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


This is a subset of the breaking news related to Animal Studies. Click here to read all the stories in Breaking News.


Following a passion, from the bright lights of the stage to the forest
MSU AgBioResearch

Emily Huff has always been driven by passion. Her love of music and a dream of Broadway stardom took her to Brandeis University to study music composition. While there, however, she struggled with the seemingly binary nature of life. More»

A Damming Trend

Hundreds of dams are being proposed for Mekong River basin in Southeast Asia. The negative social and environmental consequences affecting everything from food security to the environment ­greatly outweigh the positive changes of this grand-scale flood control, according to new research by ESPP Director Jiaguo Qi, Dr. Yadu Pohkrel, ESPP affiliated faculty, and others at Michigan State University. The results, published in the current issue of Nature Scientific Reports, are the first to tackle the potential environmental changes that the overall basin could experience from harnessing the region's hydropower. "The Mekong River is one of the few large and complex river systems that remains mostly undammed," said Pokhrel, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and the study's lead author. "However, the rapid socio-economic growth, increasing energy demands and geopolitical opportunities have led to basin-wide construction of large hydropower dams." More»

Meredith Gore: Ending Wildlife Crime

I am a conservation social scientist who has worked on studying human-environment relationships in an international context for almost 15 years. My work is participatory and focused on humans; although I do not have a geographic area in which I specialize, I have had the good fortune to collaborate with many stakeholders across Africa in particular. The problem of illegal trade in wild flora and fauna is not new. Trade in wildlife has been going on since the time of Marco Polo, and illegal trade has gone alongside the legal. What is new is the scope and scale of illegal trade in the last decade. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated illegal wildlife trade generates upwards of $23 billion for the illicit global economy on an annual basis; the illicit market continues to grow at a faster rate than the legal global economy. More»

Why covering the environment is one of the most dangerous beats in journalism
The Conversation

From the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi by Saudi agents to President Trump's clashes with the White House press corps, attacks on reporters are in the news. This problem extends far beyond the politics beat, and world leaders aren’t the only threats. At Michigan State University's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, we train students and professional journalists to report on what we view as the world's most important beat. One hard fact is that those who cover it are at heightened risk of murder, arrest, assault, threats, self-exile, lawsuits and harassment. In a recent study, I explored this problem through in-depth interviews with journalists on five continents, including impacts on their mental health and careers. I found that some of them were driven away from journalism by these experiences, while others became even more committed to their missions. More»

Hydropower, innovations and avoiding international dam shame

“This article identifies that for hydropower to continue to make a contribution to sustainable energy it needs to consider from the outset the true costs, social, environmental and cultural that may be involved, and include those in the pricing of the infrastructure, including the eventual removal of the dam, rather than pass those on to the public in 30 years," said Emilio Moran, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences. More»


Challenges of covering the environment
Great Lakes Echo

Among biggest challenges facing environmental reporters are political barriers and danger, according to a recent panel convened by MSU’s Environmental Science and Policy Program. More»

GMOs: A surrogate for the debate about agriculture?

Public concern over genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, is often associated with questions over their possible effects on human health and their environmental implications. However, perceptions of the agricultural and food industries, trends in higher education, questions around how research is funded, political leanings and socioeconomic factors can also play a part. Paul Thompson, holder of the W. K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University (MSU), conducts research on the ethical and philosophical questions associated with agriculture and food. More»

Surprising species helps Lake Michigan E. coli levels
Detroit Free Press

New research out of Michigan State University shows Lake Michigan beach closings have dropped over the past 15 years as E. coli bacteria concentrations have dropped. That time period coincides with the explosion of quagga mussels across the Great Lakes and especially in Lake Michigan. More»


Dr. Jennifer Carrera Awarded Prestigious NIEHS Grant
Department of Socilogy

Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Carrera who was recently awarded the prestigious KO1 mentoring grant from the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Dr. Carrera uses water as lens to focus on differential access to environmental resources and its impact on the well-being of individuals in marginalized communities. The grant will be used to work with residents in Flint, Michigan to develop novel, low-cost resources for environmental monitoring with the aims of enhancing self and community-efficacy towards protecting public health. The KO1 mentoring grant will provide the necessary funds to Dr. Carrera for 3 years to investigate her research objective: Engaging Community in the Development of Low Cost Technologies for Environmental Monitoring to Promote Environmental Health Literacy in a Low-Trust Setting. Known as a career transition award, the grant provides support for independent environmental health research and advanced research training while fostering additional experience in environmental health sciences. Dr. Carrera is jointly appointed in the Department of Sociology and the Environmental Science and Policy Program and she is part of the campus-wide Global Water Initiative, which is intended to deepen, enrich, and foster collaboration across MSU’s expansive water scholarship on campus. Anyone interested in learning more about the award should contact Dr. Carrera directly at More»

MSU uses $3M NASA grant to find better ways to regulate dams
MSU Today

Michigan State University researchers, including ESPP Director Dr. Jinhua Zhao, equipped with $3 million from NASA, will investigate innovative methods to improve dams so that they are less harmful to people and the environment. More»


MSU's Zipkin takes key role in large-scale seabird study
MSU Research

Flying 200 feet above the oceanic waters of the Gulf of Mexico, scientific observers peer out a small plane’s windows in search of seabirds. Sometimes they see a flock of birds, or just a few, but nevertheless, they document the species, how many, and where they saw them. Back at Michigan State University (MSU), quantitative ecologist Elise Zipkin will play a lead role in the model development of aerial seabird data for the Gulf of Mexico Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (GoMMAPPS). The study area spans the coast from the Texas-Mexico border down to the tip of Florida. MSU will receive $300,000 for its role in the multi-million dollar, four-year venture funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), part of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The project is anticipated to be on More»


NASA grants MSU $1.5 million to study how humans hurt the environment
Great Lakes Echo

What’s tall and puffy but invasive all over? Phragmites, large-stature cattail plants which are taking over Michigan wetlands. The tall reeds steal food, water and sunlight from native species. The phragmites grow in dense clusters making them hard to eradicate and manage. “It’s a matter of these species being pushed out of their native habitat and large format plants aren’t actually growing,” said Michigan State hydrogeologist Dr. David Hyndman. Wetlands provide essential services for an ecosystem, like water filtration, sheltering animals, protection from floods and more. Corrupting such an integral part of the environment can have widespread consequences. The problem is only worsening in part because of Michigan farmers with excessive fertilizer usage. Fertilizers are cheap so farmers can use lots of it to increase crop yields – but all the extra chemicals run-off and affect environments miles away. Thus, exacerbating the phragmite problem. More»


ESPP Founding Director Thomas Dietz named University Distinguished Professor
MSU Today

Thomas Dietz: Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Social Science; professor of environmental science and policy; professor of animal studies; Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability has been named University Distinguished Professor in recognition of his achievements in the classroom, laboratory and community. More»


Winning climate strategy demands details
Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability

When understanding a country’s climate – especially vast countries like the United States or China – to protect food security, biodiversity and human health, the devil is in the details. Scientists at Michigan State University show that examining the daily minutia of climate, not just temperature, but also sunshine, precipitation and soil moisture simultaneously all over a country gives a better understanding of how variable a land’s climate can be. That information is crucial when countries are setting policies aimed at growing food, protecting water supplies and the environment and stemming disease outbreaks. The findings were reported in this week’s Scientific Reports. “There is much talk about how climate is changing and what should be done about it, but in reality, it is the variabilities – those many changes above and below the norm – that can have a great impact on coupled human and natural systems,” said Jianguo “Jack” Liu, MSU’s Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability and director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability. “A holistic view of our world gives us the most useful information.” More»


Report details accomplishments of U.S. Global Change Research Program
Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability

Understanding how the Earth is changing, and how that change affects people, has advanced substantially thanks to investments by the federal government. That is the conclusion of a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report issued this week, that includes the input of a Michigan State University (MSU) scholar. Tom Dietz, MSU professor of sociology and environmental science and policy, joined other experts to review work on climate by federal agencies over the last 25 years. The review examined efforts to develop Earth-observing systems, improve Earth-system modeling capabilities, and advanceunderstanding of carbon-cycle processes. The work was done as part of the the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). “It was very useful to look across a quarter of century of research investments,” Dietz said. “We could see how the program both continued to make basic contributions, especially in building data bases that are essential to understanding our changing planet. We could also see the pipeline that led from fundamental research to providing useful information to decision makers coping with real world problems. “The program is also a nice example of how federal agencies, each with its own mandates from Congress, can also coordinate activities to better and more efficiently serve the public interest. This is a federal program that is giving taxpayers a lot of benefit for every dollar spent.” Going forward, the program should continue to build its knowledge base for informing decision makers and the public about rising global challenges, the report recommends. Created by the Global Change Research Act of 1990, the USGCRP provides coordination of global change research and activities in 13 participating agencies and departments and publishes synthesis and assessment products that present the results of the research agencies. Global change is defined as changes in the Earth's environment, for example relating to the changing climate, land productivity, ocean resources, atmospheric chemistry, and ecological systems — all of which can alter its capacity to sustain life. The Academies' report identifies important contributions and achievements of the program since its inception in 1990. One of the first priorities for the program was to address the need for a global observational system. Twenty-five years later, there is now a large and growing portfolio of global measurements from space, guided by the USGRCP’s Integrated Observations Interagency Working Group, which coordinates observation capabilities and research within member agencies. The report also notes the program’s accomplishments in making scientific knowledge more useful to decision makers. For example, the program has documented substantial increases in heavy downpours in most regions of the United States over the past 50 years, which can cause flooding that overwhelms the existing infrastructure of sewers and roads. This knowledge has led to the development of tools such as maps of risks for coastal flooding and other extreme hydrological events to inform local planning, zoning, and emergency preparedness. Dietz said that while the report doesn’t focus on Michigan, the research program has been beneficial to Michigan. MSU co-hosts with University of Michigan, The Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessment Center (GLISA), with support from Michigan AgBioResearch, MSU’s Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies and the Center for Global Change and Earth Observation. GLISA has worked with Michigan cherry growers to help them cope with the changing patterns of spring frosts; with the Michigan Department of Health to help cities plan for extreme heat events of the sort that killed over 500 people in Chicago in 1995; with marina owners who have to cope with fluctuating lake levels, with the Menomonee of northern Michigan in managing their natural resources and with many other groups around the state who are adapting to climate change and variable. In the face of increasing impacts from climate change and other global changes, the report recommends that the USGCRP build on its accomplishments by sustaining, expanding, and coordinating observations of the Earth system and maintaining a balanced program of discovery-driven and use-inspired research to support the needs of the nation at local, regional, national, and global scales. Dietz is a member of MSU’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability and the university’s Environmental Science and Policy Program. More»

