A Peek at Life Under a Wheat Field: Reflections from an LTER Fellow

MSU graduate researcher, Allison Zahorec, is a PhD student in Dr. Doug Landis’s lab in the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University. Allison Zahorec holding a core of soil taken out of a wheat field at the LTER. Photo by Kurt Stepnitz. When one envisions a typical midwestern farm, ‘biodiversity’ is hardly the first thing that comes to mind. Compared to more natural landscapes, agricultural lands can seem like ecological dead zones. Yet even the most intensively managed corn monocultures are teeming with life belowground. A few teaspoons of soil can contain over a billion

The forest, animals, and my missing bottles: Reflections from an undergraduate researcher

KBS undergraduate summer researcher Aleah Dungee is majoring in Biology at Norfolk State University. She wrote about her Research Experience for Undergraduates experience working with Di Liang, an LTER graduate student in Phil Robertson’s lab. Aleah was funded by an NSF REU site award to the Kellogg Biological Station. ~~~~ This summer as a participant in the Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the Kellogg Biological Station, I researched the relative contributions of ammonia oxidizing archaea (AOA) and ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) to nitrification on different land use

A new approach to soil testing for Michigan farmers: from inputs to indicators of soil health

Each year the KBS LTER program awards two graduate students with summer research fellowships. Here Brendan O'Neill describes the research his summer fellowship supported. Brendan is a Ph.D. student in Tom Schmidt and Phil Robertson's labs. ~~~ My research at the Kellogg Biological Station Long-term Ecological Research (KBS LTER) site has focused on how increasing crop diversity (for example, including cover crops) can enhance soil ecosystem functions while sustaining crop production. Examples of soil ecosystem functions include retaining carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) within the field and man

Soil is life – let’s keep it healthy! Reflections from an undergrad researcher

Each summer the KBS LTER supports students to participate in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, funded by the National Science Foundation. This is part of a larger undergraduate research program at KBS. Alessandra Zuniga, a senior at New Mexico State University, writes about her REU experience working with KBS LTER scientists Christine Sprunger and Brendan O'Neill. Coming from the hot arid deserts of the southwest, I never expected to find myself in the middle of lush green Michigan. I was born and raised in the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico and had the privilege to