MSU environmental activities and accomplishments, from sources on and off-campus. For additional information on MSU environmental work, see these sources.


Spreading the Seeds of Big Data
MSU Today

Michigan State University is spreading the seeds of big data to improve agricultural practices around the United States. Through a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, MSU will lead a team of scientists to develop big-data approaches to better manage water and fertilizers and to adapt to changes brought on by climate variability. “Our research shows the interactions between soil, crop, climate, hydrology and agricultural management, and determines their effects on crop yield and the environment,” said Bruno Basso, MSU ecosystems scientist. “This project links science with technology and big data analytics; we aim to help farmers better adapt to temperature extremes, droughts or excess water in fields so that they can make better decisions for the environment and maximize production and/or profits.” More»


MSU launches Water Science Network
MSU Today

More and more, academic institutions are being asked to form and nurture transdisciplinary teams of researchers to address society’s greatest challenges. Michigan State University after creating the Center for Water Sciences six years ago has continued it’s investment by establishing the MSU Water Science Network (WSN), a collaboration focused on the continued advancement of ground-breaking science to address the most important water problems facing our world today. More»


ESPP faculty publish new article on environmental decision-making
Environmental Sociology

Drs. Thomas Dietz, Sandra T. Marquart-Pyatt, John M. Clements and Aaron M. McCright published the article "A behavioural measure of environmental decision-making for social surveys" in the inaugural issue of Environmental Sociology. There is great benefit in using measures of environmentally significant behaviour – rather than just behavioural intentions or self-reported behaviour – if we are to advance our understanding of the individual and structural factors that influence environmental decision-making. Along these lines, to supplement the use of behavioural intention and self-reported behaviour measures in environmental decision-making research, we identify and validate a simple measure of one form of environmentally significant behaviour: financial support for environmental movement organizations. Using the values-beliefs-norms theoretical framework, we conducted an experiment to examine the performance of this measure of actual behaviour. This behavioural measure meets multiple dimensions of validity – including face, concurrent criterion-related, and construct – as a measure of environmentally significant behaviour in environmental decision-making research. As would be expected, we find that actual donations are smaller than hypothetical donations; hypothetical donations overestimate what would actually be donated by approximately 27%. Also, while environmental beliefs better predict hypothetical donation and willingness to act, key values measures (i.e. biospheric altruism and self-interest) better predict actual donation. We suggest that scholars consider using actual behavioural measures such as the one we test here in future scholarship on environmental decision-making. More»


MSU Water Science Network announces the WaterCube Program
MSU Water Science Network

The MSU WaterCube Program stimulates new multidisciplinary collaborations and novel water research ideas with minimal investment of college funds and faculty time spent on developing internal grant proposals. The program creates tokens, each worth $20,000 in research spending over two years. The Colleges of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Communication Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Natural Science and Social Science, with matching funds from the Environmental Science and Policy Program, will be issuing tokens to their water faculty. Faculty members then form teams of at least three token holders, one of whom must be new to the team, to create a WaterCube. Each WaterCube is thus provided with at least $60,000 to be made available over two years to pursue the research idea. Written proposals are not required – if three researchers agree on a water project on which each are willing to spend $20,000, then the project is a go. WaterCubes are expected to show evidence of progress through annual WaterCube meetings and produce external grant proposals and peer-reviewed publications. More»

Shannon Manning: Decoding Deadly E.coli
MSU Today

Shannon Manning is an AgBioResearch microbiologist and molecular geneticist. Her research focuses on applying molecular and evolutionary approaches to study the virulence, epidemiology and evolution of bacterial pathogens to better understand pathogenesis, emergence, and transmission in human and animal populations. More»


Politics, not severe weather, drive global warming views
MSU Today

Scientists have presented the most comprehensive evidence to date that climate extremes such as droughts and record temperatures are failing to change people’s minds about global warming. Instead, political orientation is the most influential factor in shaping perceptions about climate change, both in the short-term and long-term, said Sandra Marquart-Pyatt, a Michigan State University sociologist and lead investigator on the study. “The idea that shifting climate patterns are influencing perceptions in the United States – we didn’t find that,” said Marquart-Pyatt, associate professor of sociology. “Our results show that politics has the most important effect on perceptions of climate change.” More»

Global warming cynics unmoved by extreme weather
MSU Today

What will it take to convince skeptics of global warming that the phenomenon is real? Surely, many scientists believe, enough droughts, floods and heat waves will begin to change minds. But a new study led by a Michigan State University scholar throws cold water on that theory. Only 35 percent of U.S. citizens believe global warming was the main cause of the abnormally high temperatures during the winter of 2012, Aaron M. McCright and colleagues report in a paper published online today in the journal Nature Climate Change. “Many people already had their minds made up about global warming and this extreme weather was not going to change that,” said McCright, associate professor in MSU’s Lyman Briggs College and Department of Sociology. More»


Attitudes about knowledge and power drive Michigan's wolf debate
MSU Today

A Michigan State University study, appearing in a recent issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management, identifies the themes shaping the issue and offers some potential solutions as the debate moves forward. The research explored how different sides of the debate view power imbalances among different groups and the role that scientific knowledge plays in making decisions about hunting wolves. These two dimensions of wildlife management can result in conflict and stagnate wildlife management. The results indicate that tension between public attitudes about local knowledge, and politics and science can drive conflict among Michiganders’ stance regarding wolf hunting, said Meredith Gore, associate professor of fisheries and wildlife and co-lead author of the study. More»


Understanding of world's freshwater fish, fishing too shallow
MSU Today

In this month’s journal Global Food Security,scientists note that competition for freshwater is ratcheting up all over the world for municipal use, hydropower, industry, commercial development and irrigation. Rivers are being dammed and rerouted, lakes and wetlands are being drained, fish habitats are being altered, nutrients are being lost, and inland waters throughout the world are changing in ways, big and small, that affect fish. More»


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