Jinhua Zhao: For the common good
MSU Today

As director of the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Michigan State since 2010, I believe the secret to our success has been, simply put, flexibility and inclusivity. ESPP has stated from the beginning that its goal is to be structured as a flexible and inclusive umbrella for environmental research and graduate education, and we work very hard to stay true to that goal. Our team is proud of its efforts to increase the diversity of the student body, faculty and research areas at MSU. Since its inception in 2003, ESPP has embraced the precept that finding common ground through different perspectives is the optimal way to overcome challenges. The basis of interdisciplinary scholarship is bringing diverse experiences and viewpoints together for a greater good. In our yearly Doctoral Recruitment Fellowship awards, ESPP regularly recruits MSU students from a wide variety of nations, background, genders and experiences. One shining example is Judith Namanya, a young woman from Uganda who was inspired by the gender inequities in her home village. Judith studied the ways environmental challenges affect sexes differently. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree with Amber Pearson in the Department of Geography. ESPP has also worked to bring an array of talented educators to MSU. Our most recent hires include researchers working with indigenous rights in Mexico, accessibility of drinking water in New Zealand and sanitation struggles in Detroit. Our events have become a showcase for diversity in scholarship. This past fall, our annual Research Symposium focused on international environmental research, allowing students to share their research from every corner of the globe, from farmers in Ghana to wastewater in Singapore and clean energy in rural Central America. And the Distinguished Lecture Series, now in its fourth generation, focuses on providing our community access to the best researchers in environmental policy and science from across the globe. Past Lecturers have included Jintao Xu, a professor of natural resource economics at Peking University, who is working to tackle the challenges of climate change in China. The signature event for ESPP is the Fate of the Earth symposium. In 2015, our poster competition brought some of the brightest high school students in the region together with top global researchers, advocates, scholars and journalists. At ESPP, we are always seeking ways to increase the opportunities for the most under-represented voices to be heard. We look for unique ways to involve unique voices, and there are many opportunities within our program for individuals interested in environmental research. More»


China's environmental investments show people and nature can win

China’s massive investment to mitigate the ecosystem bust that has come in the wake of the nation’s economic boom is paying off. An international group of scientists finds both humans and nature can thrive – with careful attention. The group, including scientists who have done research at Michigan State University, report on China’s first systematic national accounting of how the nation’s food production, carbon sequestration, soil and water retention, sandstorm prevention, flood mitigation and biodiversity are doing, and what trends have emerged. The work, which spans from 2000-2010, appears in this week’s edition of Science Magazine. More»


Jessica Bell Rizzolo: Preventing Elephant Abuse
MSU Today

Elephant riding is a popular tourist attraction in India and Thailand, but it comes at a cost for the animals. Understanding and preventing the abuse elephants suffer to satisfy tourists is the goal of MSU student Jessica Bell Rizzolo. Bell Rizzolo, who is working toward her Ph.D. in sociology, specializes in animal studies, environmental science and policy, and conservation criminology. She is researching the effects and trauma elephants experience to fill the needs of tourists. “In Thailand it is very common for the baby elephants to be separated from their mothers quite young and then to go through all these other traumas, such as dominance-based training, inadequate food or water, and the prohibition of natural behaviors,” said Bell Rizzolo, who completed her Bachelor of Science in education and social policy and Master of Arts in psychology at Northwestern University, as well as training in trans-species psychology with Gay Bradshaw, the foremost expert on PTSD in elephants. More»


Giant Pandas and Humans: A Lesson in Sustainability

Jianguo "Jack" Liu, who holds the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability,has been working to better understand those relationships at Wolong since 1996. Liu, whose expertise fuses ecology and social sciences, has long viewed the reserve as an excellent laboratory because its truths have proven universal: Honor the needs of both people and nature — and acknowledge the dynamic, complex nature of that relationship — and sustainability is possible. Liu, along with other scholars in the field of sustainability from MSU and around the world, are applying the lessons they learned in Wolong to global challenges rooted in land use, trade, habitat conservation and resource and ecosystem service management. The researchers are bringing to bear the viewpoints of many disciplines — from ecology, plant and wildlife sciences to social, economic and behavioral sciences. The researchers, who are an international group of students, former students and collaborators, share Liu's holistic view of a world in which the fate of humans and nature are firmly entwined. They have published "Pandas and People: Coupling Human and Natural Systems for Sustainability" (Oxford University Press, 2016). The research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA. - See more at: More»


ESPP student Betsy Riley accepted to a leadership program

PhD students Andrew Carlson, Betsy Riley and So-Jung Youn have been accepted to the Great Lakes Leadership Academy’s Emerging Leader Program, designed for potential and current leaders seeking continuing professional development, focused on developing individual and organizational leadership skills, and applying those skills in a collaborative fashion to the common issues of diverse communities. Carlson and Riley have been awarded the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation and Environmental Leadership Fellowship, which both will use to help fund participation on the Great Lakes Leadership program. The award is to provide an opportunity for graduate or professional students to achieve a level of professional and personal growth that will prepare them for leadership roles in natural resource and conservation based organizations and agencies. Thomas Connor has won a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship for students enrolled in a program that combines the study of a modern foreign language with advanced training in international development studies or in the international development aspects of professional or other fields of study. Connor will be studying Mandarin in this summer in China in addition to working on his panda studies there. These come on the heels of honors for graduate students Molly Good, Janet Hsiao and Joe Nohner. More»


Antibiotic Resistance Shows Up in Animals, Manure
National Geographic

In one study, published in April in the journal mBio, Timothy Johnson and James Tiedje of Michigan State University, along with collaborators at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, analyzed soil from very large modern hog farms in three regions of China. They found identical clusters of genes that confer resistance, and mobile genetic elements—short strings of genetic material containing multiple genes—even in widely spread out farm properties. More»


ESPP affiliated faculty Dr. Jay Zarnetske honored with outstanding faculty award
Department of Geological Sciences

Assistant Professor Jay Zarnetske was recognized for excellence by the Associated Students of MSU (ASMSU). The Outstanding Faculty/Staff Awards are presented to faculty or staff members who have exemplified achievement both personally and professionally through determination, enthusiasm and love for Michigan State University. Nominations come from graduating seniors. Congratulations, Dr. JZ! More»


ESPP Announces New Summer Research Fellowship for Students Studying Climate, Food, Water and Energy

ESPP announces the Climate, Food, Energy, and Water (C-FEW) Research Fellowship for the Summer of 2016 for Ph.D. students currently enrolled at MSU. The goal of the program is to provide funding to Ph.D. students to support the next generation of scientists and to advance work in climate, food, energy, and water at Michigan State University. The C-FEW Summer Fellowship provides funds to be used to enhance the educational and research experience of graduate students at MSU whose research focuses on the nexus of climate, food, energy and water. Recipients of the Fellowship will be expected to actively engage in C-FEW research during the summer of 2016, organize an ESPP colloquium during Fall 2016, and write a short paper about their work for ESPPulse, a semiannual series published by ESPP. More»


Douglas Buhler recommended for CANR interim dean
MSU Today

Douglas Buhler, senior associate dean for research in MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will be recommended to the MSU Board of Trustees as interim dean designate of CANR from Dec. 10-31, and then interim dean, effective Jan. 1, 2016. Buhler also serves as assistant vice president for Research and Graduate Studies and director of MSU AgBioResearch, positions he will retain during his service as interim dean. Buhler will succeed Fred Poston, who also has served as MSU’s vice president for finance and operations and special adviser to the president, who is retiring on Dec. 31. “The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is making steady progress in its search for its next dean, with candidates expected on campus within the next few weeks,” said MSU Provost June Pierce Youatt. “I would like to thank Dr. Buhler for graciously agreeing to serve until the next dean is hired and to thank Dean Poston for his many years of dedicated service to CANR and the university.” Buhler came to MSU in 2000 and spent five years as professor and chairperson of the crop and soil sciences department, now called plant, soil and microbial sciences. He has served as CANR associate dean for research, as well as associate director of MSU AgBioResearch. Buhler served as CANR interim dean from 2011 to 2013. More»


four MSU scientists named AAAS Fellows
MSU Today

Phil Robertson, director of MSU’s Kellogg Biological Station Long-term Ecological Research Program. For distinguished contributions in ecosystem science and production agriculture with emphasis on nitrogen cycling, greenhouse gas production and environmental assessment of biofuel cropping systems. AAAS named 347 new fellows and will honor them More»


ESPP affiliated faculty on cyanobacteria in The Washington Post
The Washington Post

Dr. Elena Litchman, professor of aquatic ecology at MSU and an ESPP affiliated facultymember, discusses the behavior of cyanobacteria with The Washington Post. More»


Researchers quantify nature's role in human well being
MSU Today

A team of researchers from Michigan State University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences are advancing new modeling technology to quantify human dependence on nature, human well-being and relationships between the two. The latest step is published in this week’s Ecosystem Health and Sustainability journal. The paper notes that people who depended on multiple types of ecosystem services – such as agricultural products, non-timber forest products, ecotourism – fared better than those who had all their earning eggs in one natural resource basket. “Quantifying the complex human-nature relationships will open the doors to respond to environmental changes and guide policies that support both people and the environment across human and natural systems,” said Jianguo “Jack” Liu, Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability and director of the MSU Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability. More»


New MSU Center tackles antibiotic resistance
MSU Today

The Center for Disease Control estimates that each year in the U.S. alone, 23,000 people die from resistant infections. Researchers at the Michigan State University Center for the Health Impacts of Agriculture are on a mission to find strategies to deal with the impending global threat of antibiotic resistance. “We are pleased to announce the first research project to be funded by the Center for the Health Impacts of Agriculture,” said Felicia Wu, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor and CHIA Co-director. “The study will target antibiotics used in animal agriculture to find out how they find their way into the environment and what the ultimate impact on humans, if any, might be.” Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria are able to acquire and develop resistance to the antibiotics that are used to fight them. The largest volume of antibiotic use today is in animal agriculture, and researchers plan to analyze soil and water samples from the environment to see if this use of antibiotics is having an effect. More»


Polar bears aren't only victims of climate change
MSU Today

From heat waves to damaged crops to asthma in children, climate change is a major public health concern, argues a Michigan State University researcher in a new study. Climate change is about more than melting ice caps and images of the Earth on fire, said Sean Valles, assistant professor in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Philosophy, who believes bioethicists could help reframe current climate change discourse. 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»


Kaminski named interim director for MSU's Center for Research on Ingredient Safety
MSU Today

Norbert Kaminski, director of Michigan State University’s Center for Integrative Toxicology, was recently named interim director for the university’s new Center for Research on Ingredient Safety. Kaminski, who is also professor of pharmacology and toxicology and a faculty member in MSU’s Cell and Molecular Biology Program, will continue as director of the Center for Integrated Toxicology until a permanent director is appointed for the ingredient safety center. More»


Addressing the effect of agriculture on global health
MSU Today

Michigan State University has launched the first-of-its-kind center to research and address the growing global effects of agriculture on human and animal health. The Center for Health Impacts of Agriculture links MSU’s renowned agriculture and food security research with its three colleges of medicine – the College of Human Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine and College of Veterinary Medicine – to address growing global health concerns with agriculture, including: Antimicrobial resistance in humans, animals and plants, and the implications on human health Agricultural development and economic effects related to increased cases of malaria in Malawi, Africa Health risk assessment and nutrient regulation policies, including assessment of carcinogen levels in current health policy Felicia Wu, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor leads the new center. Wu’s research, at the crossroads of human health and agricultural practices and policies, inspired her to develop the interdisciplinary research center. More»


