polymer Composite: New composites could lead to better food packaging, and to lighter car and airplane parts
By spreading a small amount of graphene, a single-layer flat sheet of carbon atoms, throughout polymers, researchers have made tough, lightweight materials. The composites conduct electricity and can withstand much higher temperatures than the polymers alone....Graphene might also raise fewer toxicity concerns than carbon nanotubes... The worry is that carbon nanotubes could mimic asbestos fibers, which are thin enough to penetrate into the lungs and cause cancer. Graphene, on the other hand, "is a nanometer only in thickness," says Lawrence Drzal, director of the Composite Materials and Structures Center at Michigan State University.
Microbes in the Energy Grid
The current surge in food and fuel prices has sounded an alarm showing why providing a sustainable global energy supply and minimizing climate change are arguably two of the greatest challenges facing 21st-century society. With adequate research and proper implementation, the diverse and often unseen inhabitants of the microbial world -- bacteria, yeasts, fungi and archaea -- can help address these challenges. ... James Tiedje is a professor of microbiology and crop and soil sciences and director of the Center for Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University.
Great Lakes study highlights problems with water supply
Concern over the Great Lakes is the focus of a new local study. The study compiled by a group at Michigan State University suggests a better job needs to be done to oversee water quality and protect public health. Joan Rose, MSU water researcher , says "this report was more focused on understanding those pathogens, and more importantly, looking at new technology and techniques we could bring to the state of Michigan to understand those problems and protect our waters."
Michigan hopes to draw out-of-state tourists
Associated Press, USA Today
The state is launching its 2008 Pure Michigan advertising campaign in the state on Monday, a week after it launched the campaign regionally in cities stretching from Milwaukee to Cincinnati. Michigan hopes the award-winning campaign will draw more tourists from nearby states and Canada to enjoy its beaches, golf courses, fishing spots and bike trails, providing a shot in the arm despite higher gas prices and the weak economy. ... Robert Richardson, assistant professor at Michigan State University , who helped prepare the study, says the news isn't all bad. The declining value of the dollar could draw foreign visitors from Canada and other countries, and higher fuel prices could make an in-state vacation more attractive to Michigan residents.
Grow food and fuel in proper balance
Detroit Free Press
The recent hysteria about using agricultural crops for food or fuel creates a grave risk of setting up a false choice between only food or only fuel. There is room for both, but the adjustment process is complex and may be bumpy, as we've seen and read in recent news reports: "Ethanol from agricultural crops is causing dramatic food price increases, shortages and riots in the developing world." ... H. Christopher Peterson is professor of agricultural economics at Michigan State University and director of the MSU Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources. Steven Pueppke is director of the Office of Biobased Technologies at Michigan State University and director of the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station.
David Long is appointed Geological Society of America Fellow
Geological Society of America
David Long (Geology) has been appointed a Geological Society of America Fellow. His work is described: "David T. Long has conducted state-of-the-art research in environmental and aqueous geochemistry for 30 years. This research has provided over 85 refereed publications. Long is considered an international authority on trace metal dynamics, medical geochemistry, and acid-saline systems."
Renewable energy standards gain momentum in Michigan
Business Review (Mich.)
Support is building among local alternative energy leaders for the approval of a renewable portfolio standard in Michigan which would require electricity companies to ensure that a certain percentage of their energy comes from renewable sources. ... Adesoji Adelaja, director of Michigan State University's Land Policy Institute, says Michigan has a potential to produce 16,500 megawatts in power generated by wind turbines. But right now the state produces less than 1 percent of that.
Did Seth go to the dark side?
May 2008 Issue
For 10 years, since he founded Honest Tea, in 1998, Seth Goldman has been among the heroes of the natural foods movement. Even as his company took off, Goldman held true to his socially responsible ways. Honest Tea still buys its ingredients at fair-trade prices from small organic farms around the globe. But that was before his deal in February to sell 40 percent of his company to Coca-Cola. ... If Coca-Cola does acquire the rest of Honest Tea, it will be able to do whatever it wants with the brand. For starters, it could put pressure on the company to cut costs. In a worst-case scenario, says Phil Howard, professor at Michigan State University and an expert on the organic foods industry, such cost reductions could include substituting cheaper ingredients, such as high-fructose corn syrup, or boosting the number of ingredients that don't meet organic standards.
Who's laughing now?
