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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.

 


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

 

Kaminski named interim director for MSU's Center for Research on Ingredient Safety
MSU Today
9-22-2014

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»

 

Boosting Armor for Nuclear-Waste Eating Microbes
MSU Today
9-12-2014

A microbe developed to clean up nuclear waste and patented by a Michigan State University researcher has just been improved. In earlier research, Gemma Reguera, MSU microbiologist, identified that Geobacter bacteria’s tiny conductive hair-like appendages, or pili, did the yeoman’s share of remediation. By increasing the strength of the pili nanowires, she improved their ability to clean up uranium and other toxic wastes. In new research, published in the current issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Reguera has added an additional layer of armor to her enhanced microbes. More»

 

Addressing the effect of agriculture on global health
MSU Today
8-12-2014

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»

 

New Technology Turns Manure into Clean Water
MSUToday
5-29-2014

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»

 

New, Fossil-Fuel-Free Process Makes Biodiesel Sustainable
MSU Today
5-21-2014

A new fuel-cell concept, developed by an Michigan State University researcher, will allow biodiesel plants to eliminate the creation of hazardous wastes while removing their dependence on fossil fuel from their production process. The platform, which uses microbes to glean ethanol from glycerol and has the added benefit of cleaning up the wastewater, will allow producers to reincorporate the ethanol and the water into the fuel-making process, said Gemma Reguera, MSU microbiologist and one of the co-authors. More»

 

Gearing Up
MSU Today
1-16-2014

One of those researchers is Bruce Dale, MSU University Distinguished Professor of chemical engineering and materials science. Dale is focused on making much larger amounts of ethanol—fuel made from corn grain that accounts for about 10 percent of the gas currently used in cars—from corn stover and other nonfood crop residues and purpose-grown energy crops referred to collectively as “cellulosic biomass.” More»

 

EPA Should Retain Ethanol Requirements
Lansing State Journal
12-21-2013

Past federal energy legislation, culminating in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), has been very successful in encouraging an expansion in the production of ethanol and biodiesel. Practically all of the ethanol has been derived from corn grain. About half of biodiesel production has been derived from soybean oil, the remainder from recycled restaurant grease, corn oil from distillers’ dried grain (a byproduct of ethanol production), animal fat and other vegetable oils. Ethanol production doubled between 2007 and 2013 from 6.5 billion to 13.2 billion gallons. Biodiesel production increased from 0.5 billion to 1.7 billion gallons. More»

 

Michael Thomashow: A Shock to the System
MSU Today
9-9-2013

After growing up and spending a good part of my young adult life in southern California, it was a shock to my system when I moved to Pullman, Wash., for my first faculty position in the early 1980s. It also was, however, a turning point in my research career. Winter was very cold in Pullman. I remember looking out my laboratory window at plants surviving in minus 20-degree weather and asking myself, “How are these plants dealing with this incredible cold? How do they overwinter in such a harsh environment?” This got me interested in understanding the genetic mechanisms that plants have evolved to withstand freezing and other environmental stresses. I looked to the literature and found that specific ge - See more at: http://msutoday.msu.edu/360/2013/michael-thomashow-a-shock-to-the-system/#sthash.ITmLF4Tx.dpuf More»

 

MSU Builds Combined Heat and Power System using Anaerobic Digestion
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
8-9-2013

Michigan State University (MSU) officials will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 13 to officially commission and start operations of the South Campus Anaerobic Digester (SCAD). That same day, MSU and MSU Extension will host Keeping it Green: Recycling Waste to Resources to highlight this and other campus-based projects focused on reducing and reusing organic waste. Participants will tour the SCAD, the University Farms composting facility, Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center (ADREC), MSU Recycling, T.B. Simon Power Plant and the Student Organic Farm. More»

 

