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,

When science meets policy: a grad student’s experience on the Hill

Every year the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America (ASA-CSSA-SSSA) hold a Congressional Visits Day (CVD) in Washington, D.C. during appropriations season. The goal is to have a strong presence of faculty, students, and crop advisors advocating for agricultural and natural resources research on Capitol Hill. This past March, I had the opportunity to participate in the 2014 CVD. I was one of 18 students who received a Future Leader in Science Award, which included an all expense paid trip to D.C. Awardees were chosen based

KBS LTER graduate students lead hands-on activities at MSU’s second annual science festival

By Bonnie McGill, KBS LTER graduate student Three LTER graduate students—Erin Haramoto, Christine Sprunger, and myself—spent this past Saturday in Lansing at MSU’s second annual SciFest (http://sciencefestival.msu.edu).  The week long festival brings scientists out of their labs, away from their computer screens, and in from the field so they can share their excitement in and knowledge of science with the public.  Us three LTER students shared two scientific concepts near and dear to every KBS LTER-er: soil conservation and aquatic food webs.  Erin and Christine brought

Insect vacuum on the KBS LTER helps serve as an early warning system

By Bill Krasean, retired journalist and KBS LTER volunteer Every Friday mid-May through mid-October, a staff member at Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) program drives to a tall, narrow pipe on the main experiment site, opens a small door at the base of the tower and extracts a bottle filled with liquid and a cornucopia of insects. The little critters, victims of a strong suction at the top of the pole as they fly by, are shipped to the University of Illinois where Dr. David J. Voegtlin and Dr. Doris Lagos, experts in the identification of aphids,

“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

KBS LTER Graduate Student Fellowships for 2014

MSU grad students: multiple fellowship opportunities are now available! The KBS LTER has year-long and summer funding available. The KBS GK-12 program is accepting fellows for their sustainable biofuels education program, which helps grads gain skills in science communication and education. Application information available at: http://lter.kbs.msu.edu/get-involved/job-openings/

Giving thanks for our volunteers

During this Thanksgiving week, we want to express our thanks to volunteers Bill Krasean and Joelyn de Lima who offer helpful hands—and many hours—to our KBS LTER community. Krasean has been volunteering at the KBS LTER for over one year. “I started out volunteering at the KBS Bird Sanctuary,” said Krasean. “Then I found out the KBS LTER could use someone with experience in photography and writing, so I switched.” After working for the Kalamazoo Gazette as a reporter for almost 35 years, he retired in 2005. With an interest in scientific nature and natural history, along with a

Discussion series gives agricultural community a chance to weigh in on climate change

A series of meetings designed by the Kellogg Biological Station Long-term Ecological Research (KBS LTER) program and Michigan State University (MSU) Extension to deepen the conversation between farmers, scientists, and agricultural professionals on a wide range of issues is proving quite a hit. In a continuing effort that began in 2012, KBS LTER Education & Outreach Coordinator, Dr. Julie Doll, and her colleagues from MSU Extension hosted three discussion events in March 2013 focusing on climate change, alternative energy, and the impacts they may have on Michigan’s agriculture and

Michigan students can now study science in the great outdoors

As part of the KBS K-12 Partnership with local school districts, the Kellogg Biological Station Long-term Ecological Research (KBS LTER) program has developed an on-site science activity that has quickly become a staff favorite: an activity trail for elementary students highlighting KBS LTER research on sustainable agriculture. The KBS K-12 Partnership goals include enhancing the content and delivery of the Michigan K-12 science curriculum and promoting improved science teaching by providing teachers with in-depth exposure to current ecology topics. At the Agriculture & Ecology Student

CO2 flux towers help assess the sustainability of biofuels

This news piece by KBS LTER volunteer and retired journalist Bill Krasean. If the United States is to develop sustainable biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol as alternatives to grain-based ethanol and the burning of climate-changing fossil fuels, there are still many questions yet to be answered. Key among those questions is where best to grow biofuel crops without sacrificing valuable farm and forestland, says Jiquan Chen, Distinguished University Professor in Environmental Science at the University of Toledo and investigator in the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s (DOE) Great Lakes Bioenergy