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.
July 21, 2021
MSU Distinguished Professor Kay Holekamp and her students have been observing hyenas as part of The Maasai Mara Hyena Project for over 30 years, following, tagging, sampling blood and feces, and amassing a rich dataset helping to answer questions previously thought impossible outside the lab. In a new study led by former postdoc Zachary Laubach, they found that less maternal care during the infant’s first year of life and less social connectedness once independent of the communal den are associated later in life with higher concentrations of stress hormones and less global DNA methylation. The exciting new study is published in Nature Communications.
July 13, 2021
Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite with a singular goal: to infect any warm-blooded animal until it is ingested by a wild or domestic cat. Using the strength of interdisciplinary collaboration, MSU scientists have conducted a first-of-its-kind study into the role of T. gondii in the wild, establishing its definitive presence and influence among free-living hyenas. Their results were recently published in Nature Communications.
May 3, 2021
Scientists have known about two of the most enormous and mysterious regions of the earth’s lower mantle, Large Low Shear Velocity Provinces (LLSVPs), for decades, but no one knows what they are made of or where they came from. MSU experimental geologist Susannah Dorfman and a talented team of international researchers pieced together a way to make an iron-rich form of the mineral bridgmanite—a rusting rock—that may finally explain the existence of LLSVPs. Their results are published in Nature Communications.
April 19, 2021
An expansive project led by MSU plant biologist Lars Brudvig is examining the benefits, and limits, of environmental restoration on developed land after humans are done with it. Although humans can heal some of that damage by working to restore the land to its natural state, questions remain about how far restoration can go in overcoming a land’s past.. Brudvig and his collaborators now have some answers that they’ve published April 19 online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
April 9, 2021
MSU researchers have helped catch particles called muons behaving in a way that’s not predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics — the best theory that scientists have for explaining the universe’s fundamental particles and forces.The results from this experiment, called the Muon g-2 experiment, confirm a discrepancy that has been gnawing at researchers for decades. The team published its landmark result in the journal Physical Review Letters on April 7.
April 6, 2021
Three stellar early-career scholars bringing multi-disciplinary scientific exploration, collaboration and community engagement have been selected as MSU Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. Cinnamon Mittan, Daniela Palmer and Olivia Smith will be the first cohort of the fellowship, created to increase the breadth and potential of research embracing ecology, evolution and behavior at MSU. They will begin their work in the 2021-2022 academic year.
April 5, 2021
MSU’s Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site, located at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, was founded in 1988 to employ and understand the ecology of Midwest cropping systems and agricultural landscapes. When KBS passed the 30-year mark in 2018, three former KBS researchers, Sarah Cusser, Jackson Helms and Christie Bahlai, decided the 30th anniversary was not only a significant milestone, but a good time to ask questions about LTER’s database. Thanks to their efforts, which were recently published in Ecology Letters, they now know that ecological investigations of at least nine years are needed to achieve significant, consistent results related to accelerated climate and land use change.
March 15, 2023How biofuel crops harness fungal defenders
March 13, 2023MSU study reveals inequity in journal peer review