Extreme wildfires likely fueled by climate change
MSU Today
8-1-2013

Climate change is likely fueling the larger and more destructive wildfires that are scorching vast areas of the American West, according to new research led by Michigan State University scientists. “Our findings suggest that future lower atmospheric conditions may favor larger and more extreme wildfires, posing an additional challenge to fire and forest management,” said Lifeng Luo, MSU assistant professor of geography and lead author on the study. More»

 

Masters of Fate: ESPP receives new endowment from Sawyer Koch family
University Development
7-12-2013

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
WKAR
7-11-2013

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»

 

ESPP Affiliated Faculty member elected fellow of geological society
MSU Today
7-11-2013

Phanikumar Mantha has been elected a fellow of the Geological Society of America. Mantha is an associate professor in the MSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. More»

 

Teaming up to tackle pervasive pollutants
MSU Today
7-9-2013

Michigan State University scientists will lead a $14.1 million initiative to better understand how environmental contaminants called dioxins affect human health and to identify new ways of removing them from the environment. The researchers will use a five-year grant from the Superfund Research Program of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to support multiple studies on the industrial byproducts, which work their way up the food chain to humans, potentially raising the risk of certain cancers and other diseases. “Dioxins are ubiquitous,” said lead researcher Norbert Kaminski, director of MSU’s Center for Integrative Toxicology and a professor of pharmacology and toxicology. “This class of compounds can be detected virtually everywhere in the world, and they can remain in the environment for decades.” - See more at: http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2013/teaming-up-to-tackle-pervasive-pollutants/#sthash.BudcZFoq.dpuf More»

 

Research shows planting cover crops protects Michigan's environment
MLive
6-14-2013

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»

 

Using Science to Address Farm Pollution
MSU Today
6-3-2013

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»

 

Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool can help local planning officials plan for the future
MSU Extension
5-27-2013

Michigan is water rich with abundant surface water and groundwater for recreation, drinking, industry and agriculture. Even in the midst of plentiful supplies, there are parts of the state where increasing competition for water, especially groundwater, is currently or will in the future make it harder to extract those resources without impacting other users and the environment. More»

 

State climatologist: Data suggests warmer than normal summer on the way
MLive
5-24-2013

Last year, Michigan had an unusually mild winter paired with a heat wave that devastated perennials and industry fruit crops. State of Michigan climatologist and Michigan State University professor of geography Jeff Andresen returns to Greening of the Great Lakes with Kirk Heinze for his annual climate update. More»

 

Honeybees, other bees put to the test pollinating Michigan blueberries
MLive
5-24-2013

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»

 

Unraveling the Napo's mystery
MSU Today
5-20-2013

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»

 

ESPP Student Bonnie McGill wins a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
Kellogg Biological Station Long Term Ecological Research
5-9-2013

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»

 

ESPP Affiliated Faculty Dr. Joe Messina receives honorable mention for instructional technology
MSU Today
4-18-2013

Dr. Joe Messina (Geography, Center for Global Change and Earth Observations) has been given an Honorable Mention for Technology Enhancement for his course GEO 826: Geocomputation. "Technology enables transition from static to dynamic," Dr. Messina said. The 2013 AT&T Faculty-Staff Award Competition in Instructional Technology honored eight courses to "both recognize and encourage best practices in the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning." In the coming academic year, these winners will present their innovations to the public in venues such as the Instructional Technology Brown Bag Seminar Series and the Breakfast Series: Conversations in Online and Blended Pedagogy, hosted by MSU IT Services. More»

 

Anti-fracking group gears up for new ballot initiative
Great Lakes Echo/Capital News Service
3-28-2013

Warren Wood, a hydrogeologist and geoscience professor at Michigan State University, said there’s “no question” fracking causes earthquakes, but on such a small scale that they cannot be felt in Michigan. More»

 

