New ways to measure nitrous oxide: reflections from a KBS LTER researcher

By, Dr. Ilya Gelfand, Research Associate, Kellogg Biological Station, Michgian igelfand@msu.edu When people ask me what I do, I need to stop for a moment to answer that for myself. What do I do? I have two types of answers: short and long. The short answer isn't very short either, since ecosystem ecology requires additional explanation. First, an ecosystem is defined as a community of living organisms living and interacting within their environment. Ecosystem ecologists need to study both living and nonliving parts and their interaction, or to study biogeochemistry: interactions between

Generosity of local farmer creates national impact

Harold and Edythe Marshall’s gift of their 300-acre farm to Michigan State University has been a major boon to understanding the ecology of new biofuel crops, producing research results with national impact by scientists at MSU's Kellogg Biological Station (KBS). Under a unique partnership between the Marshalls and MSU, the farmland east of Hickory Corners in Barry County is enabling scientists from the KBS Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) program and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) to conduct unique biofuel research with funding from the US Department of Energy

KBS LTER synthesis book published

As spring approaches, thousands of farmers across the Midwest are preparing for planting, knowing well the importance of their work in supplying society with food. They may be less aware of the potential for their row crops to provide a host of additional benefits, including clean water, habitat for beneficial insects such as pollinators, and even climate change mitigation. Agriculture’s role in providing such benefits has been the subject of over 25 years of research at the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) in southwest Michigan. With long-term support from the National Science Foundation

Paradigm shifts: Re-envisioning agricultural landscapes to optimize ecosystem services

In 2013, the United Nations released a report projecting that the global population will reach 9.6 billion by the year 2050. This increase of 2.4 billion people between now and then is already beginning to challenge the world’s agricultural communities to provide adequate food, fuel and fiber while employing sustainable practices that conserve natural resources. The feat becomes more complex when coupled with the increasing demand to grow more bioenergy crops, combat biodiversity declines and regenerate the habitat of agriculturally important insects. Doug Landis, Michigan State University

Mud matters: reflections from a KBS LTER grad

Each year the KBS LTER program awards two graduate students with summer research fellowships. Here Dustin Kincaid describes the research his summer fellowship supported. Dustin is a Ph.D. student in Steve Hamilton's lab. ~~~ “ . . . the world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful” -ee cummings Mud matters. Especially in shallow water bodies. Or at least I’m convinced it matters—enough to spend most of my 2014 field season hip and often eyeball deep in mud anyways. As water flows across the landscape, interactions with mud, or more appropriately, sediments, influence the fluxes of

Fertilizing to help the planet

This news piece by KBS LTER volunteer and retired journalist Bill Krasean. Researchers at Michigan State University's Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) program have helped develop a way for farmers to reduce crop-related emissions of a greenhouse gas while potentially lowering fertilizer costs, maintaining crop yields, and getting paid to do so. KBS scientists have developed a program to reduce farm-related emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent greenhouse gas that also destroys ozone in the stratosphere. Using data collected from Michigan farms,

“Cream of the crop” – LTER research in FUTURES magazine

KBS LTER scientists were recently featured in the latest issue of MSU's AgBioResearch FUTURES magazine. The article begins, "Like most students at the Michigan State University (MSU) W. K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS), which is renowned for advancements in ecological science and evolutionary biology, Christine Sprunger arrived eager to roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty — literally. “When I took my first soils class as a sophomore at the University of Washington, I just kind of fell in love with the topic,” said Sprunger, now pursuing a dual doctoral degree in crop and soil

Gi-normous global issues, one little person, and a community of collaboration

Our congratulations to Bonnie McGill, KBS LTER graduate student, who was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. We’ve asked Bonnie to write a blog post about her research. Enjoy! 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?  This question has been rolling around inside my head for the last 11 years or so, and it seems like my quest is starting to gain more traction. I’ve narrowed my research focus to water quality,

KBS LTER and Malawi partnership addresses food security

The W.K Kellogg Biological Station Long-term Ecological Research (KBS LTER) program of Michigan State University (MSU) is partnering with the University of Malawi (UNIMA) in southeast Africa on a new project. The goal is to address Malawi’s agricultural development and food security, two pressing domestic policy issues in a country relying heavily on agriculture. The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) cooperated to launch a new funding program; Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER). As a competitive grant