April 2008 Issue
Long maligned as nasty scavengers, hyenas turn out to be protective parents and accomplished hunters. And new research is revealing that their social status may even be determined in the womb. ... "They'll circle, watch, lie down, then get back up and do it all again until they finally decide to attack," says Kay Holekamp, biologist at Michigan State University, who has been studying spotted hyenas in Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve for 20 years, and adjunct curator of zoology at the MSU Museum, Michigan's first Smithsonian affiliate.
Protein analysis provides evidence linking T. Rex with birds
The latest research on the mighty predator Tyrannosaurus rex confirms the long-hypothesized theory that there is a relationship between it and modern birds, including chickens and ostriches, scientists say. ... "They have a very tiny bit of data relative to the size of the collagen molecule. What's going to be really convincing is to actually see some more sequences. If [preservation of dinosaur proteins] is a ubiquitous occurrence, then that should be forthcoming," says Peggy Ostrom, biologist at Michigan State University and an expert on fossil proteins.
Pesticide linked to Oregon geese deaths
Lansing State Journal, Associated Press, Chicago Tribune
A pesticide typically applied by farmers and golf course managers to kill rodents has been linked to the recent die-off of more than 65 Canada cackling geese at a private lake in Keizer. Five of six samples taken from goose carcasses tested positive for zinc phosphide, according to results from Michigan State University's Center for Integrative Toxicology.
To bee or not to bee. Residents learn the basics of beekeeping
Lansing State Journal
Bees have made the news a lot lately because of the mysterious colony collapse disorder, an outbreak of bees "disappearing" out of the hive. Some beekeepers have lost 50 to 90 percent of their colonies because of CCD. Scientists have not yet pinpointed the cause of CCD but continue to study it. "Most scientists think it's a combination of a few factors," says Zachary Huang, biologist with the Michigan State University Department of Entomology who spoke at the beekeeping clinic.
New weapon found for ash borer arsenal
Lansing State Journal
Valuable landscape ash trees may now be protected from emerald ash borer (EAB) with a new insecticide called emamectin benzoate. Research at Michigan State University showed that the new product, which will be sold as Tree-age, was "remarkably effective" in controlling EAB, reports Deborah McCullough, MSU forest entomologist and EAB researcher.
Warming could sap Superior - Great Lakes face algae, disease
Detroit Free Press
Lower lake levels, less ice cover, more algae, more invasive species and more waterborne diseases linked to sewer overflows after severe storms. Those are among the dire forecasts about the impact of global warming on the Great Lakes from scientists who concluded two days of presentations Thursday at Michigan State University.
New treatment may save ash trees
Detroit Free Press
Michigan homeowners trying to protect their landscape ash trees from the emerald ash borer have a new treatment option this spring. An insecticide called emamectin benzoate is expected to be available starting May 14. ... While the 2007 test results are encouraging, Deborah McCullough, Michigan State University forest entomologist, says more research is needed. One question that remains to be answered is whether the pesticide, Tree-age, must be applied each year to be effective.
Biofuels research roundup
NPR Science Friday
Fermenting corn can make ethanol, and vegetable oil can become biodiesel -- but what other routes to biofuels are there? In this segment, Ira Flatow talks with several researchers looking at innovative ways to harvest energy from plant materials, including gasoline-like chemicals, ethanol, and hydrogen production. ... Speaking at the American Chemical Society meeting held this week in New Orleans, Miriam Sticklen of Michigan State University described her work on engineering corn stalks to contain an enzyme normally found in the stomach of cattle. Adding the enzyme to corn stalks, the researchers say, could allow easier conversion of the woody waste parts of the corn plant into ethanol.
Grapes of wrath?
The Day (Conn.)
Preston residents grappled with defining the town's character last week when considering whether to allow large-acre farm wineries in town. Many townspeople cried, that's not farming, that's not agriculture. ... The U.S. Census definition of "rural" speaks of numbers and population. It doesn't paint a picture. "That doesn't really help a whole lot for planning at the local level," says Dennis Probst, professor of Forestry and Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies at Michigan State University . "What helps for planning at the local level is knowing what factors need to be protected in the zoning ordinances and then having the regulations and incentives for doing that."
Biofuel farming looks to be an environmental disaster
Will switching from fossil fuels to biofuels really reduce greenhouse gases? Two big controversial studies examine carbon emissions from the ecosystems torn down to produce biofuels. ... Bruce Dale , biofuels researcher at Michigan State University, says there is a huge amount of uncertainty when basing predictions on an inherently complex economic model. Additionally, he asserts that the United States should not be responsible for anything but its own environmental profile and that to take into account world land changes is unreasonable.