CANR announces two new chairs in Entomology and Fisheries and Wildlife

F. William Ravlin and Scott Winterstein have been named chairpersons of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) departments of Entomology and Fisheries and Wildlife, respectively, by Dean Fred Poston. Ravlin’s appointment was effective Aug. 1; Winterstein started July 1. More»


Empowering the next generation of fisheries professionals
MSU Today

Michigan State University’s Bill Taylor has received numerous awards and honors befitting an internationally recognized expert in Great Lakes fisheries ecology with a 35-plus-year career full of researcher discoveries and professional service. - See more at: More»


Of Fish, Monsoons and the Future
The New York Times

“The central message of Chans is that humans and nature are coupled, just like husband and wife,” says Dr. Liu, director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability at Michigan State University. “They interact, work together, and the impacts are not just one way. There are feedbacks.” More»


New Technology Turns Manure into Clean Water

Imagine something that can turn cow manure into clean water, extract nutrients from that water to serve as fertilizer and help solve the ever-present agricultural problem of manure management. Technology that has its roots firmly planted at Michigan State University is under development and near commercialization that can do all of that. And then some. Known as the McLanahan Nutrient Separation System, it takes an anaerobic digester – a contraption that takes waste, such as manure, and produces energy as a byproduct – and couples it with an ultrafiltration, air stripping and a reverse osmosis system. More»


MSU researchers: Ash borer may have arrived in North America in 1990s
The Detroit News

It took several years before the ash borer population grew large enough to kill trees, so the researchers concluded in the study, released Tuesday, the beetle was in the area at least since 1992 or 1993. The insect native to Asia was detected in southeastern Michigan in 2002. “There were probably only a few live beetles that arrived, but ash trees are common in urban landscapes as well as in forests,” Deb McCullough, a professor of forest entomology, said in a statement. “When they emerged, there were likely ash trees nearby, providing food for the beetles and their offspring. More»


New scientific field looks at the big picture
MSU Today

Big data is changing the field of ecology. The shift is dramatic enough to warrant the creation of an entirely new field: macrosystems ecology. “Ecologists can no longer sample and study just one or even a handful of ecosystems,” said Patricia Soranno, Michigan State University professor of fisheries and wildlife and macrosystems ecology pioneer. “We also need to study lots of ecosystems and use lots of data to tackle many environmental problems such as climate change, land-use change and invasive species, because such problems exist at a larger scale than many problems from the past.” To define the new field and provide strategies for ecologists to do this type of research, Soranno and Dave Schimel from the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Lab co-edited a special issue of the Ecological Society of America’s journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. More»


Single gene separates queen from workers

A team of scientists from Michigan State University and Wayne State University unraveled the gene’s inner workings and published the results in the current issue of Biology Letters. The gene, which is responsible for leg and wing development, plays a crucial role in the evolution of bees’ ability to carry pollen. “This gene is critical in making the hind legs of workers distinct so they have the physical features necessary to carry pollen,” said Zachary Huang , MSU entomologist. “Other studies have shed some light on this gene’s role in this realm, but our team examined in great detail how the modifications take place.” More»


Cities weigh options, costs of fighting ash borer

"There's no reason for a landscape tree to die now if someone is willing to put some money into it," said Deb McCullough, a Michigan State University forest entomology professor who helped test the pesticide before it went on the market. "(But) some cities have a tough time allocating money from a municipal budget to protect trees when they're trying to keep firemen and policemen on the job." More»


Study identifies obstacles to aquaculture expansion
Great Lakes Echo

Better rules for sustainable fish farms could provide the state with a $1 billion a year industry, according to the Michigan Sea Grant, a coastal conservation research group. More»


No peak in sight for evolving bacteria
MSU Today

There’s no peak in sight ­– fitness peak, that is – for the bacteria in Richard Lenski’s Michigan State University lab. Lenski, MSU Hannah Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, has been running his evolutionary bacteria experiment for 25 years, generating more than 58,000 generations. In a paper published in the current issue of Science, Michael Wiser, lead author and MSU zoology graduate student in Lenski’s lab, compares it to hiking. “When hiking, it’s easy to start climbing toward what seems to be a peak, only to discover that the real peak is far off in the distance,” Wiser said. “Now imagine you’ve been climbing for 25 years, and you’re still nowhere near the peak.” Only the peaks aren’t mountains. They are what biologists call fitness peaks – when a population finds just the right set of mutations, so it can’t get any better. Any new mutation that comes along will send things downhill. More»


Bacteria Power Social Lives of Hyenas
National Georgraphic

Bacteria residing in the scent glands of spotted and striped hyenas appear to play a crucial role in producing the smelly chemicals the animals use to communicate, according to a new study. “Most mammals have scent glands somewhere on their bodies—it can be on their head, shoulder, feet, flanks, or back,” said study co-author Kevin Theis, a postdoctoral student at Michigan State University in East Lansing. More»


Habitat research methods give a new peek at tiger life with conservation
MSU Today

Twelve years ago, a team led by Jianguo “Jack” Liu at Michigan State University showed that China needed to revisit how it was protecting its pandas. Now research on tiger habitat in Nepal, published in Ecosphere journal of the Ecological Society of America, again shows that conservation demands not only good policy, but also monitoring even years down the road. More»


MSU and Monsanto extend corn rootworm program by three years and $3 million
MSU Today

Michigan State University and the Monsanto Co. are collaborating to support research on corn rootworm, one of the most damaging agricultural pests in the United States. More»


Creating cleaner dirt
MSU Today

MSU students and faculty are cleaning up farming with the dirtiest of creatures. The group is involved in a program called RISE, The Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment. It is researching and implementing vermicomposting in a greenhouse by Bailey Hall. Vermicomposting is the process of using worms to turn food waste into nutrient-rich organic fertilizer. More»


Scientists put attitudes toward tigers on the map
MSU Today

Researchers at Michigan State University study what influences people’s attitudes toward tigers that share their neighborhood in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park, home to around 125 tigers. The novel approach to putting people’s attitudes on a map is featured in the current issue of the journal AMBIO. More»


Masters of Fate: ESPP receives new endowment from Sawyer Koch family
University Development

Donald (Don) F. Koch, MSU Professor Emeritus of philosophy, and Barbara J. Sawyer-Koch (’90, M.P.A., Social Science), have established several significant current and planned gift endowment funds, the major gift being titled Fate of the Earth. With their Fate of the Earth Endowment, the Koch’s hope to encourage today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders to understand the critical need for societal changes and take the necessary steps to prevent further destruction of the Earth’s fragile environment. More»


MSU to study dioxin's impact on human health

Michigan State University is starting a new project to learn more about how certain environmental contaminants affect the human body. MSU will use a $14-million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to study dioxins, which form a large class of chemical compounds. Dioxins do occur in nature, but most are industrial byproducts. The herbicide Agent Orange, widely used to defoliate trees and fields during the Vietnam War, is one example. More»


Second door discovered in war against mosquito-borne diseases
e! Science News

In the global war against disease-carrying mosquitoes, scientists have long believed that a single molecular door was the key target for insecticide. This door, however, is closing, giving mosquitoes the upper hand. In this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers led by Michigan State University has discovered a second gateway that could turn the tide against the mosquitoes' growing advantage. More»


Telecoupling pulls pieces of sustainability puzzle together
MSU Today

Scientists led by Jianguo “Jack” Liu, Michigan State University’s Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability, have built an integrated way to study a world that has become more connected – with faster and more socioeconomic and environmental interactions over distances. They say “telecoupling” describes how distance is shrinking and connections are strengthening between nature and humans. - See more at: More»


Sea lampreys turning up the heat
MSU Today

Male sea lampreys may not be the best-looking creatures swimming in our lakes and streams, but they apparently have something going for them that the ladies may find irresistible. Research by a team of Michigan State University scientists found that the males have a secondary sex characteristic that creates heat when they get near a female lamprey, something the females find hard to say no to. The work of the team focused on a small bump located near the male’s anterior dorsal fin. Close examination of this bump determined that it was full of fat cells, cells that are similar to ones found in mammals, animals that need to maintain their own body temperature. More»


Study finds 'sweet spot' that makes or breaks environmental actions
MSU Today

Scientists at Michigan State University have found that there is a sweet spot – a group size at which the action is most effective. More importantly, the work revealed how behaviors of group members can pull bad policy up or drag good policy down. The work is published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. More»


Research shows planting cover crops protects Michigan's environment

On this week’s Ag Report on Greening of the Great Lakes, Kurt Thelen, professor at Michigan State University in the Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences Department and project leader at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, discusses research on the environmental benefits of planting cover crops. According to Thelen, research shows that planting cover crops provides substantial environmental benefits. The cover crops absorb residual nitrogen after the harvest, protecting groundwater. Cover crops also reduce the risk of erosion and runoff by absorbing the impact of raindrops in the off season. More»


Lake Sturgeon keep spawning options open
MSU Today

A lake sturgeon can live to be 150 years old. And that’s a good thing, because when it comes to making baby sturgeon, well, they aren’t very successful. However, a team of Michigan State University researchers has noticed something about the prehistoric-looking fish that may be giving them an advantage. By inserting a passive inducible transponder, or PIT, tag into more than 1,100 sturgeon, the team was able to track the fishes’ every move, including when and where individuals spawned and under what conditions they were successful. Or not. More»


Going wild could improve winged workforce
MSU Today

Every spring in the United States, bees pollinate crops valued at about $14 billion. A Michigan State University professor and a team of scientists are using a five-year, $8.6 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to keep this winged workforce operating efficiently. Almonds, strawberries, apples, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, watermelon, cucumbers and more depend on bees to help maximize yields. But with wild honey bee populations decimated by varroa mites and other threats, farmers are dependent on beekeepers to deliver managed colonies of honey bees during peak pollination to ensure their flowers are pollinated. More»


Using Science to Address Farm Pollution
MSU Today

Half of the nitrogen-based fertilizer used on U.S. crops seeps into the environment, prompting an interdisciplinary team of Michigan State University scientists to investigate ways to curb pollution. Armed with a $1.46 million, four-year grant from the National Science Foundation, the team will analyze soil, crop and climate conditions at 75 Midwestern corn farms and conduct surveys and interviews with farmers. More»


Honeybees, other bees put to the test pollinating Michigan blueberries

A recent study by Michigan State University scientists showed that blueberry growers who plant wildflowers near their fields see an increase in their yields. Why? Because the wildflowers supply shelter and food to support bees and other insects that pitch in on the task of pollinating blueberries, a necessary step for berries to form. More»


Gude part of NSF "Tree of Life" Design Team
MSU College of Communication Art & Sciences