Two years after disaster, problems remain in Japan
MSU Today
3-8-2013

The earthquake and tsunami that claimed some 20,000 lives and caused a nuclear power plant crisis at Fukushima two years ago may seem like distant memories to many in the United States. But for the people of northeastern Japan struggling to rebuild and recover, the March 11, 2011, triple disasters are ongoing concerns, said Ethan Segal, Michigan State University associate professor of history and an expert on East Asia. Some Japanese residents are still living in temporary housing, unsure if it is safe and unable to borrow the needed capital to rebuild, Segal said. Imperfect decontamination measures make it unclear if communities around Fukushima will ever be able to return, while a lack of consumer confidence in products from the northeast means that businesses struggle and unemployment remains high, he added. "There are hopeful signs of recovery," Segal said, "but many problems remain unresolved." Segal will be part of a panel that will commemorate the two-year anniversary of the Japan disasters on March 18 at MSU. Read more here. Segal can be reached at (517) 884-4926 and segale@msu.edu. More»

 

MSU biofuels expert makes list of Top 100 people in bioenergy
MSU Today
1-11-2013

Michigan State University AgBioResearch scientist Bruce Dale was recently ranked 22th - and was the top-ranked academic - on BioFuels Digest's list of Top 100 People in Bioenergy. The list was determined by votes from readers of the magazine and the magazine’s editorial board. This marks the third year Dale, a professor in the MSU Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, has received recognition in the top 100. More»

 

Faculty Conversations: Jonathan Walton
MSU Today
1-10-2013

Jonathan Walton joined the Michigan State University faculty more than 25 years ago. He’s been busy ever since. In addition to teaching Plant Biology 415, which covers topics ranging from plant hormones to photosynthesis, he’s a guest lecturer in other courses around campus. He also is the director of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, More»

 

Richard Lunt Wins NSF CAREER Grant
College of Engineering
1-3-2013

Richard Lunt, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University, has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award. Funding from this five-year, $409,800 grant, which began January 1, 2013, will support Lunt's work in the development of transparent photovoltaics (PVs), a new paradigm for solar energy harvesting. The project will develop a new class of near-infrared excitonic semiconductors, which can be utilized to selectively capture and convert ultraviolet and near-infrared light into electricity, and design the next generation of high efficiency transparent solar cells. More»

 

MSU to share $10 million federal research grant to develop bio-energy, bio-based products
The Detroit News
12-14-2012

Michigan State University is one of more than 20 universities to share $10 million in federal research grants to spur production of bio-energy and bio-based products, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Friday. Michigan State — the only Michigan recipient — will receive $349,695 for projects that Vilsack said will lead to the development of sustainable regional systems and create jobs. More»

 

New Thermoelectric Material Could Pave the Way for Low-Cost Energy Solutions
MSU College of Engineering
11-15-2012

Michigan State University is home to one of the most advanced thermoelectric power generation research groups in the world. And now, a new thermoelectric material is on the horizon. Researchers in MSU's Center for Revolutionary Materials for Solid State Energy Conversion—an Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) funded by the U.S. Department of Energy—are developing a thermoelectric material based on natural mineral tetrahedrites. Their work was recently published in the online journal Advanced Energy Materials. More»

 

WVU joins search for organic response to stinkbugs
West Virginia State Journal
11-5-2012

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»

 

MSU professor takes lead role in national STEM initiative
University Relations
10-23-2012

A Michigan State University faculty member is taking a lead role in a national initiative designed to improve the quality of undergraduate teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called STEM fields. James Fairweather, a professor of higher, adult and lifelong education, will serve as co-principal investigator of the Association of American Universities’ project, which is working to implement new, more interactive methods of instruction in these fields, particularly in freshman and sophomore courses. More»

 

MSU, Monsanto working to fight corn rootworm
Detroit Free Press
10-7-2012

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 earns EPA grants to fight high-risk invasive species
University Relations
10-3-2012

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
10-3-2012

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»

 

Superman-strength bacteria produce gold
University Relations
10-1-2012

At a time when the value of gold has reached an all-time high, Michigan State University researchers have discovered a bacterium’s ability to withstand incredible amounts of toxicity is key to creating 24-karat gold. More»