Americans lag only Turkey in discrediting evolution
A leading American scientist claims that European science understanding is more evolved than the United States, where only 40 percent of Americans believe in evolution, just half the 80 percent rate of several European nations. Jon Miller, professor in political science at Michigan State University, says religion and politics play major roles in undermining the hard-earned knowledge that led to the widely accepted theory of evolution. "Fundamentalists in this country say everything you need to know is in the Bible, period. Islamists say everything you need to know is in the Koran, period," says Miller.
Despite Bay City beach muck, DEQ won't list Saginaw Bay as 'impaired'
Bay City Times
The state Department of Environmental Quality has decided not to list the Saginaw Bay as impaired for algae and nutrients that fuel its growth. But the agency is committing resources to pinpoint the causes of ongoing beach muck problems along the shoreline. ... DNA tests by Michigan State University microbiologist and international expert Joan Rose have found traces of human and cattle waste in bay muck that piles up several feet deep in some areas.
Farm goes high-tech to report on weather
A Washington Township farm is the newest host site for a growing statewide automated weather network that reports information such as temperature, wind and soil conditions to a Web site established by Michigan State University. EnviroWeather provides up-to-date weather information to help farmers watch for disease or pest outbreaks and set irrigation and planting schedules.
'Silver bullet' targets ash borers
Lansing State Journal, Associated Press, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, Traverse City Record-Eagle, WDIV-TV (Mich.), WZZM-TV (Mich.)
The emerald ash borer is about to meet its new worst enemy. On Thursday, officials from the Michigan Department of Agriculture gave special approval to the most effective pesticide yet found against the Asian beetle. In preliminary studies conducted by Michigan State University researchers last year in Genesee and Ingham counties, the pesticide killed more than 99 percent of ash borer larvae in treated trees and 100 percent of the adult beetles that nibbled on their leaves. Deborah McCullough, MSU forest entomologist who led the testing last summer, says its effects were remarkable.
Prevent malaria by netting mosquitoes
MediLexicon News (U.K.)
Michigan State University scientist Ned Walker is taking on one of the biggest killers in the world: malaria. And he believes he can help win the battle to save lives, especially the lives of children. With a recent $1.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Walker will lead a research team studying how insecticide-treated bed nets can disrupt the population dynamics of the parasite that causes the deadly disease, as well as the mosquito that transmits the parasite. Joseph Messina, MSU associate professor of geography, also is participating in the project. The scientists will focus on an area of western Kenya .
With water, state can boost economy and help the world
Detroit Free Press
The global population keeps growing, but its sources of water for drinking and sanitation do not. Thousands of people die each day from dirty water, most of them children; one in five people around the world has no access to safe water. ... Water conservation is not rocket science. Steve Safferman, bio-systems and agricultural engineer at Michigan State University, has been working on projects to show how water can be recycled on farms after the dairy barns have been washed down.
Memo to shoppers: 'Organic' does not equal 'bucolic family farm'
U.S. News and World Report
Eating organic food may conjure up the notion that one is supporting small, bucolic family farms. Organic farms may have small-business roots, but many have since been gobbled up by mega companies. Informative, dynamic graphics from a Michigan State University professor illustrate the trend.
Ethanol production may expand Gulf 'dead zone'
Increasing production of corn-based ethanol to meet alternative fuel goals will worsen the "dead zone" that plagues the Gulf of Mexico, according to a new study that adds to the growing list of concerns over the fuel. ... Bruce Dale of Michigan State University, has worked on the development of ethanol from cellulose (for example, grasses, wood chips and crop waste ) for the past 30 years says the industry is increasingly moving away from corn to cellulosic ethanol because it is more energy efficient and more environmentally-friendly, but "without corn-based ethanol, we would have had a much more difficult time in moving cellulosic ethanol forward."
No flies on this crime solver
Las Vegas Review-Journal
With a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, Dr. Neal Haskell excitedly described how he once picked maggots from the teeth of a corpse so putrid the smell nearly knocked him out. Haskell should be forgiven for taking glee in such a grisly story. Creepy crawlies and dead bodies are, after all, his job and passion. ... Richard Merritt, professor at Michigan State University's Department of Entomology, has done his share of homicide cases. But he also works with the Hershey's chocolate company identifying insects, often moths, that are found in candy bars, he says.