This week, MSU faculty member Karl Gude is in Arlington, Virg., to present the first phase of his National Science Foundation grant. As it is a larger grant, valued at $6 million, there are 10 universities, including Michigan State, working on it. Together, they are building the evolutionary tree of life to display on an interactive website. Once created, this project will be the first-ever online, comprehensive tree of all species, accessible to both the public and scientific communities. According to the grant team’s project summary, the tree of life will link all biodiversity through a shared evolutionary history. More»


Unraveling the Napo's mystery
MSU Today

In the United States, rivers and their floodplains are well-documented and monitored. Ecuador’s largest river, however, remains largely mysterious. Research led by Michigan State University is helping the South American country unravel the Napo River’s mystique to better balance its economic and environmental treasures. The Napo River is about 670 miles long. It winds through the western Amazon basin in Ecuador and Peru, one of the most remote and biodiverse regions in the world, and provides access to valuable oil reserves. More»


Stink bug threatens Michigan crops
Detroit Free Press

Michigan State University entomology professor Matthew Grieshop said the stink bug’s spread into more of the state’s 83 counties is inevitable. “We are in the early invasion stage,” he said. Grieshop said 2010 crop damage by the brown marmorated stink bug in the nation’s mid-Atlantic region was horrific. “There were hundreds of growers who had double-dig More»


Seabird bones reveal changes in open-ocean food chain
MSU Today

A research team, led by Michigan State University and Smithsonian Institution scientists, analyzed the bones of Hawaiian petrels – birds that spend the majority of their lives foraging the open waters of the Pacific. They found that the substantial change in petrels’ eating habits, eating prey that are lower rather than higher in the food chain, coincides with the growth of industrialized fishing. The birds’ dramatic shift in diet, shown in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, leaves scientists pondering the fate of petrels as well as wondering how many other species face similar challenges. “Our bone record is alarming because it suggests that open-ocean food webs are changing on a large scale due to human influence,” said Peggy Ostrom, co-author and MSU zoologist. “Our study is among the first to address one of the great mysteries of biological oceanography – whether fishing has gone beyond an influence on targeted species to affect nontarget species and potentially, entire food webs in the open ocean.” More»


Stink bug invasion set to strike Michigan
The Huffington Post

Spring is finally here! That’s the good news. Now here’s the bad: Michigan is starting to see the beginning of a stink bug infestation, according to Michigan State University entomologist Matt Grieshop. Grieshop says the “Brown Marmolated” — or Asian stink bug is showing up all over the state. The bug is Asian in origin and was first reported in the United States when it was discovered in Pennsylvania in 1996. More»


Modified mosquitoes may halt spread of malaria: study

Mosquitoes infected with a type of bacteria may be used to stop the spread of malaria as they show signs of resistance to the parasite that causes the disease, according to a new study published online in the U.S. journal Science. The mosquitoes infected with the bacterium called Wolbachia, which is naturally found in up to 70 percent of insects, also have the ability to pass the bacterium to their offsprings, researchers from U.S. Michigan State University (MSU) and China's Sun Yat-Sen University reported Thursday. "In a sense, Wolbachia acts as a vaccine of sorts for mosquitoes that could protect them from malaria parasites," said Zhiyong Xi, MSU assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics who leads the study. "Our study shows that in the future it's possible the entire mosquito population will lose the ability to transmit malaria to humans." In their study, the researchers focused on Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes, the primary malaria carrier in the Middle East and South Asia, and found the key to the malaria research was identifying the correct species of Wolbachia -- wAlbB -- and then injecting it into mosquito embryos. More»


Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center names new center coordinator
MSU Today

Ashley McFarland has been named center coordinator for the MSU Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in Chatham. It is a new position created as the research and Extension facility begins to take shape under a newly implemented long-term plan. The UPREC, previously the Upper Peninsula Research Center, was renamed in January to acknowledge the significant contributions made by MSU Extension to facility operations. In line with the name change, the center will focus on collaboration and integration across three programmatic systems: livestock, plants and local food systems. McFarland hails from Iowa and has earned degrees from Central College in Pella and Iowa State University. She has spent the last five years with the University of Idaho Extension as a county Extension education and area natural resource educator. As the new center coordinator at Chatham, McFarland will provide an important link between campus-based faculty coordinators and the implementation of programs and oversight of operations at the center and throughout the U.P. She also will work to increase visibility of the center and build relationships with stakeholders. McFarland will start the position May 20. More»


Using bacteria to stop malaria
MSU Today

Mosquitoes are deadly efficient disease transmitters. Research conducted at Michigan State University, however, demonstrates that they also can be equally adept in curing diseases such as malaria. A study in the current issue of Science shows that the transmission of malaria via mosquitoes to humans can be interrupted by using a strain of the bacteria Wolbachia in the insects. In a sense, Wolbachia would act as a vaccine of sorts for mosquitoes that would protect them from malaria parasites. Treating mosquitoes would prevent them from transmitting malaria to humans, a disease that in 2010 affected 219 million people and caused an estimated 660,000 deaths. More»


ESPP Student Bonnie McGill wins a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
Kellogg Biological Station Long Term Ecological Research

The earth and our society face such “gi-normous” problems like climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss, food security—what can a little person like me do about it? More»


AgBioResearch, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources announce leadership changes
MSU Today

Former Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources interim dean Doug Buhler has been named director of MSU AgBioResearch and CANR senior associate dean for research. The new appointment was effective May 1. Steve Pueppke, MSU AgBioResearch director for the past seven years, has been named director of CANR Global and Strategic Initiatives, a new position within the college. He will also continue in his role as MSU associate vice president for research and graduate studies. The changes were announced April 30 by CANR Dean Fred Poston, who succeeded Buhler from the college leadership post in January. Buhler had served as interim CANR dean since January 2011. Prior to that, he served as CANR associate dean for research, director of Project GREEEN (Generating Research and Extension to Meet Economic and Environmental Needs) and MSU AgBioResearch associate director. More»


MSU Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies to become Department of Community Sustainability
MSU Today

As of July 1, the Michigan State University Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies will become the Department of Community Sustainability. “The change will better capture the essence of the department’s goals and create a framework for its teaching, research and outreach programs for now and the future,” said Fred Poston, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The multidisciplinary department is revising its undergraduate majors to feature three majors focusing on environmental studies and sustainability; sustainable parks, recreation and tourism; and agriculture, food and natural resource education. “As part of its evolution and increased More»


Red Cedar River at MSU to be stocked with steelhead to enhance fishing on campus
Royal Oak Daily Tribune

The Department of Natural Resources announced Monday that approximately 3,000 steelhead were stocked this morning in the Red Cedar River at Michigan State University. More»


Science festival takes over campus
The State News

Campus was swarming with children last weekend as they learned about science, from water bugs swimming in small tanks to germinating seeds they could bring home to plant. After months of planning, the MSU Science Festival came together this weekend and will continue this week. The first MSU Science Festival began last Friday and goes through next Sunday and includes more than 150 science-related activities, lectures and tours that are free and open to the public. More»


MSU's new $2.4M fund will develop high-value products from bio-based feedstocks
MSU Today

Thanks to a $1.09 million grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund, plus matching funds from Michigan State University, several bio-based MSU research projects will be fast-tracked for commercial development over the next three years. MSU recently received the funding from the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program as part of a state-wide initiative to invest in research areas that have shown promise in the laboratory, but need further development in order to become successful in a competitive market. More»


Great Lakes wetlands may mitigate climate change
Great Lakes Echo

Long valued for biological diversity and flood control, Great Lakes coastal wetlands are now seen as a tool to suck up and store excess carbon dioxide. It’s an important function as researchers seek to blunt climate change caused by that greenhouse gas. More»


$2.4M fund to develop products from bio-based feedstocks
MSU Research

Thanks to a $1.09 million grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund, plus matching funds from Michigan State University (MSU), several bio-based MSU research projects will be fast-tracked for commercial development over the next three years. MSU recently received the funding from the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (“M-TRAC”) program as part of a state-wide initiative to invest in research areas that have shown promise in the laboratory, but need further development in order to become successful in a competitive market. With MSU’s matching funds, a total of $2.44 million will be focused on MSU biotechnology and bioprocessing innovations that have the potential to create superior value-added products and materials from agricultural-based feedstocks, such as: More»


Are there health impacts from living near animal feeding operations?
MSU Extension

Animal agriculture has become concentrated in many parts of the country with multiple operations in an area; each feeding large numbers of livestock. With this consolidation has come concern over human health impacts of exposures to odors and gases associated with livestock production, including manure storage and land application of manure to croplands. A number of studies have considered the impact on human health of living near animal feeding operations. In the 1990s, Susan Schiffman, then a professor at Duke University, conducted studies that showed people who lived near large swine farms in North Carolina self-reported increased incidence of headaches, depression, nausea and vomiting as a result of exposure to odors from swine operations. More recently, a study was conducted by Stacy Sneeringer at Wellesley College that showed that infant mortality increased in communities as livestock inventories increased, based on data available from public health sources and agricultural statistics. More»


Faculty evolve into authors for Darwin book
MSU Today

Three Michigan State University faculty members have contributed to one of the largest, most comprehensive books focusing on the life, labors and influence of evolutionist Charles Darwin. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Darwin and Evolutionary Thought covers Darwin’s background, his groundbreaking theory of evolution and evaluates his influence on science since the publication of his seminal work, On the Origin of Species. More»


Great Lakes salmon are the focus of new video series
MSU Extension

April is an exciting time of year for salmon and trout anglers. Big lake trolling and pier fishing starts off in the southern end of Lake Michigan and the steelhead run is in in full swing in west Michigan streams. Another story unfolds in shoreline eddies, where young wild-spawned Chinook salmon feed on stream insects and put on weight for their journey to Lake Michigan. The modern Great Lakes salmon fishery began with stocking programs in the late 1960s. At that time, salmon were unable to spawn successfully due to poor water quality, degraded stream habitats, and dams that blocked fish passage or altered river flow. Although salmon are not native to the upper Great Lakes, the Chinook salmon, in particular, has been able to adapt and is now spawning in streams where conditions have improved. More»


Agriculture HR resources now available on new MSU FIRM Team website
MSU Extension

As part of a concerted effort to provide Michigan farmers with tools, educational information, and announcements of upcoming events related to farm business management, the Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Farm Information Resource Management (FIRM) team has recently unveiled a new website. One of the many resources on the new website is a page dedicated to labor and human resource management. The website was also highlighted at the recent 2013 Annual West Michigan Ag Labor meeting in Allendale, Mich. on March 6, 2013. More»


Thumbs on the scale
Lansing City Pulse

Michigan’s large-scale factory farms belly up to the federal Farm Bill for tens of millions of dollars in environmental funds better spent on sustainable farming, according to a report issued Wednesday by the advocacy group Less = More. At Michigan State University’s Wells Hall last week, a panel of experts, activists and farmers from the group called for public pressure to make Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, pay their own cleanup costs. More»