 

Charles Sweeley Jr., former MSU biochemistry chairperson, dies
University Relations
10-1-2012

Charles Sweeley Jr., former chairperson of Michigan State University’s Department of Biochemistry and University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, died on Sept. 21. He was 82. Sweeley was an MSU faculty member from 1968 until his retirement in 1992. He served as biochemistry chairperson from 1979 to 1985 and was named University Distinguished Professor of biochemistry in 1990. More»

 

Evolution: Scientists Grow 56,000 Generations in Lab to Watch
ABC World News
9-26-2012

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
Businessweek
9-25-2012

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»

 

Inaugural MSU Women in STEM conference takes place Oct. 22-23
University Relations
9-24-2012

Michigan State University Women in STEM will take place Oct. 22 and 23 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. Alumnae will have the chance to engage and connect with other MSU alumnae, expand their professional network and acquire tools and knowledge that can assist in furthering their career objectives. More»

 

Michigan State's FRIB funding likely flat for six months
Lansing State Journal
9-11-2012

A stop-gap funding bill that lawmakers hope will keep the federal government operating through March 27 would keep federal funding steady for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams planned for Michigan State University. More»

 

Next step of FRIB project approved by MSU board
University Relations
9-7-2012

The Michigan State University Board of Trustees has given its approval to the next step in the development of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, a world-class nuclear research facility that will attract scientists from all over the world to East Lansing. More»

 

Isoprene research could lead to eco-friendly car tires
University Relations
5-15-2012

The world’s rubber supplies are in peril, and automobile tire producers are scrambling to seek alternative solutions. Tom Sharkey (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) believes isoprene, a gas given off by many trees, ferns and mosses, could be a viable option. Some plants use it as a mechanism to tolerate heat stress as opposed to most crops, which stay cool through evaporation. More»

Yeast experiment hints at a faster evolution from single cells
New York Times
1-16-2012

Screen capture of a growing yeast cell. Courtesy of the New York Times. In a laboratory at the University of Minnesota, brewer’s yeast cells can evolve primitive bodies in about two weeks. "This is a really interesting and important study," said editor of the paper Richard Lenski (Crop and Soil Sciences). "It shows that a major transition in evolution — going from unicellular to multicellular life forms — might not be as hard to achieve as most biologists have long thought."
For related story see Nature. More»

Microbiology adds new dimension to environmental water research
College of Engineering, Connections (Summer/Fall 2011)
9-1-2011

Microbiology work.  Image credit: Wikipedia Commons. It was a career fair in high school that piqued Alison Cupples’ (Civil and Environmental Engineering) interest in a career working on environmental issues. “My interest was always about environmental water issues, but research that also included microbiology was fascinating to me,” says Cupples. Her research focuses on the degradation of contaminants in soil systems and groundwater, and uses molecular methods to identify key organisms responsible for transforming the contaminants. More»

Follow geological research in Alaska
College of Natural Science
8-15-2011

A Geological Sciences research team led by Brian Hampton is examining the origin and tectonic history of the remote backcountry of the western Alaska Range – home to some of the highest mountains in the North America. They’re blogging the experience along the way: follow the “MSU Geology in the Field” blog. More»

Convincing farmers to grow biofuel crops may be difficult
University Relations
7-21-2011

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 calls for increasing cellulosic ethanol production to 16 billion gallons by 2022. But persuading farmers to start growing biomass crops to produce this biofuel may prove challenging, according to two new studies by MSU scientists. “We looked at the nation’s top 10 crops that already have consistent, recognized markets – and found that even when prices went up 65 percent, farmers only expanded production by about 2 percent,” said author Scott Swinton (Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics). More»

In the race of life, better an adaptable tortoise than a fit hare
University Relations
3-22-2011