Rivers great and small can fight pollution, if given chance
U.S. News and World Report, Reuters ( U.K. ) , Science Daily, Science Centric, India News
Big rivers typically get the credit for being powerful and mighty, but a sweeping national study released today shows that when it comes to pollution control, even little streams can pack a punch…
Pet food scare in USA had a precursor
The outbreak of contamination in pet foods that killed hundreds and perhaps thousands of cats and dogs last year in the USA wasn't the first such incident, veterinary pathologists have determined. ... It was a comment by a Korean graduate student amid the 2007 outbreak that led Cathy Brown, a specialist in renal pathology at Georgia 's Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, to suspect this had happened before. Brown eventually tracked down tissue samples from the pets that died in 2004 at the Kyungpook National University in Korea . The sample contained the same type of insoluble crystals found in U.S. pets in the 2007 outbreak, which killed at least 347 cats and dogs, according to preliminary data gathered by Wilson Rumbeiha at Michigan State University .
Study finds drugs seeping into drinking water
National Public Radio
An Associated Press investigation has found that trace amounts of drugs are seeping into drinking water supplies. ... Joan Rose, Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research at Michigan State University, talks with guest host Rob Smith about the possible implications of drug-tainted tap water.
Bacterium gets wheels turning on ethanol fuel
A strain of bacteria accidentally found in the Chesapeake Bay more than 20 years ago -- a bug that decomposes everything from algae to newspapers to crab shells -- could help produce cheaper fuel. ... Bruce E. Dale, professor of chemical engineering at Michigan State University, says he wondered how much difference one bacterium could make. "There's never been, to my knowledge, a microorganism that, without help [from scientists] . . . can break down cell walls completely and rapidly," says Dale.
MSU Land Policy study puts value on 'green infrastructure'
Great Lakes IT Report
The Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University last week released its final report on green infrastructure in Michigan . ... "The Land Policy Institute is spearheading a body of research to inform the public and policy makers on the role of green infrastructure in the transformation toward success in the New Economy," says Soji Adelaja, LPI director and John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Policy at MSU.
Sociable, and smart
New York Times, International Herald Tribune
For the past two decades, Kay E. Holekamp, professor at Michigan State University, has been chronicling the lives of spotted hyenas on the savannas of southern Kenya. To understand the social intelligence of hyenas, Holekamp and her colleagues track the animals from birth to death.
Firm blames Rapid as green roof dries out
Grand Rapids Press
The company whose "green roof" dried up atop The Rapid bus station blames the transit system for the $220,000 mistake, saying it failed to care for it. The transit system allowed the roof's live sedum to dry because it watered with only a hose and sprinkler instead of spending a few thousand dollars on an irrigation system, a company official says. ... Michigan State University associate professor Bradley Rowe, a member of the university's green roof team, says he was unaware of any other green roof failures in Michigan and knew of only a few across the country.
Do you know your food?
The Bulletin (Pa.)
If you are what you eat, you're probably getting a little less American every day. The United States ' food supply has become increasingly foreign over the past 15 years. A wide variety of fruits and vegetables are now available year-round, long after their seasons have passed locally ? thanks to these increasing foreign imports. ... "The risks, obviously, are the possibility of picking up some exotic foodborne disease, and getting sick and, in some cases, dying," says Larry Busch, director of the Institute for Food and Agricultural Standards at Michigan State University.
MSU and News/Talk 760 WJR partner in Web resource for Great Lakes environmental issues
MSU and News/Talk 760 WJR radio have launched a Web site to provide information and insight into the organizations committed to making the Great Lakes region a leader in environmental practices…
Study shows even non-science majors benefited from science classes
To determine what level of quantitative and scientific reasoning entering students bring to MSU and what is the impact of the general education science course on improving students’ reasoning skills, Diane Ebert-May, an MSU plant biology professor, and a team of scientists and statisticians, collaborated to develop learning goals for scientific and quantitative reasoning and an instrument to assess them…
Dialing into nature
The Engineer Online
Michigan State University professor Stuart Gage is working with a team of scientists in Australia on methods to automatically measure biological diversity with sound. Gage says the work was based on acoustic monitoring technology developed at Michigan State University, and would be advanced by Queensland University of Technology research to intelligently monitor the sounds of diverse environments. "Measuring sound has the potential to revolutionize the way we monitor ecology and environmental change," says Gage. "It's like using a stethoscope to measure human health - the microphone is a stethoscope for the environment."
