Welcome to the NatSci news page! Check back often to learn about the latest innovations, discoveries and accomplishments of our faculty, staff, students and alumni.

MSU aquatic ecologist lands grant to study phytoplankton traits
October 7, 2018

MSU aquatic ecologist Elena Litchman is leading a three-year, $993,000 project funded by the NSF Division of Environmental Biology to investigate and predict intraspecific trait variation in phytoplankton from four lakes in southwest Michigan.

Tropical frogs found to coexist with deadly fungus
October 3, 2018

Recent MSU-led research results published in the current issue of Ecological Applications, suggest that Panamanian frogs coexisting with deadly chytrid fungus underwent ecological and/or evolutionary changes that enabled them to persist, despite severe species losses. 

Hitching a ride: Shedding light on fog's role in microbial transport
September 24, 2018

Despite fog’s known role in providing water and nutrients to systems ranging from coastal forests to inland deserts, the biology of fog—particularly the microbial community that is transported and may make a home in fog—has remained a mystery.

Harnessing algae and fungi to create new biofuel system
September 23, 2018

MSU scientists have found a solution to enhance oil production and harvest using what many consider sea sludge. The new proof of concept, published in Biotechnology for Biofuels, is a biofuel production platform that uses two species of marine algae and soil fungi.

Getting to the root of plant stress response
September 19, 2018

MSU microbiologist Ashley Shade and plant biologist Sheng Yang He have been awarded a three-year, $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate how the microbiome interacts with, and may mediate, plant responses during environmental stress.

New discovery of a photobase so strong, it merits moniker of 'super'
September 17, 2018

A new discovery of a light-induced super photobase at MSU is  revealing some of photosynthesis’ desirable traits. An interdisciplinary team of scientists was able to document the ultrafast dynamics of the super photobase that is 10 million times stronger than anything previously discovered.

Soil holds the secret to mitigating climate change
September 17, 2018

Research led by MSU Foundation Professor Bruno Basso and published in Agriculture and Environmental Letters, is the first of its kind to provide critical insight to the importance of soil in managing risks associated with climate change.

Five NatSci students receive full scholarships to MSU
September 17, 2018

Five incoming Michigan State University students majoring in subjects in the College of Natural Science received scholarships to cover full tuition, room and board and a stipend for up to eight semesters of undergraduate study.

Blazes of light reveal how plants signal danger long distances
September 17, 2018

MSU was part of a multi-university study that revealed how plant communication systems respond to threats from herbivores. The results, featured in

show that once wounded, plants use calcium signals to warn distant tissues of future attacks.

New genetics tool helps answer evolutionary questions
September 13, 2018

New research from MSU has added a new tool to the modern genomic toolbox. The method, called “conStruct,” allows researchers to analyze complex patterns of genetic variation in large datasets with broad geographic sampling.