CSI: Invasives
Great Lakes Echo

Great Lakes researchers are using new DNA techniques to track down and control the spread of invasive species. The techniques are sort of like what you see on all those CSI television dramas where scientists analyze DNA left at the crime scene and use it to prosecute the culprits. Well, not quite. Fiction is faster, the scientists say. More»


Scientists confirm first two-headed bull shark
MSU Today

Scientists have confirmed the discovery of the first-ever, two-headed bull shark. The study, led by Michigan State University and appearing in the Journal of Fish Biology, confirmed the specimen, found in the Gulf of Mexico April 7, 2011, was a single shark with two heads, rather than conjoined twins. There have been other species of sharks, such as blue sharks and tope sharks, born with two heads. This is the first record of dicephalia in a bull shark, said Michael Wagner, MSU assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife, who confirmed the discovery with colleagues at the Florida Keys Community College. More»


A changing climate's impact on water and water resources
MSU Extension

Climate change information from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agree that increased levels of greenhouse gases will impact our environment in many ways. One area of concern is the influence a changing climate will have on precipitation events. For the U.S., climate change models predict northern areas will become wetter while the western and southwest regions of the U.S. will become drier. Models also predict an increase in the frequency of extreme precipitation events, more rain over shorter periods of time. Michigan is within the region of the U.S. where increased precipitation is predicted during the winter and spring seasons but summers are expected to be drier. These anticipated changes in weather patterns have the potential to have a profound impact on agriculture production and soil and water conservation practices. More»


Carnivores, livestock, people share same space in relative peace
MSU Today

In the southern Rift Valley of Kenya, the Maasai people, their livestock and a range of carnivores – from hyenas to lions and bat-eared foxes – are coexisting fairly happily, according to a visiting scholar at Michigan State University. “I wouldn’t call the results surprising,” said Meredith Evans Wagner, a visiting scholar from the University of Florida in MSU’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability and part of the research team. “Other research has shown that people and carnivores can coexist, but there is a large body of thought that believes carnivores need their own protected space to survive.” More»


Michigan State veterinarian awarded USDA grant to study mastitis
Dairyherd Network

Improving mastitis control, reducing antibiotic use, increasing the economic viability of dairy farms—these are the goals of a research team led by Ronald Erskine, professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Science. The researchers, from Michigan State University, University of Pennsylvania, Mississippi State University, and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, have been awarded a grant by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture for a project that aims to reduce antibiotic use among dairy cows by half and instances of mastitis in dairy cows by a third within five years. Mastitis is the most devastating disease affecting adult dairy cattle in the United States and is the single biggest cause of antimicrobial use in the dairy industry. Mastitis-causing pathogens can be spread from cow to cow during milking, and poor sanitary and health conditions can make transmission easier. That, says Erskine, brings a whole set of costs to producers. More»


Udderly Helpful Grant Goes to MSU's Vet School
CBS Detroit

Michigan State University’s school of veterinary medicine has received a $3 million federal grant to continue research on ways to reduce udder infections in dairy cattle. The five-year grant comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with the hope of developing an intervention process for dairy operators to prevent the costly infections from occurring. More»


MSU vet receives $3 million for dairy cow disease research
Detroit Free Press

A Michigan State University veterinarian has received a $3 million federal grant to continue his research on ways to reduce udder infections in dairy cattle. The university says the five-year grant will let Ron Erskine continue his work on mastitis. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's NationalInstitute of Food is providing the funds. More»


New grant will fund additional work to reduce mastitis in dairy cows
MSU Today

Michigan State University AgBioResearch veterinarian Ron Erskine has received a nearly $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture to reduce mastitis and antimicrobial use in dairy cattle. Mastitis, an infection of a cow’s udder, is the most common infectious disease in dairy cattle in North America. It typically costs between $300 and $600 per infection and adversely affects milk production and animal health. More»


Carnivores, livestock and people manage to share same space, study finds
Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability

In the southern Rift Valley of Kenya, the Maasai people, their livestock and a range of carnivores, including striped hyenas, spotted hyenas, lions and bat-eared foxes, are coexisting fairly happily according to a team of coupled human and natural systems researchers. “I wouldn’t call the results surprising,” said Meredith Evans Wagner, a visiting scholar from the University of Florida in the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (CSIS) at Michigan State University and part of the research team. “Other research has shown that people and carnivores can coexist, but there is a large body of thought that believes carnivores need their own protected space to survive.” The paper “Occupancy patterns and niche partitioning within a diverse carnivore community exposed to anthropogenic pressures” was recently published in Biological Conservation. Other authors are Paul Schuette and Scott Creel, of Montana State University, and Aaron Wagner, postdoctoral researcher in the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action at Michigan State. More»


Lessons from China's environmental front
Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability

China’s investment of money and decades to stem the tide of environmental destruction and protect its natural resources has done more than save flora and fauna – it has also provided a roadmap for itself and the rest of the world. Jianguo “Jack” Liu and colleagues at Michigan State University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences take a sweeping look at three enormous programs China has adopted to save natural resources. Their analysis and perspectives are presented in an article in the second edition of “Encyclopedia of Biodiversity,” which was recently released by Elsevier. The Nature Reserve System – which now is comprised of 2,588 reserves that cover 15 percent of China’s territory -- protects valuable plants, animals and ecosystems, including the endangered giant panda. The Grain to Green Program is an effort to persuade farmers to return cropland to forest and grassland through financial incentives. The National Forest Conservation Program seeks to conserve natural forests by banning logging and creating new forests. More»


MSU, PHYCO2 collaborate on algae demonstration project
Algae Industry Magazine

Santa Maria, CA-based PHYCO2, an emerging algae growth and carbon dioxide sequestration company, and Michigan State University (MSU), have announced a partnership designed to generate sustainable, clean energy sources through a new method to produce algae. The partnership will demonstrate the patent-pending PHYCO2-developed technology to sequester CO2, reclaim water and continuously grow multiple types of algae at an accelerated rate without sunlight. The goal of the demonstration project is to meet the growing demand for algae for biofuels, pharmaceuticals, foods and other purposes. More»


Home Toxic Home
MSU Today

Most organisms would die in the volcanic sulfur pools of Yellowstone and Mount Etna. Robust simple algae call it home, and their secrets to survival could advance human medicine and bioremediation. Mike Garavito, Michigan State University professor of biochemistry and molecular biology was part of a research team that revealed how primitive red algae use horizontal gene transfer, in essence stealing useful genes from other organisms to evolve and thrive in harsh environments. More»


MSU, PHYCO2 collaborate on algae growth demonstration project
MSU Today

Michigan State University and PHYCO2, an emerging algae growth and carbon dioxide sequestration company, have announced a partnership designed to generate sustainable, clean-energy sources through a new method to produce algae. The technology will be tested at MSU’s Simon Power Plant, in coordination with researchers Wei Liao and Susie Liu, faculty members in MSU’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. More»


Michigan State University to celebrate the great outdoors

Michigan State University is set to host the 98th annual Agriculture and Natural Resources Week. This year's edition is to get under way on Saturday and run through March 9. ANR Week is held on the school's East Lansing campus. It features meetings, workshops and conferences on the topics of agriculture, horticulture and natural resources. More»


Michigan's endangered species fight for their lives
Lansing State Journal

Ever heard of the wavy-rayed lampmussel? The silver shiner? How about the Dickcissel? You may not have heard of them, but if you see one, it’s a big deal. They’re among dozens of endangered and threatened species in Michigan. It has been just over a year since the state’s most notable endangered animal — the Great Lakes gray wolf — was removed from protected status. The wolf’s recovery has been hailed as one of the biggest conservation success stories since the endangered species list was created in the 1960s. But there are still plenty of species nearing extinction in Michigan. Here are some prominent ones. More»


'Fat Worms' inch scientists toward better biofuel production
MSU Today

Fat worms confirm that researchers from Michigan State University have successfully engineered a plant with oily leaves -- a feat that could enhance biofuel production as well as lead to improved animal feeds. The results, published in the current issue of The Plant Cell, the journal of the American Society of Plant Biologists, show that researchers could use an algae gene involved in oil production to engineer a plant that stores lipids or vegetable oil in its leaves – an uncommon occurrence for most plants. Traditional biofuel research has focused on improving the oil content of seeds. One reason for this focus is because oil production in seeds occurs naturally. Little research, however, has been done to examine the oil production of leaves and stems, as plants don't typically store lipids in these tissues. Christoph Benning, MSU professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, led a collaborative effort with colleagues from the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. The team's efforts resulted in a significant early step toward producing better plants for biofuels. More»


Ancient lamprey DNA decoded
MSU Today

When it comes to evolution, humans can learn a thing or two from primeval sea lampreys. In the current issue of Nature Genetics, a team of scientists has presented an assembly of the sea lamprey genome – the first time the entire sequence has been decoded. The data is compelling as the sea lamprey is one of the few ancient, jawless species that has survived through the modern era. More»


Antibiotic use in animals affect global human health
MSU Research

The increasing production and use of antibiotics, about half of which are used in animal production, is mirrored by the growing number of antibiotic resistance genes, or ARGs, effectively reducing antibiotics’ ability to fend off diseases - in animals and humans. More»


Book shows evolution that joins human and environmental sciences
MSU Today

Emilio Moran, who most recently was featured for his rainforest conservation work in Campinas, Brazil on MSU’s SPARTANS WILL. 360 site, is co-editor of a new book “Human-Environmental Interactions.” Moran, Visiting Hannah Professor in the Department of Geography at MSU, makes the case that people – their motivations and indeed, how they feel – are indispensable data when it comes to saving the planet and addressing environmental problems. More»


Unique hen research facility lays one of a kind opportunity
The State News

For animal science junior Justin Warchuck, nothing is wrong with being a little chicken, or egg-headed for that matter. With the December addition of the nations only Laying Hen Poultry Research facility, Warchuck has a unique chance to study the science behind the widely consumed egg. “Most people eat omelets for breakfast,” Warchuck said. “Whether you’re eating McDonald’s or buying eggs from the supermarket, More»


New Grant Aims to Help Control Deadly Dairy Cattle Disease
MSU Today

A Michigan State AgBioResearch animal scientist is among a group of researchers who have received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study the genetic basis of resistance or susceptibility to Johne’s disease throughout the next five years. Paul Coussens, a professor in the MSU departments of Animal Science and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and director of the MSU Molecular Pathogenesis Laboratory is working on the project with C. Titus Brown, an assistant professor in the MSU departments of Computer Science and Engineering, and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and Brian W. Kirkpatrick, an animal sciences professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. More»


MSU colleague finishes deceased friend's book, and state takes notice
Detroit Free Press

Longtime Michigan State University Museum curator J. Alan Holman died in 2006 before putting the finishing touches on his new book, "The Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan." It was a labor of love for his colleague and friend, Jim Harding, to help complete some details so the book could be published. "He wanted it to be special," Harding said. And it is -- or at least a panel of readers from across the state thinks so. "The Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan," which includes 54 creatures, landed on the 2013 list of Michigan Notable Books -- 20 titles that include photography, poetry, memoirs, novels and reference works such as Holman's. More»