When it comes to survival of the fittest, it’s sometimes better to be an adaptable tortoise than a fitness-oriented hare. Writing in Science, MSU researchers Richard Lenski and Mark Kauth (Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) show that more adaptable bacteria oriented toward long-term improvement prevailed over competitors that held a short-term advantage.
The New York Times had the story. More»

Sheldon Turner, image courtesy of TurnerESPP Student Profile: Sheldon Turner
ESPP
2-22-2011

For Sheldon Turner (Geological Sciences), geology is the ultimate interdisciplinary field. In college, with little prior knowledge of geology, he took some courses and was excited to see that it involved his other scientific interests—math, physics and chemistry. Following his graduation with a bachelor’s in geology and a minor in physics, Turner joined the MSU Department of Geological Sciences. Here, his research has involves psychology, education and even policy. More»

Bacteria form electric circuits?
Scientist
10-11-2010

bacteria, image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons... "It is the first time in which researchers actually measure electron transport along the wires at micrometer distances, which makes it a biologically relevant process," says Gemma Reguera (Microbiology and Molecular Genetics). More»

Lenski's lab a leader in evolution research
College of Natural Sciences
10-1-2010

Richard Lenski (Crop and Soil Sciences, Zoology, and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) has been doing E.colilong-term evolution experiments since 1988. His lab is considered a forerunner in evolutionary research and his work is now supported by a prestigious Science and Technology Center grant from NSF. More»

Natural selection cuts broad swath through fruit fly genome
New York Times
9-21-2010

... Richard Lenski (Crop and Soil Sciences, Zoology, and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) says the finding that natural selection had worked by changing gene frequencies in a fruit fly experiment was very interesting. More»

Researchers discover mechanism protecting plants against freezing
University Relations
8-26-2010

New research helps explain how plants protect themselves from freezing temperatures and could lead to discoveries related to plant tolerance for drought and other extreme conditions. The research, published in the journal Science, was conducted by Christoph Benning, Eric Moellering, and Bagyalakshmi Muthan, all of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. With rising concern globally about water supplies and climate change, scientists see additional reasons to understand the ways hardy plants survive. More»

Gulf oil spill could widen, worsen ‘dead zone’
University Relations
7-1-2010

Gulf oil spillWhile an out-of-control gusher deep in the Gulf of Mexico fouls beaches and chokes marshland habitat, another threat could be growing below the oil-slicked surface. The nation’s worst oil spill could worsen and expand the oxygen-starved region of the Gulf labeled “the dead zone” for its inhospitability to marine life, suggests Nathaniel Ostrom (Zoology). Ostrom and students Ben Kamphius (Zoology) and Sam DeCamp (Food Science) are analyzing samples from the Gulf to understand likely consequences. More»

Biosystems engineering students win national recognition in EPA P3 competition
University Relations
4-30-2010

A team of MSU senior biosystems engineering students won honorable mention in a nationwide competition sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to promote sustainable solutions to pressing needs. The annual competition is called “People, Prosperity, and the Planet.”
The students designed and evaluated an anaerobic digester system coupled to a wetland area to cost-effectively treat dairy waste and stormwater at the Kellogg Biological Station, and generate biogas for energy.
Students working on the project were Shannon Henderson, Louis Faivor, Patrick Triscari and Joseph Ahlquist, advised by ESPP affiliate Dawn Reinhold (Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering). More»

Faculty conversations: Don Morelli
University Relations
4-22-2010

For every gallon of gas burned, about two-thirds of it is wasted in the process. Don Morelli (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science) is working to change that with thermoelectrics – the process of capturing waste heat and converting it into electricity to make a car run more efficiently. More»

Increasing computational power makes possible simulations of geology's nitty-gritty chemistry
Chemical and Engineering News
4-5-2010