MSU aiding study of deadly fish disease
Lansing State Journal
Michigan State University is participating in research to tackle a deadly fish disease that is on the attack in the Great Lakes and Michigan's inland waters. ... The main goal of the research is developing new detection tools and a more in-depth understanding of viral hemorrhagic septicemia in the Great Lakes, says Mohammed Faisal, professor of aquatic animal medicine at MSU's Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.
Michigan farmland values continue to rise
Michigan Farm News
Michigan farmland values continued their steady upward march in 2007, marking the 20th year in a row that land values have increased. The annual Michigan Land Value survey conducted in the spring of 2007 by the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University collects information on the value of different types of land across Michigan. The 2007 survey reported land values, when compared with 2006, increasing around 9 percent across the state.
Caged or free? UC Davis researcher to study egg-laying chickens
Animal welfare and poultry experts -- including representatives from the University of California, Davis, and Michigan State University -- will be working together to look at the most humane and commercially viable way to raise egg-laying chickens. The research team, which recently received $400,000 from the American Egg Board to fund the initial stage of the research, is being led by animal welfare scientist Joy Mench of UC Davis and experts Janice Swanson, animal welfare researcher, and Paul Thompson, philosophy professor, from MSU.
The Cadillac News
Is Michigan poised to take advantage of "new economy" opportunities? A collaboration of colleges wants to make sure the economically struggling state is ready. Called Michigan’s Strategic Growth, it’s being spearheaded by Adesoji O. Adelaja, the John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Use Policy at Michigan State University. Locally, an MSU Extension regional land use coordinator is working on the initiative in northwest Michigan.
Sweden serves as ethanol model
Sweden has embraced ethanol unlike any other country outside Brazil, and the Nordic nation's example may help the United States in its quest to reduce its dependence on foreign oil. Michigan officials, including Gov. Jennifer Granholm, are looking to Sweden for guidance and see the push for alternative fuels there and the transformation in various industries as something that could be emulated here. ... Bruce Dale, professor of chemical engineering at Michigan State University and an expert on ethanol, says Congress was right to set tough goals and the United States can learn from Sweden.
Animal rights groups pick up momentum
The growing influence of animal rights activists increasingly is affecting daily life, touching everything from the foods Americans eat to what they study in law school, where they buy their puppies and even whether they should enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride in New York's Central Park. ... "There's been an explosion of interest" in animal welfare issues, says David Favre, Michigan State University law professor and animal law specialist. "Groups like the Humane Society of the United States and PETA have brought to our social awareness their concerns about animals and all matter of creatures."
U.S. News and World Report
Vanessa Hull, a 25-year-old Ph.D. student at Michigan State University , walks the snowy, remote mountains of western China's Sichuan Province , which is also the heart of panda country. She's hoping to capture, collar and track up to four wild, giant pandas using advanced global positioning systems. Hull and her team are helping China 's efforts to reintroduce pandas into the wild.
GM bets on $1-a-gallon ethanol maker
General Motors Corp. announced today that it's taken a stake in a biofuels research firm that aims to widely market $1-a-gallon renewable fuel as soon as 2011. GM chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, announcing the deal today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit , didn't say how large an investment that automaker has made in the Warrenville, Ill.-based start-up firm, Coskata Inc. ... Bruce Dale , professor of chemical engineering at Michigan State University and expert on ethanol, thinks Coskata's process shows promise. "Especially for wood chips, this could be a very good way to go," says Dale.
Big predators may need large size to conquer prey, but not true for bacteria
Ecologists generally observe a positive relationship between sizes of predators and their prey, mainly because predators need to be large to eat a larger prey. But does this positive relationship hold for sizes of bacteria and their food molecules? Using a mathematical model, scientists at Michigan State University predict the opposite, an inverse relationship between sizes of bacteria and their resource molecules.
Bee disorder still puzzles scientists
Traverse City Record-Eagle
There's still plenty of buzz in the agriculture industry about a mysterious malady that's killed swarms of honeybees, but researchers haven't yet pinned down a specific cause. Scores of scientists from across the country continue to search for answers to the honeybee affliction known as colony collapse disorder, or CCD, that has devastated bee colonies across the country over the past two years. Zachary Huang, entomologist from Michigan State University , spoke to local cherry and apple growers about CCD at this week's Orchard and Vineyard Show at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa and said researchers remain baffled over the cause.