How can microbes in the soil affect greenhouse gases and mitigate climate change? An LTER researcher hopes to find out

This post was originally featured on Greenboard, the blog of the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Michigan State University on May 31st, 2018. Di Liang is a PhD candidate and LTER grad in Dr. Phil Robertson's lab at MSU's Kellogg Biological Station. ~~~~~~~~~~~ Di Liang is a doctoral student in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences and MSU's Kellogg Biological Station. This summer, he is working to identify the soil microbial sources of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. It is his hope that knowing how these microbes contribute to N2O fluxes can offer

Bringing new life to a dead zone problem: Reflections from an LTER researcher

By, Bonnie McGill, PhD candidate and LTER researcher in Professor Steve Hamilton's Lab, W.K Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University ~~~~ Nitrate, dead zone, Midwest, agriculture—you know where this is headed. Here I’m going to explain a new project I will soon embark on for my postdoctoral work where I will try to improve our understanding of how voluntary conservation practices on farms in Iowa affect the nitrate concentrations in Iowa streams and rivers. The mammoth amount of previous work, complexity, and controversy around this issue is not lost on me. The issue of

Evolution in the LTER: Reflections from an LTER researcher

Each year the KBS LTER awards full and summer fellowships to MSU graduate students. MSU graduate researcher Susan Magnoli is a PhD student in Jen Lau's lab in the Department of Plant Biology. She wrote about her 2017 KBS LTER summer fellowship project. When you think about studies of evolutionary biology, images of Darwin’s finches, diverse fish communities, or beautiful tropical forests might come to mind. But what about agricultural landscapes? While they at first might not appear to be the most exciting habitats, the farm fields and biofuel crops of the Kellogg

Crops, climate, computers – An eye on complex cropping systems: Reflections from an LTER researcher

Each year the KBS LTER awards full and summer fellowships to MSU graduate students. MSU graduate researcher Prakash Jha is a PhD student in Dr. Amor Ines' lab in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences. He wrote about his 2017 KBS LTER summer fellowship project. The assessment of agricultural sustainability is complex. On the one hand, the increasing production trends are perceived to be critical to meet the increasing demand of food for the growing population. On the other hand, the excessive use of agricultural inputs to increase food production poses

The little known gas with a big impact

By KBS LTER volunteer Bill Krasean. Dr. Ying Zhang was a visiting researcher in 2017 in Dr. Phil Robertson's lab at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station in southwest Michigan. ~~~~ Ozone, the simple combination of three oxygen atoms, is both a naturally occurring and human-created gas in the Earth’s atmosphere. Atmospheric ozone is created naturally from gaseous substances emitted by lightning, soil, and vegetation, but it is also formed from pollutants emitted by human activities. Ozone is a mixed bag whose downside is a growing concern worldwide because of its negative

A new view of farmer fields: Using drones for ag sustainability

By, Bill Krasean Sven Bohm and Kevin Kahmark are standing in the middle of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) field site in Hickory Corners, MI, where researchers study the sustainability of different crops grown for use as liquid transportation fuel. Each is holding a small remote control box similar to one used in video games. On the ground nearby are two small black unmanned aerial vehicles, a.k.a. drones. Soon both drones are airborne, humming quietly above the ground and zipping off in selected directions under the eye of the two drone pilots. While both

My KBS summer research experience: Reflections from an undergraduate researcher

KBS undergraduate summer researcher Francisca Donkor is a sophomore at Harris-Stowe State University. She wrote about her Research Experiences for Undergraduates project working with mentor and LTER researcher Heather Kittredge, a PhD student in Sarah Evans' lab at MSU. Francisca was funded by an NSF REU site award to the Kellogg Biological Station. Coming from Harris-Stowe State University, which is comparatively small in size, I knew I had a lot of adjusting and learning to do from day one of my Research Experiences for Undergraduates project at the Kellogg

Almost failing a semester to learn about climate change: Reflections from an undergraduate researcher

KBS undergraduate summer researcher Daimer Castro Vega  is a junior at the University of Puerto Rico. He wrote about his Research Experiences for Undergraduates project working with mentor and LTER researcher Kate Glanville, a PhD student in Dr. Phil Robertson's lab at MSU. Daimer was funded by an NSF REU site award to the Kellogg Biological Station. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you know something about Puerto Rico, you might have heard that there is a huge debt and that the students went on a strike on April 7, 2017 for more than two months with only three weeks

My amazing experience at KBS: Reflections from an undergraduate researcher

KBS undergraduate summer researcher Lauren Davis  is a junior at Alcorn State University.  She wrote about her Research Experiences for Undergraduates project working with mentor and LTER scientist Dr. Jen Lau at MSU. Lauren was funded by an NSF REU site award to the Kellogg Biological Station.~~~~~~~~~~ Prior to applying to the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) to work as an REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates), I did not have any research experience. I was thrilled when I found out that I had been given the opportunity to participate in the REU program.

Breaking down my summer: Reflections from an undergraduate researcher

Each summer the KBS LTER supports students to participate in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, funded by the NSF. Jon Hileman is a student at Eureka College in Illinois. He wrote about his REU project working with his mentor Dr. Maren Friesen at MSU.~~~~~~~~~~ Never did I ever think that this summer I would attend a meeting that consisted of talking about rhizobia and ice cream cake. Where did this happen? At Michigan State University in the Friesen lab in East Lansing! If you are reading this, you might already be a little