Seeking a more resilient agriculture: the next chapter for the KBS LTER program

Imagine for a moment a Midwestern agricultural landscape in late August that has not seen rain in weeks. Some corn fields remain green, showing no sign of a moisture deficit while other fields have curled leaves, plants starting to yellow. Belowground, microbial communities between the fields are acting differently, too, some biding their time until a pulse of rain puts them in motion while others continue their work. Under the same climate and soils, why is one field more resilient to the stress of drought? What about that field helps it to remain productive? In the midst of global

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

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

Researchers conduct novel wheat microbiome analysis under four management strageties.

This is an original press release from American Phytopathological Society- Nov 27th, 2017 St. Paul, Minn. (November 2017)--Different crop management strategies can produce various and noticeable effects on a crop and its yield. But what are the effects at the microbial level...not just in the roots but the entire plant? Molecular biologists Kristi Gdanetz and Frances Trail of Michigan State University sought to answer that question, developing a descriptive analysis of the wheat microbiome under four common types of management strategies: conventional, no-till, organic, and reduced

A local bestiary – the bugs & slugs of KBS: Reflections from an undergraduate researcher

KBS undergraduate summer researcher Elizabeth Postema is a senior at Denison University. She wrote about her Research Experiences for Undergraduates project working with mentor and LTER researcher Dr. Jen Lau, in her lab at MSU. Postema was funded by an NSF REU site award to the Kellogg Biological Station. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ The best part about working at a field station is getting to, very literally, connect with nature. As a participant in an REU (which stands for “Research Experiences for Undergraduates”) program at the Kellogg Biological Station, I spent most of my

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

Before and after: Reflections from an undergraduate researcher

KBS undergraduate summer researcher Harry Ervin is a sophomore at Calvin College. He wrote about his Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) project working with mentor Tayler Chicoine, a PhD student in Dr. Sarah Evans Lab at MSU. Harry was funded by an NSF REU site award to the Kellogg Biological Station. ~~~~~~~~~~ When I first arrived at the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS), I didn’t know what to expect. I had never heard of KBS before applying, could not have told you REU stands for Research Experiences for Undergraduates, and had no clear path for my

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

Immersed in the nature of research: 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. This is part of a larger undergraduate research program at KBS. Rachel Geiger is a student at Western Washington University. She wrote about her REU project working with mentor Joe Lee-Cullin, a PhD student in Dr. Jay Zarnetske's Lab at MSU. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ This summer I set out with a goal to discover what it means to conduct ecological research. Throughout my undergraduate career I have always