The Cutting Edge: Campus churns out unique, compelling research, touching lives across the world
The State News

At MSU, the overflow of research almost is seductive. The university attracts expert researchers from across the world, prides itself on having many unearthed scientific discoveries and budgeted more than $500 million for research in the 2011-12 academic year. More»


Face time: Xiaobo Tan, Robotic Fish Developer
The State News

Xiaobo Tan, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, created a robotic fish, or robofish, named Grace that can glide long distances and collect data for research. More»


Unique creature focus of MSU professor's research
The State News

It’s common for many to think of MSU and jump to cows, horses, pigs -— any type of animal research — as an area of the university’s expertise. But, some might be surprised to hear MSU’s knowledge expands far beyond the barn fence and into the African Savannah. And we aren’t talking elephants or cheetahs, something standard: We are talking hyenas. Hyenas, the Lion King-associated laughing creature, are world-recognized zoology professor Kay Holekamp’s area of expertise. More»


Captive hyenas outfox wild relatives
MSU Today

When it comes to solving puzzles, animals in captivity are, well, different animals than their wild brethren. Testing animals’ ability to solve new problems has been historically conducted on animals in captivity. Only recently has a shift been made to run these tests on animals in their natural habitat. In a study appearing in Animal Behaviour, however, researchers at Michigan State University found vast differences in the problem solving skills between captive and wild spotted hyenas. Applying lessons learned from captive animals is potentially problematic because they may not accurately portray how wild animals respond to novel challenges, said Sarah Benson-Amram, former MSU zoology graduate student and the study’s lead author. More»


MSU lifts fishing ban for portion of Red Cedar
Lansing State Journal

Coho and Chinook salmon run up the Red Cedar River in the fall, steelhead in the spring. The portion of the river that meanders through Michigan State University’s campus supports healthy numbers of largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegills and sunfish and walleye. More»


Faculty conversations: Kay Holekamp
MSU Today

Kay Holekamp, a world-renowned expert on hyenas, recently was named a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science – an honor she said she always hoped to achieve. “It’s a recognition by my fellow scientists that the work I do is interesting and represents a substantial contribution to understanding nature,” said Holekamp, University Distinguished Professor of zoology. Holekamp received the honor for her contributions to animal behavior, particularly for her work with hyenas. More»


Laying hen facility opens new doors for research achievements at MSU
College of Agriculture & Natural Resources

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at Michigan State University (MSU) recently opened its new Laying Hen Poultry Research facility. The facility – the only one of its kind in the country – features more than 17,500 square feet of space and houses nearly 7,000 birds. “This is a very exciting day for our students, faculty and staff,” said Janice Swanson, chair of the university’s Department of Animal Science, on the facility’s opening. “Since our founding, we’ve been leading the way in research that changes people’s lives. This facility demonstrates our commitment to research that continues to change lives, not only in Michigan but around the world.” More»


Could the Farm Bill Devastate America's Birds?
New York Times

Mark Rey, executive in residence at MSU's Department of Fisheries and Wildlife publishes an opinion piece in the New York Times that questions the impact on the latest federal farm bill on migratory birds. More»


Leader in global fisheries sustainability to visit MSU
University Relations

Ian Cowx, an internationally renowned champion of conserving global freshwater fish communities and fisheries, will deliver the 2012 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 12 in the Red Cedar Room of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. As a fisheries ecologist, Cowx is known for his blend of research and teaching and for being a dynamic advocate for the scientific understanding and management of the world's freshwater fisheries. A professor of applied fisheries science and director of Hull International Fisheries Institute at the University of Hull in the United Kingdom, Cowx has trained more than 30 Ph.D. and 300 master's students from more than 80 countries. His current research focuses on fish capture techniques, stock assessment for management purposes, rehabilitation of inland fisheries and aquatic resource management planning. More»


Clean and green MSU officials, students partnering to drive campus sustainability effort
The State News

From a new Be Spartan Green Fund that provides grants for student sustainability projects to MSU’s Energy Transition Plan, it seems Spartans are working hard to become even greener. More»


Hearty organisms discovered in bitter-cold Antarctic brine
University Relations

Where there’s water there’s life – even in brine beneath 60 feet of Antarctic ice, in permanent darkness and subzero temperatures. While Lake Vida, located in the northernmost of the McMurdo Dry Valleys of East Antarctica, will never be a vacation destination, it is home to some newly discovered hearty microbes. In the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Nathaniel Ostrom, Michigan State University zoologist, has co-authored “Microbial Life at -13ºC in the Brine of an Ice-Sealed Antarctic Lake." Ostrom was part of a team that discovered an ancient thriving colony, which is estimated to have been isolated for more than 2,800 years. They live in a brine of more than 20 percent salinity that has high concentrations of ammonia, nitrogen, sulfur and supersaturated nitrous oxide ­– the highest ever measured in a natural aquatic environment. More»


EPA grant to lamprey testing
Traverse City Record-Eagle

A $392,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant will pay for testing sea lamprey repellent on three to-be-named spawning streams in the state. The project is expected to be completed within the 10 years the EPA requires. Sea lamprey are attracted to the smell of their young and repulsed by the stench of their dead, said Michael Wagner, lead researcher on the project and an assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife at Michigan State University. More»


Experiments That Keep Going and Going and Going
KUHF-FM 88.7 (Houston, TX)

Richard Lenski began his evolution experiment in 1988 with a simple question: Does evolution always lead to the same end point? If he started with 12 identical flasks, full of identical bacteria, would they all change over time in the same way? Or would random mutations send each bottle's population spinning off in a different direction? More»


MSU experts study mystery of ornamental animals
Lansing State Journal

Evolutionary biologists long have puzzled over the hows and whys of cartoonishly large animal ornaments: the tail of the peacock, the tumescent pincer claws of some crab species, supersized spreads of antlers. “Looking these big extravagant traits, whether it’s a peacock tail or the horns of these beetles, most people go, ‘This is the most bizarre looking thing I’ve ever seen, how can it possibly function and do what it’s doing?’ ” said Ian Dworkin, an MSU zoology professor. More»


Dr. Zachary Blount, Michigan State University - Evolving Bacteria
WAMC, Northeast Public Radio

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Zachary Blount of Michigan State University explains how scientists have observed bacteria evolve new capabilities over thousands of generations. More»


Face Time: Dr. Gerald Urquhart
The State News

Dr. Gerald Urquhart, assistant professor in the Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, will head into the rainforests of Nicaragua for one purpose: to help save an endangered species known as Baird’s tapir, which are related to elephants. They have been eating farmers’ crops and have been largely hunted by farmers. More»


Deer bait market has advantages for Michigan farmers, MSU Extension reports
Kalamazoo Gazette

Top-grade apples, corn, sugar beets or carrots are sold for human consumption. The same products, dinged and damaged, can also be packaged to attract deer. The controversy over deer baiting -- the practice of intentionally attracting deer, to observe them or to shoot them -- continues to rage across the the Midwest. But regardless of one's take on baiting, the foods used as bait are agricultural products, and the baiting market offers advantages for some Michigan producers. According to a report published by Michigan State University Extension's James DeDecker, "the deer bait market provides an outlet for this lower quality produce. In the 1990s, prior to restriction of deer baiting in Michigan, the farm gate value of cull carrots for bait was estimated to total $2.2 million statewide." More»


Collaring endangered Baird's tapirs to help them survive
University Relations

A team of Michigan State University researchers will soon be heading into the rainforests of Nicaragua to help an endangered species known as a Baird’s tapir co-exist with local farmers whose crops are being threatened by the animals. The animals were thought to be extinct in that part of the world until just two years ago when the MSU team discovered them still living there through the use of “camera trapping” – the setting up of still and video cameras in order to “capture” the animal. Now a battle is under way between the Baird’s tapir, one of four species of the elephant look-alike animals, and local farmers who say they are eating their crops. The MSU team, led by Lyman Briggs College assistant professor Gerald Urquhart, will attempt to capture a number of the animals and place a GPS collar on them to monitor their movements. More»


U-M, MSU Award Grants for Great Lakes Climate Change Research
ENews Park Forest

University of Michigan scientists and their colleagues at Michigan State University have awarded six grants to organizations across the region for projects that will help decision-makers adapt to climate change and variability in the Great Lakes basin. The grants were awarded by the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center, a federally funded collaboration between U-M and MSU. GLISA researchers study issues related to climate change and variability in the Great Lakes basin and how the region can respond to climate-related risks, such as potential damages from changes in long-term temperature and precipitation patterns. More»


Climate Change Threatens Pandas' Bamboo Food, Study Suggests
Huffington Post

Though they are one of the most beloved animal species on Earth, pandas aren't safe from the devastating effects of climate change. According to a new study, projected temperature increases in China over the next century will likely seriously hinder bamboo, almost the sole source of food for endangered pandas. Only if bamboo can move to new habitats at higher elevations will pandas stand a chance, the researchers said. However, if conservation programs wait too long, human inhabitants and activities could claim all of the new habitats capable of supporting bamboo in a warming world. "It is tough, but I think there's still hope, if we take action now," said research team member Jianguo Liu, a sustainability scientist at Michigan State University. "If we wait, then we could be too late." More»


MSU professors provide 'equitarian' care to remove villages
University Relations

A trio of Michigan State University professors traveled to Mexico last month to provide veterinary care to working equids – horses, mules, donkeys and burros – and educate the people who depend on the animals for their livelihood. Susan Ewart and Hal Schott of the MSU Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and Camie Heleski of the Department of Animal Science were part of the third Equitarian Workshop, organized by the American Association of Equine Practitioners. The term equitarian combines “equine” and “humanitarian.” More»


Sharks: bad creatures or bad image?
University Relations

Historically, the media have been particularly harsh to sharks, and it’s affecting their survival. The results of a Michigan State University study, appearing in the current issue of the journal Conservation Biology, reviewed worldwide media coverage of sharks – and the majority isn’t good. Australian and U.S. news articles were more likely to focus on negative reports featuring sharks and shark attacks rather than conservation efforts. Allowing such articles to dominate the overall news coverage diverts attention from key issues, such as shark populations are declining worldwide and many species are facing extinction, said Meredith Gore, MSU assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife and the School of Criminal Justice. More»


WVU joins search for organic response to stinkbugs
West Virginia State Journal

In addition to WVU and Rutgers, the University of Kentucky, Michigan State University, the University of Maryland, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, Virginia Tech, the University of Tennessee, North Carolina State University, Ohio State University and the Rodale Institute are participating in the research and extension project. More»


Irrigate Update Focuses on Michigan Water Rules
The Farmer's Exchange

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) are working together to educate producers about three issues important to Michigan's agriculturally oriented large capacity water users. Large capacity water users are defined as agricultural producers with the capacity to pump 70 gallons per minute of water from one or more wells or surface water pumps on the same or adjacent properties. In an upcoming educational meeting Steve Miller from MSU Bio-Systems Engineering Department will present a review and update of Michigan's water use policy. More»


