December 7, 2023
Michigan State University researchers have shown that relationships and social interactions between hyenas influence when they “mob” lions.
October 26, 2023
Integrative biologist Elise Zipkin and her team at Michigan State University have developed a framework that can help scientists understand trends in biodiversity by using data from well-characterized species to provide insights on data-deficient species. They’re using information from well-quantified animals to reveal insights about less common, harder-to-observe species. Now, they’re sharing their methods with the wider research and conservation community in the Journal of Animal Ecology.
October 3, 2023
During a recent review of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recovery plans for more than 200 endangered and threatened vertebrate species in the United States, Michigan State University researchers made an interesting discovery. They found that two-thirds of these species could benefit from a gene-boosting diversity strategy known as genetic rescue, yet only three of these plans to support species recovery currently use this approach. In a study recently published in the Journal of Heredity, MSU integrative biologist Sarah Fitzpatrick and postdoctoral researcher Cinnamon Mittan-Moreau found that more than two-thirds of the 222 species they evaluated would be good candidates for consideration of genetic rescue.
August 24, 2023
Natural selection is usually understood in the context of change. When organisms deviate from the norm, they may gain advantages that let their lineages outlast those of their less-adaptable relatives. But new research from Michigan State University suggests that natural selection also has the power to keep things the same. MSU plant biologist Jeff Conner and his team have published a new report in the journal New Phytologist that expands science’s understanding of natural selection in the face of another evolutionary mechanism called genetic constraint.
July 27, 2023
As biodiversity loss wreaks havoc on grasslands throughout the world, many have hoped that soil seed banks would act as a “biodiversity reservoir” and preserve species that are disappearing. However, in a recent study published in Nature Communications, Michigan State University plant biologist Lauren Sullivan and her team challenge that assumption. Previous studies have shown that fertilization can lead to biodiversity loss in the above ground community, but this is the first multi-site study to show a link to the seed bank community.
June 1, 2023
Saving the rainforest, biodiversity, and in the process, the planet, is often framed as a high-stakes race. Now that race has a timetable, a $10 million prize, and ACTNOW Amazonas, a high-powered women-led multidisciplinary team of Michigan State University experts collaborating with innovators, indigenous rainforest protectors, and a dedicated film crew, who together are semifinalists for the XPRIZE Rainforest—a global competition aiming to enhance the world’s understanding of the rainforest ecosystems to protect it.
May 17, 2023
Current conservation practices likely won’t do enough to save the black tern, a migratory bird species that nests in the northern U.S. and southern Canada, from disappearing.That’s according to new research from MSU and the National Audubon Society published in the journal Biological Conservation. But there’s also good news. The team’s report reveals new opportunities to enhance the outlook for these birds by strategically expanding conservation and land management practices. The approach can also be adapted to inform conservation practices for other species.
May 12, 2023
When it comes to securing key agency grant funds to support research projects, the quest to generate research data often favors those who already have enough data to prove their fundability. And that means grants to get grants can be a game changer. MSU's Ecology, Evolution and Behavior Program started a Seed Grant Initiative in 2020, and faculty members receiving them agree that these small investments make a big difference in leveraging more significant research funding.
May 4, 2023
MSU integrative biologist Elise Zipkin has been honored with the International Recognition of Professional Excellence Prize for her groundbreaking work transforming mountains of data into insights and tools to manage and protect some of the world’s most precious ecology. The prize honors young ecologists who have published uniquely independent, original and/or challenging research representing an important scientific breakthrough, and/or who must work under particularly difficult conditions.
April 26, 2023
Michigan State University integrative biologist Jason Gallant and colleagues are using nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation to understand the implications from a small African fish which evolved to have sperm with no tails but an electric-powered mating call. Greater insight into this interesting trait could ultimately shed light on human disease and shake up biology lessons on traditional gender roles.
April 26, 2023
Climate changes are conjuring a whirlwind ride that seems to present some creatures opportunities to thrive. Scientists scripting supercharged scenarios caution that the difference between seasonal coping and long-term adaption is vast – and tricky to predict. Michigan State University biologists are studying damselflies to understand how other species will respond to a warmer world. Their findings were recently published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
March 13, 2023
Scientists’ careers are defined by their contributions to peer reviewed literature. Yet, a recent Michigan State University study reveals that peer review disadvantages some scientists more than others, but solutions to rectify this disparity remain elusive. MSU researchers analyzed data from more than 300,000 biological science manuscripts to see if the authors’ demographics mattered when it came to deciding if research was worthy of publication. The findings were published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.
March 2, 2023
New research led by Michigan State University integrative biologist Alisha Shah is showing how vulnerable the threatened meltwater stonefly is to climate change. Shah is part of a research team that’s examining the biology of these stoneflies against the backdrop of climate change. Their findings were recently published in the journal Functional Ecology.
January 17, 2023
Michigan State University and the National Audubon Society are teaming up to help protect declining bird populations across North America. With $1.3 million from a collaborative National Science Foundation grant, the team—led by MSU integrative biologist Elise Zipkin—will develop statistical models fueled by four massive data sets to evaluate how climate change and land use are affecting hundreds of bird species.
January 12, 2023
When the U.S. government committed last January to conserving 30 percent of the United States’ natural land and water by the year 2030, the decision was embraced by the majority of Americans. Now, Michigan State University ecologists are part of a team that’s sharing data to help inform those choices throughout the United States and beyond. Their research identified North America’s climate change refugia, habitats that will be the most likely to support the persistence of the greatest amount of biodiversity in the face of a changing climate.
January 10, 2023
The W.K. Kellogg Biological Station Long-Term Ecological Research program at Michigan State University was awarded a renewal of their foundational grant, reaffirming the program’s future and status as one of the country’s premier research sites. Continuation funding for the program began on Dec. 1, 2022 and will run through November 2028. MSU animal ecologist Nick Haddad and microbial ecologist Sarah Evans led the grant proposal, “Ecological and social mechanisms of resilience in agroecosystems.” In it, they detail the program’s new focus on climate change and land use change.
January 4, 2023
An often-studied flowering plant evolved reproductive self-sufficiency, and in the process some parts of the flower are starting to disappear. Michigan State University scientists, led by plant biologist Jeffrey Conner, will use a $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant better understand this trait loss.
February 21, 2024Cracking the code to a healthier potato chip
February 16, 2024Spartans introduce a big new idea with the help of tiny plankton
February 15, 2024FRIB creates 5 new isotopes
February 9, 2024From Nobel Prize to Spartan pride: David MacMillan visits MSU