You might say that geochemistry can make a mountain out of a molecular molehill. The atomic-level descriptions of the chemical behavior of mineral surfaces and their interactions with aqueous solutions ultimately explain some of the planet’s largest-scale phenomena….Last month’s American Chemical Society national meeting in San Francisco saw the deployment of computational geochemistry forces that have been advancing for several years, with a symposium cosponsored by the Divisions of Geochemistry and Computers in Chemistry. The symposium’s co-organizer was Andrey Kalinichev (Chemistry and Geological Sciences). More»

Dormant microbes promote diversity, serve environment
University Relations
3-19-2010

The ability of microbes, tiny organisms that do big jobs in our environment, to go dormant not only can save them from death and possible extinction but may also play a key role in promoting biodiversity and ecosystem stability. In a paper published this week in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, Jay Lennon (Kellogg Biological Station, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) and Stuart Jones (KBS) described how they used a mathematical model and molecular tools to study how dormancy affects the biodiversity of natural microbial communities, especially in lakes. More»

Column: Michigan not immune to earthquakes
MLive.com
1-15-2010

... "It’s being argued how dangerous the (Reelfoot Rift) is," says Kazuya Fujita, geology professor at Michigan State University who has studied Michigan earthquakes, "but we know it’s there. We know there's a historic record of earthquakes that happen every 200 to 800 years."

For a related story, see Lansing State Journal. More»

Stimulus grant to help MSU team improve drug development from plants
University Relations
11-5-2009

Scientists at MSU are receiving nearly $3 million from the National Institutes of Health to uncover how several popular plants make medicinal compounds. The funding will provide scientists the resources to understand exactly which genes are involved in the synthesis of medicinal chemicals in several plants -- clearing the way for cheaper and more effective ways to produce drugs. "Many plants make compounds that we use directly as medicines or that we modify slightly to create widely used medicines, but in almost all cases we do not understand how the plants synthesize these compounds," said MSU biochemistry professor Dean DellaPenna, one of three principle investigators on the grant. The Associated Press had the story. More»

Latest issue of Futures highlights "new research frontiers."
Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station
11-2-2009

FuturesThe fall issue of Futures, published by the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, highlights "new research frontiers," including the work of ESPP affiliates. The magazine features Gemma Reguera's (Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) "palm-sized microbial fuel cell"; Stuart Grandy's (Crop and Soil Science) research on soil microbes; a long-running examination of bacterial evolution by Richard Lenski (Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Zoology, and Crop and Soil Sciences); and microbial detective work by James Tiedje (Crop & Soil Sciences, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) and Syed Hashsham (Civil and Environmental Engineering), among other affiliates. More»

Microbes provide solutions to energy issues
College of Natural Science
8-6-2009

After three years of research, Gemma Reguera (Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Crop and Soil Sciences) has developed a process that can be harnessed to produce clean, cheap electricity and fuel from plant biomass. Microbial fuel cells are attracting interest as they are inexpensive to manufacture and produce no harmful by-products. More»

'Genetic arms race' between bacteria, viruses subject of stimulus grant
University Relations
7-2-2009

The oceans teem with microscopic bacteria that produce much of Earth's oxygen as they absorb carbon dioxide greenhouse gas. But fast-mutating viruses also populate the seas, attacking marine bacteria in an ages-old evolutionary arms race. Jay Lennon (Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) has received an NSF grant to examine that ancient dynamic against the backdrop of environmental and climate change, and the pivotal role played by aquatic bacteria in maintaining the Earth’s biological balance.
More»

Study highlights massive imbalances in global fertilizer use
University Relations
6-18-2009

An international team of ecologists and agricultural experts cautions against blanket solutions to global fertilizer pollution, considering that some regions still suffer greatly from lack of cropland nutrients.
In a report published in the the journal Science, Phil Robertson (Crop and Soil Sciences) and colleagues warn against a "one-size-fits-all" approach to managing global food production.
Additional news coverage: New York Times, Monga Bay
More»