Let cattle eat cornstalks, save hay for horses, experts advise as winter hay shortage looms
Kalamazoo Gazette

Cows, with their multiple stomachs, can digest all manner of plant material. Horses need hay, high quality hay. As a drought-caused hay shortages looms this winter, here's an interesting strategy to stretching the short supply. Let cattle eat cornstalks, freeing up extra hay for sale to horse owners, suggest Michigan State University scientists. It may seem like a dirty trick to pull on the cows, but it makes sense, the MSU Extension educators explain in a recent news release. A farmer with more cattle than feed to care for them can butcher the animals, to sell the meat or to feed his own family. A horse owner, in this country at least, doesn't have that option. “A creative idea is to ask the local beef farmer to come to the rescue” of horses, said Jerry Lindquist, MSU Extension grazing and crop management educator. “We have an abundant supply of cornstalks in the state that the gestating beef cow will readily consume and do well on for the first two trimesters of her pregnancy, as long as one-third of the ration is still hay. More»


DFW names new director for Region 3
The (Tacoma) News Tribune

Mike Livingston has been named director of the southcentral region for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Livingston has a master’s degree in wildlife science from New Mexico State University, a bachelor’s in fisheries and wildlife science from Michigan State University, and a bachelor’s in conservation science from Northern Michigan University. More»


Small organisms could dramatically impact world’s climate
University Relations

Warmer oceans in the future could significantly alter populations of phytoplankton, tiny organisms that could have a major impact on climate change. In the current issue of Science Express, Michigan State University researchers show that by the end of the 21st century, warmer oceans will cause populations of these marine microorganisms to thrive near the poles and may shrink in equatorial waters. Since phytoplankton play a key role in the food chain and the world’s cycles of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and other elements, a drastic drop could have measurable consequences. “In the tropical oceans, we are predicting a 40 percent drop in potential diversity,” said Mridul Thomas, MSU graduate student and one of the co-authors. “If the oceans continue to warm as predicted, there will be a sharp decline in the diversity of phytoplankton in tropical waters and a poleward shift in species’ thermal niches, if they don’t adapt to climate change.” More»


Researchers get help playing "whack-a-mole" with sea lampry
Great Lakes Echo

If your local river starts to smell like dead sea lamprey, you may be in luck. That smell could be the solution to a long-standing invasive species problem. The EPA recently awarded Michigan State University more than $392,000 to test sea lamprey repellant. Sea lamprey are attracted to the smell of their young and repulsed by the stench of their dead. Those are keys to controlling this troublesome invasive species, said Michael Wagner, the lead researcher on the project. More»


U.S. Sen. Carl Levin visits MSU researchers involved with Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
College of Engineering

During a visit to campus today, U.S. Senator Carl Levin met with key Michigan State University researchers who are working on several Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants supporting the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). At MSU's Engineering Research Complex, Sen. Levin observed the low-cost, smart-phone-based devices developed by Syed Hashsham, professor of civil and environmental engineering. These DNA biochips support point-of-care genetic analysis systems for water, food, agriculture, and human health. Hashsham leads the team that will create an analysis tool to monitor the lakes for invasive species such as hydrilla, golden mussel, northern snakehead, killer shrimp, and Ponto-Caspian water fleas. More»


Poston recommended as dean of MSU's CANR
University Relations

Fred Poston, Michigan State University’s vice president for finance and operations, will be recommended to serve as dean of the university’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and special adviser to the president. More»


Ash trees continue to hurt from beetle
Traverse City Record-Eagle

The threat from a metallic green beetle continues to spread throughout ash trees in the Great Lakes region. Many ash already are dropping leaves or changing color earlier this year than usual — both mechanisms that trees use to cope with drought, said , a forest entomologist at Michigan State University. More»


MSU to lead $1.6 million grant on crop pollination
Pork Network

USDA has awarded Michigan State University $1.6 million to lead a national crop pollination research and Extension project. The five-year program will focus on improving pollination and attracting bees to specialty farms and crops. It is part of the USDA’s $101 million initiative to support the nation’s specialty crop producers. More»


MSU receives research grants for lakes
The State News

As part of the EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, MSU received about $1 million in grants to conduct research to prevent invasive species from infiltrating the Great Lakes Basin, according to a university press release. Last week, MSU received one of more than 20 grants given to research the subject. Civil and environmental engineering professor is leading a team using a $600,000 grant to create a handheld genetic analysis device used to locate violating species, including killer shrimp and northern snakehead. An additional grant for more than $390,000 will be used to research methods to block sea lamprey from evading rivers by using chemical dams, which only are visible to lampreys, as a repellent. More»


MSU, Monsanto working to fight corn rootworm
Detroit Free Press

Michigan State University said it is working with Monsanto to find ways to fight corn rootworm, one of U.S. agriculture's most damaging pests. The university said Monsanto is pledging up to $3 million to support research on rootworm. MSU said the Corn Rootworm Knowledge Research Program will give awards of up to $250,000 per year for up to three years for research on "corn rootworm biology, genomics and management issues." More»


MSU hopes to create a buzz from federal grant
NBC News

Michigan State University researchers say they hope to generate some buzz with a $1.6 million federal grant. The East Lansing school announced Wednesday that the U.S. Agriculture Department grant will focus on supporting specialty crop yields and profit by supporting wild and managed bees. A team will lead a national crop pollination research and extension project. More»


MSU earns EPA grants to fight high-risk invasive species
University Relations

Michigan State University has received nearly $1 million in grants from the Environmental Protection Agency, funds that will be used to keep invasive species from entering the Great Lakes basin. One grant, totaling about $600,000 will be used to develop a hand-held, genetic analysis tool to monitor the lakes for invasive species. Syed Hashsham, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, leads the team that will create an analysis tool to monitor the lakes for invasive species such as hydrilla, golden mussel, northern snakehead, killer shrimp, and Ponto-Caspian water fleas. More»


MSU to lead $1.6 million grant on national crop pollination
University Relations

The United States Department of Agriculture has awarded Michigan State University $1.6 million to lead a national crop pollination research and extension project. The five-year project will focus on supporting specialty crop yields and profit by supporting wild and managed bees. It is part of the USDA’s $101 million initiative to support the nation’s specialty crop producers. More»


Exploring MSU's "Echoes of Silent Spring" walking trail
University Relations

As part of Michigan State University Museum's "Echoes of Silent Spring" exhibit, a first-of-its-kind walking trail has been set up around campus to highlight areas that relate to the book, "Silent Spring," by Rachel Carson. More»


Deer disease spreads into Gratiot, Mecosta counties
The Morning Sun

Figures released this week by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health show evidence that the epizootic hemorrhagic disease has been confirmed in 24 of Michigan’s 83 counties. More»


Evolution: Scientists Grow 56,000 Generations in Lab to Watch
ABC World News

ABC World News talks with Zachary Blount, postdoctoral researcher of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University, about his study on the evolution of E.coli. More»


MSU, Monsanto back research to fight corn rootworm

Michigan State says the Corn Rootworm Knowledge Research Program will give awards of up to $250,000 per year for up to three years for research on "corn rootworm biology, genomics and management issues." More»


State: DNR announces EHD now found in 24 counties
The News-Herald

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health announced that epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) has been confirmed in 24 Michigan counties. More»


E.coli's evolutionary process documented
MSU Research

A team of researchers at Michigan State University has documented the step-by-step process in which organisms evolve new functions. The results, published in the current issue of Nature, are revealed through an in-depth, genomics-based analysis that decodes how E. coli bacteria figured out how to supplement a traditional diet of glucose with an extra course of citrate. More»


Museum in motion: New Walking Trail Extends 'Silent Spring' Exhibit Outdoors
MSU Museum

In celebration of the 50 year anniversary of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring," the MSU Museum has created a campus walking trail highlighting notable spots around MSU that were chronicled in the Silent Spring story and, some believe, even provided inspiration for the book's title. More»


Tigers take the night shift to coexist with people
University Relations

Tigers aren’t known for being accommodating, but a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that the carnivores in Nepal are taking the night shift to better coexist with humans. More»


Increasing predator-friendly land can help farmers reduce costs
University Relations

Predator.Having natural habitat in farming areas that supports ladybugs could help increase their abundance in crops where they control pests and help farmers reduce their costs, a new MSU study says. However, natural habitats also provide vital food and shelter resources and may be more important for pest control, said Megan Woltz (Entomology), co-author of the study that appears in the current issue of Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. More»

Promiscuous queen bees maintain genetic diversity
University Relations

Michigan State University has proposed building an urban agriculture research center in Detroit that could grow into a $100 million project covering 100 acres. Photo: Jonathan Oosting, MLive.comBy mating with nearly 100 males, queen bees on isolated islands avoid inbreeding and keep colonies healthy. The results, published in the current issue of PLoS ONE, focused on giant honey bee colonies on Hainan Island, off the coast of China. Since these bees have long been separated from their continental cousins, it was thought that the island bees would be prime candidates for inbreeding as well as having very different genes, said Zachary Huang (Entomology). More»

Angler turns love of fishing into profession, tackling research on walleye, Asian carp

When Brian Roth (Fisheries and Wildlife) was a young boy, he would walk to Lake Washington – on the eastern side of Seattle – to fish nearly every day, and now he has managed to transform his favorite childhood pastime into his livelihood. Roth teaches courses on the study of fish (ichthyology) and limnological and fisheries techniques, and conducts research on associated topics. Roth is part of a team examining ways to minimize the number of Asian carp – an invasive species that typically grow to 50 pounds – on the Illinois River and decrease the potential of it moving into the Great Lakes. Conversely, Roth is looking at ways to maximize the population of walleye – a noninvasive species – in a series of lakes and streams connected to Burt, Mullett, Crooked and Pickerel lakes, near Cheboygan.


Warm March weather could bring early insects, fly anglers
Great Lakes Echo

Caddisfly larva. Photo: Merritt (Entomology) predicts that there will be an early emergence of both mayflies and caddisflies. "The life cycle is based on heat over time," Merritt said. "Once they gather enough heat units in their bodies, they'll move on to the next stage. If it's warm they'll emerge."


Bugs already out in mid-Michigan

"We've had these very, very high temperatures which have ended insects' hibernation a lot earlier," Ned Walker (Entomology) said.


Here come the mosquitos

Carlos Garcia (Entomology) said mosquitoes often hide in wooded areas during the winter and they typically don't reappear until May or June. "Their biology starts moving faster, their metabolism is accelerating faster," says Garcia.


Most Michigan residents value wolves

Gray wolf.  Photo by USFWSMSU did a study to help the state Department of Natural Resources with wolf policy decisions. Meredith Gore (Fisheries and Wildlife) conducted the study.


Special report: Rise of the gray wolf
Lansing State Journal

"The wolf is symbolic," said Michelle Lute (Fisheries and Wildlife). "It forces us to ask, 'What does it really mean to be a Michigander?'"


