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

 


Climate change should help midwest corn production through 2050
MSUToday
5-16-2018

Climate change and global warming put some forms of life at risk, but researchers found one instance that might not feel the heat – corn. Contrary to previous analyses, research published by Michigan State University shows that projected changes in temperature and humidity will not lead to greater water use in corn. This means that while changes in temperatures and humidity trend as they have in the past 50 years, crop yields can not only survive – but thrive. “There is a lot of optimism looking at the future for farmers, especially in the Midwest,” said Bruno Basso, lead author of the study and University Distinguished professor. More»

The hidden environmental costs of importing food
Earth
5-7-2018

A new study has exposed the surprising fact that importing food can be just as damaging to ecological health as exporting food. Domestic farmers are sometimes forced to switch crops in response to the global food market, and this often leads to unforeseen environmental consequences. Study senior author Jianguo “Jack” Liu is the director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability at Michigan State University. “What is obvious is not always the whole truth,” said Liu. “Unless a world is examined in a systemic, holistic way, environmental costs will be overlooked.” More»

 

Dr. Jennifer Carrera Awarded Prestigious NIEHS Grant
Department of Socilogy
5-3-2018

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 jcarrera@msu.edu. More»

Conservation Costs Can Be Higher than Bargained For
MSUToday
3-26-2018

MSU doctoral candidate Hongbo Yang and his colleagues created a systems approach to look at how farmers in southwestern China’s Wolong Nature Reserve were faring since they started taking payments under two of the country’s PES programs. The Grain-to-Green Program, one of the world’s largest PES programs, was created in 2000 to address the rapid degradation of ecosystems including giant panda habitat. By 2010, around 15 million hectares of farmland were returned to forests or grasslands. The local Grain-to-Bamboo Program, started in 2002, supported growing bamboo on cropland to feed pandas in captivity. More»

 

Zachary Curtis named Outstanding Environmental Engineering PhD Student
ESPP
3-6-2018

ESPP is proud to announce that our doctoral specialization student Zachary Curtis has been named Outstanding Environmental Engineering PhD student. Zach is currently earning his PhD in Environmental Engineering. Before pursuing his PhD, he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Astrophysics; participated in summer research in Boulder, Colorado; did brief studies at Boston University; and received a Master of Science degree from Michigan State University in Environmental Engineering. His goal during his graduate study is to help communities develop and better understand water sustainability. For his PhD research he is using groundwater and watershed modeling for brine upwelling into lowland and coastal areas of Michigan. Along with his research, Zach is a Teaching Assistant for the CoRe Engineering program in the College of Engineering. His advisor is Dr. Shu-Guang Li. Zach received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s Graduate Studies Committee. This award is given based on the student’s grade point average, quality of research, and his character as a citizen. Zach will receive a plaque and a money award. More»

Knight Center-affiliated research assistant awarded conservation and environmental leadership fellowship
MSU School of Journalism
2-12-2018

Doctoral student and Knight Center-affiliated research assistant, Apoorva Joshi, was awarded the annual Theodore Roosevelt Conservation and Environmental Leadership Fellowship by Michigan State University this month. The fellowship, announced by MSU’s Graduate School, aims to provide graduate or professional students the support to pursue opportunities for gaining leadership experience in environment or conservation-based professions or programs. Recipients are required to have exhibited an interest in leadership and in local and global environmental and conservation issues. More»

 

MSU uses $3M NASA grant to find better ways to regulate dams
MSU Today
2-8-2018

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»

 

$2.5M Grant to Help Improve Agricultural Consumption of Water, Energy
MSU Today
1-18-2018

Michigan State University scientists are leading a $2.5 million USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant to better manage these resources and define more sustainable ways for irrigated agriculture to meet current and future demand for food. MSU scientists contributing to this study include: Annick Anctil, Bruno Basso, Anthony Kendall, Paolo Sabbatini, Jinhua Zhao and Adam Zwickle. “Irrigated agriculture is at the core of the nexus of food, energy and water, or FEW, systems,” said David Hyndman, MSU hydrogeologist and the grant’s lead investigator. “Global change is expected to place additional pressure on these systems as U.S. climate warms and becomes more variable, and demand for food increases due to global population growth and diet shifts.” More»

 

MSU's Zipkin takes key role in large-scale seabird study
MSU Research
1-8-2018

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»

 

Streams can be sensors
MSU Today
12-27-2017

Scientists at Michigan State University have shown that streams can be key health indicators of a region’s landscape, but the way they’re being monitored can be improved. New research featured in Ecology Letters showcases how streams can be used as sensors to diagnose a watershed’s sensitivity or resiliency to changes in land use practices, including the long-term use of fertilizers. Using streams as sensors ­– specifically, near the headwaters – can allow scientists, land-use managers and farmers to diagnose which watersheds can be more sustainably developed for food production, said Jay Zarnetske, MSU earth and environmental scientist and co-author of the study. More»

Communication professors receive grant for health research
MSU Today
11-28-2017

Michigan State University communication professors James Dearing and Maria Lapinski have received a grant to research which effective and low-cost healthcare practices from other countries could be successful if implemented in the United States. More»

 

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