Microbes may be more networked than you are
Wired News (editorial)
6-16-2009

When we think of networks, we think of humans and the cables we've run around the world to connect our species. Figuring out how to move electrons has transformed human society, but we are not the only species on earth that lives in a wired world. A few years ago, microbiologist Gemma Reguera of Michigan State University reported that a certain type of bacteria could use rust to grow electrically conductive appendages. Shortly thereafter, my lab showed that many more bacterial species also had the ability to grow nanowires...
More»

KBS hosts regional meeting of experts in new field: Biogeochemistry
Greenboard (ESPP blog)
6-2-2009

Experts gathered last week at MSU’s Kellogg Biological Station to discuss their work in the emerging field of biogeochemistry, which concerns the intersection of biology, geology and chemistry, and asks how organisms interact with their physical and chemical environments.
Roughly 80 participants from all over the Upper Midwest attended the first annual Great Lakes Regional Biogeochemistry Symposium, which was hosted by KBS’s Eminent Ecologists program and the Biogeochemistry Environmental Research Initiative (BERI).
Nathaniel Ostrom, co-director of the BERI, described questions biogeochemists are interested in, and why the field matters. [Video available.] More»

Understanding Hawaiian Petrels through Stable Isotopes
College of Natural Science
4-10-2009

Thousands of years ago, Hawaiian Petrels were so numerous they darkened the skies of the Hawaiian Islands. Today, they are endangered and nearly extinct. Peggy Ostrom and Anne Wiley (Zoology) are reconstructing the ecological history of the seabird, “reading their bones” to better understand the history of the bird and protect the remaining population. More»

 

Litchman Lands Prestigious Award for Young Teacher-Scholars
ESPP
3-6-2009

Elena Litchman (Zoology) has won a prestigious grant awarded by the National Science Foundation to young researchers who also excel at teaching. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award will fund a five-year project in which Litchman will investigate how factors like climate change and nutrient levels affect toxic algae blooms in lakes. CAREER awards are given “in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations,” NSF says.
More about Litchman’s work
More about CAREER

 

David Long Appointed Geological Society of America Fellow
Geological Society of America
5-5-2008

David Long (Geology) has been appointed a Geological Society of America Fellow. His work is described: "David T. Long has conducted state-of-the-art research in environmental and aqueous geochemistry for 30 years. This research has provided over 85 refereed publications. Long is considered an international authority on trace metal dynamics, medical geochemistry, and acid-saline systems." More»

 

Warming Could Sap Superior - Great Lakes Face Algae, Disease
Detroit Free Press
4-11-2008

Lower lake levels, less ice cover, more algae, more invasive species and more waterborne diseases linked to sewer overflows after severe storms. Those are among the dire forecasts about the impact of global warming on the Great Lakes from scientists who concluded two days of presentations Thursday at Michigan State University. More»

 

Rivers Great and Small Can Fight Pollution, If Given Chance
U.S. News and World Report
3-12-2008

Big rivers typically get the credit for being powerful and mighty, but a sweeping national study released today shows that when it comes to pollution control, even little streams can pack a punch. Stephen Hamilton (Kellogg Biological Station) and his team studied nine of the streams that flowed through cities, forests and agricultural land in the Kalamazoo River watershed of southwestern Michigan."We now have a better idea of what makes one stream more efficient at nitrate removal than another," Hamilton said. More»

 

The Environmental Biogeochemistry Research Initiative
Green Ink (ESPP's newsletter)
12-1-2007

It's an integrative discipline that lies at the nexus of biology, chemistry and geology and looks at how living organisms (from microbes to plants and animals) interact with their chemical and physical environment. Nathaniel Ostrom (Zoology) is co-director of the initiative. More»

Next step of FRIB project approved by MSU board
University Relations
11-30-1999

The Michigan State University Board of Trustees has given its approval to the next step in the development of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, a world-class nuclear research facility that will attract scientists from all over the world to East Lansing. More»

 

MSU earns EPA grant to fight high-risk invasive species
University Relations
11-30-1999

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»

 

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