Most Michiganders like having wolves in their home state
University Relations

The overwhelming majority of Michigan residents place value on having wolves in their home state while a small minority would buy a license to hunt them, according to a MSU study. However, it is important to seriously consider the responses of Upper Peninsula residents, some of whom have to live with wolves in their backyards and farms, according to Meredith Gore (Fisheries and Wildlife). "Although UP residents placed the lowest value on wolves, still 61 percent said they value them," she said. "However, they also showed the greatest interest in purchasing a hunting license. In fact, 55 percent of those surveyed said they would."


Water Flow Models to Help the Environment and the Jordan River Watershed
College of Natural Science

For alumnus Anthony Kendall (Environmental Geosciences), what started out as a career leaning toward physics and mechanical engineering has evolved into several years of environmental research spanning everything from water resources in the High Plains to Brook trout in Northern Michigan's Jordan River. MSU's Hydrogeology Lab recently completed a 5-year study of Northern Michigan's Jordan River Watershed to determine why the river was choked with sand and how this was affecting the Brook trout and other species. Kendall presented their findings in November during a public presentation to the Friends of the Jordan River Watershed.


Going hog wild: Weaning antibiotic-resistant bugs out of pork
Huffington Post

"We find antibiotic resistance genes quite prevalent in all pigs, irrespective of antibiotic feeding. We think this may be partially due to the fact that at least in pig growing regions, the background flora that they pick up is already enriched with antibiotic resistance genes," said James Tiedje (Microbiology and Molecular Genetics). More»

Living with Michigan's wolves
Michigan Radio

Gray wolf.  Courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service."Generally, we found out that people enjoy knowing there are wolves in Michigan. This varies from place to place. We also found out that in general, the people of Michigan really support wildlife biology and wildlife science as an important way to make decisions about wolves," said Michael Nelson (Fisheries and Wildlife, Lyman Briggs). More»

Leader of animal advocacy group to speak in Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo Gazette

The leader of the Humane Society of the United States will be in Kalamazoo this week to sign copies of his book — perhaps with a following of fans and foes alike….Janice Swanson (Animal Science) agreed that the conflict between animal agriculture and the Humane Society of the United States is that, "as you ramp up regulation, that usually means that it's an unfunded mandate, and it costs" farmers money to change. More»

Animal studies cross campus to lecture hall
New York Times

A program at MSU allows doctoral and master's students in different fields to concentrate their work in animal studies. More»

Book on human-animal relationship published

Cover of Making Animal Meaning. Photo courtesy of MSU.Making Animal Meaning, a collection of ten original essays, was edited by Georgina Montgomery (Lyman Briggs, History) and Linda Kalof (Sociology), and has just been published with Michigan State University Press. The authors write: "Making Animal Meaning explores how humans construct, configure, and constantly negotiate the meaning of other animals in the social world. Our attempts to make meaning of animals” to describe their behaviors, depict their unique physical attributes, elucidate their similarities and differences from us, and chronicle our treasured alliances with them ”continue [from prehistory] to the present day."


Prowling pandas become policy advisers

Prowling pandas become policy advisers.  Image credit: RedOrbit.Vanessa Hull (Fisheries and Wildlife) is using the movement of collared pandas to understand the effectiveness of zoning in the Wolong Nature Reserve in southwestern China. More»

Advisory panel calls for end to most experiments on chimpanzees
Baltimore Sun

Medical experiments on chimpanzees are largely unnecessary and should be rare, concluded a report released Thursday from special panel of the Institute of Medicine. The practical result among NIH-funded medical research will be a winding down of chimp experiments, said David Favre (College of Law). More»

Crow rediscovered in Indonesia

A crow known to science only by two specimens described in 1900 and long thought extinct has reappeared on a remote, mountainous Indonesian island. Rediscovery of the Banggai crow was confirmed by a zoologist at MSU. More»

Striking a balance between anglers and sustainability of bass populations

Mary Tate Bremigan (Fisheries and Wildlife) has been working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Division to take a closer look at one of the state’s most popular fisheries — bass – to help the DNR strike a balance between meeting angler desires and expectations and assuring the sustainability of the fish populations. The relationship is part of a larger effort by the DNR to work with MSU fisheries and wildlife researchers on managing the state’s streams, inland lakes and ponds. More»

States crack down on pet abuse to protect women

In the past few years, state representatives have been debating bills that would include pets in domestic violence protective orders. David Favre (College of Law) said the majority of these bills eventually pass because “everybody can agree with the principle.” "Who's going to stand up and say, 'No, the husband should be able to abuse the pet'?" he said. More»

Partnership for Ecosystem Research and Management (PERM) key to understanding Michigan's wildlife resources

A unique partnership between MSU and state agencies separates the science from the science fiction on how to better manage our four-footed friends. Shawn Riley (Fisheries and Wildlife) conducts research for PERM on human-wildlife interactions, how people interpret those interactions, and how they value wildlife. More»

Researchers examine federal delisting of wolves issue
University Relations

wolf, image courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsA team of researchers from MSU, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan Technological University is looking into the potential removal of wolves from federal protection under the Endangered Species Act and what that removal means for Michigan’s residents – both people and wolves. MSU researchers involved are Fisheries and Wildlife graduate student Michelle Lute and faculty Meredith Gore and Michael Nelson. More»

Animal portraits provide new context for human connection

New forms of environmental communication are needed, photographer Joe Zammit-Lucia told an MSU audience during his lecture on Tuesday, April 5...When his photographs were exhibited recently in Paris, Zammit-Lucia worked with MSU Animal Studies researchers Linda Kalof (Sociology) and Ph.D. student Jennifer Kelly (Sociology and ESPP) to examine how this photographic format affected viewers. More»

Finding the answers to tough animal welfare questions

Janice Siegford (Animal Science) is leading a project that uses wireless sensors to remotely monitor the health and well-being of egg-laying chickens in non-cage housing systems. The studies are centered on how chickens use space and resources such as nesting boxes and perches when their movement is not restricted by cages.  “If we’re pushing to change housing systems for hens to enriched cages or open aviaries for reasons of animal welfare but we can’t monitor birds at the individual level,” she explained, “we’re making decisions before we know how the individual birds are affected.” More»

Pasturing pigs: MSU organic farm benefits swine, students, researchers
Lansing State Journal

pigsEleven pigs have recently become residents of MSU’s Student Organic Farm. The Duroc-Yorkshire crossbreeds were born in the confinement of the university's Swine Teaching and Research Center. They'll spend the next few months in the open air as part of a multifaceted practical experiment in how swine can be integrated into small farming operations. ... "For us, it's really exciting for us to have a protein here that students can fold in," said Laurie Thorp (Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment), part of the steering team for the organic farm. More»

Animal Agriculture Initiative awards research dollars for 2010-11
Michigan Agriculture Experiment Station

Six MSU animal agriculture research and extension projects will share $350,000 in funding awarded by the Animal Agriculture Initiative (AAI) Coalition for 2010-11. ESPP affiliate Wendy Powers (Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Animal Science) received funding for a project on “Educating the General Public on Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture.” More»

McDonald's board opposes cage-free eggs for U.S.
New York Times

... Last year McDonald’s joined the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply, which is organizing a commercial-scale study led by Michigan State University and the University of California, Davis, to examine different housing options for egg-laying hens. ... More»

With honey bee populations falling, agriculture industry should take note
Argus Press

honey beeMichigan's fruit and vegetable industry produces more than $2 billion a year, according to Zachary Huang (Entomology). And nearly 50 percent of that number is due to honey bee pollination — meaning honey bees are worth almost $1 billion per year in Michigan. ... More»

When two hyenas get the giggles
Science News, Daily Californian

... "Their vocalizations have received surprisingly little attention to date in the literature," says another hyena researcher, Kay Holekamp (Zoology), yet their vocal repertoire is very complex, she says... More»

Notes from Kenya: MSU hyena research
MSU Hyena Blog

HyenaStudents in Kay Holekamp's lab blog about their experiences in Kenya, research on spotted hyenas and adventures in the field. More»

Organic chickens: Free to roam
Great Lakes Echo

Free range chickensThis video features footage from MSU’s Student Organic Farm, an interview with ESPP affiliate Laurie Thorp (Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment) and commentary from Braveheart, a rooster who is "living the dream." More»

MSU studies use of wireless sensors to monitor chicken well-being
University Relations

Chicken monitoringA team of MSU researchers will explore the use of new wireless technology to determine its effectiveness in monitoring the welfare of egg-laying chickens.

Using a grant of $375,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the researchers will test wearable sensors that will monitor how hens use space and resources in non-cage environments. More»

In pictures: Family matters to hyenas
BBC America

HyenaFamily is no laughing matter for spotted hyenas, say scientists. Researchers from Michigan State University have found hyenas will step in to support their relatives during fights. More»

Creature consciousness
Chronicle of Higher Education (paid subscription)

Spurred on by a shift in consciousness that has been going on for several decades, beginning with the environmental and social-justice movements of the 1960s and 70s, scholars are finding new ways to tackle "the question of the animal" -- or, more accurately, the flock of questions that circle around the term "animal." ... Michigan State University is edging closer. It has had an animal-studies graduate specialization for about a year now. Linda Kalof, professor of sociology, founded and directs the program. "We are the first doctoral specialization in animal studies anywhere in the world," she says. More»

Faculty propose reconciliation of hunting with animal welfare ethics
University Relations

Can hunting and animal welfare ethics coexist? Michael Nelson (Lyman Briggs College, Fisheries and Wildlife, Philosophy) and Kelly Millenbah (Fisheries and Wildlife) take a shot at reconciling those often contentious points of view, as hunters around the country start thinking about heading back into the brush. They discuss how advocates for each side arrive at loggerheads, and propose a potential avenue to facilitate a more successful discussion, in an article published in the fall edition of The Wildlife Professional. More»

Catering to cows: Cushy conditions lead to increased production, experts say
Kalamazoo Gazette

Waterbeds in the stalls. Laser-guided, robotic milk machines. A back-scratching massage station. Lush pastures and a whenever-you-feel-like-it milking schedule. Michigan State University's $1.8 million Pasture Dairy Research and Education Center in Hickory Corners is pretty close to cow heaven. Mat Haan, project coordinator, says the revolutionary cow comforts in the new research facility are designed to help farmers make money. More»

McDonald's USA to join new coalition to study U.S. hen housing sustainability, including cage-free
Life Science Weekly (Subscription)

McDonald's USA announced its participation with leading animal welfare scientists, academics, Non-Government Organizations and egg suppliers in a commercial-scale study of housing alternatives for egg-laying hens in the United States, including cage-free housing. ... The research is being led by Michigan State University and the University of California, Davis. "A thorough understanding of the full range of sustainability factors regarding hen housing is an important goal of this project," says Janice Swanson, an animal science professor at MSU. "The coalition anticipates a multi-year study to factor in seasonal shifts, bird life cycles and other factors."

Conferences Highlight Diverse Efforts at MSU

ESPP’s blog covers recent events hosted by the Sustainable Michigan Endowed Project, the Land Policy Institute, and Animal Studies, among others. More»

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