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News

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.

Mariah Meek collecting brook trout for assessment, a species threatened by climate change.
December 6, 2022
As nature reels toward a hotter, drier, harsher future, new conservation tools – seed banks and frozen zoos, gene editing and assisted gene flow – hold promise to help struggling animal and plant populations. A group of biologists, including MSU researchers,make a case that innovations in understanding local adaptation now can be powerful tools to create second chances when habitats are challenged by changing climates.
Mauna Loa is a volcano located on the Big Island of Hawaii and is the largest volcano on the planet. The volcano, which has been dormant since 1984, began erupting on Nov. 27, 2022.
December 6, 2022
Jeffrey Freymueller, is a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the MSU College of Natural Science. Freymueller is an Endowed Chair for Geology of the Solid Earth. He is an internationally recognized expert in geodesy, or the study of Earth’s size and shape. In this Ask the Expert article, he discusses the current Mauna Loa eruption and how it relates to his research at MSU.
The still active Yellowstone supervolcano, located in Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming, formed some 640,000 years ago. Its caldera –a large cauldron-like depression that forms when a volcano erupts and collapses–pictured here, measures 30 miles x 45 miles wide.
December 1, 2022
When Ross Maguire was a postdoctoral researcher at Michigan State University, he wanted to study the volume and distribution of molten magma underneath the Yellowstone volcano. Using a method called seismic tomography, he was able to create images showing where the magma was located, but they were not crystal clear. Using a method known as waveform tomography developed by the late MSU researcher Min Chen, Maguire et. al. were able to see that twice that amount of magma exists within Yellowstone’s magmatic system.
A computer simulation of plasma inside a device called a tokamak, one of the leading technologies in development for fusion energy.
November 18, 2022
MSU's Andrew Christlieb is leading a massive U.S. Department of Energy project to help deliver on the not-yet-realized promise of nuclear fusion. That promise? To create an unmatched source of affordable and sustainable energy. Christlieb is now the director of a Mathematical Multifaceted Integrated Capability Center, or MMICC, supported by $15 million in funding from the DOE. He is joined by researchers at eight other universities and national labs across the country to develop new mathematical and computational tools to better model the physics needed to understand, control and sustain fusion.
Experts and a unique research site at MSU are showing how the history of land being restored shapes the future and success of conservation efforts.
November 14, 2022
There's a popular saying that people who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. It turns out that there's another reason not to ignore history according to new research from Michigan State University published in the journal Ecology. Experts and a unique research site at MSU are showing how the history of land being restored shapes the future and success of conservation efforts. With support from the National Science Foundation, this new study focuses on one of those factors — when a plot is restored — through the lens of biodiversity.
Researchers from MSU and Ecuador have confirmed that many harlequin frogs once believed to be extinct are, in fact, persisting.
November 7, 2022
If there’s news about amphibians these days, odds are it’s not going to be good. A pathogenic fungus has been decimating populations around the world for about forty years and counting, pushing many species to extinction. That’s why researchers have been stunned to see one genus — Atelopus or harlequin frogs — defying the odds. Now, new research from ecologists at Michigan State University and collaborators in Ecuador is setting the stage for an unprecedented underdog story — or, if you will, an underfrog story.
As part of the IceCube Collaboration, Michigan State researchers are using neutrinos to probe the inner depths of an active galaxy. Credit: NASA/ESA/A. van der Hoeven
November 3, 2022
For just the second time in human history, researchers have identified a source of high-energy neutrinos — ghostly subatomic particles produced in some of the universe’s most extreme environments. The discovery was made by an international collaboration led by Michigan State University and Technical University of Munich researchers at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica. The team announced its findings on Nov. 3 in an online webinar and will publish its study Nov. 4 in the journal
Deepak Bhandari, a postdoc in the Brandizzi lab, uses microscopes to study Arabidopsis thaliana for his research under this grant.
October 31, 2022
Michigan State University plant biologist Federica Brandizzi and her team are collaborators with Stanford University's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory on a  a three-year, $507,264 grant from Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science’s Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program to build new microscopes that allow scientists to look into plant cells like never before. The grant aims to create optical and X-ray multimodal-hybrid microscope systems for live imaging of plant stress responses and microbial interactions.
A Spartan-led collaboration, headed by MSU chemist Kenneth Merz, is modernizing software and computational methods for next-gen hardware to help accelerate drug discovery, materials development and more. The team is working to ensure a powerful software tool known as Amber is optimized for the high-performance computers of today and tomorrow.
October 27, 2022
A Spartan-led collaboration, headed by MSU chemist Kenneth Merz, is modernizing software and computational methods for next-gen hardware to help accelerate drug discovery, materials development and more. The team is working to ensure a powerful software tool known as Amber is optimized for the high-performance computers of today and tomorrow.
MSU Associate Professor Kevin Liu (left) and MSU Assistant Professor Elizabeth Heath-Heckman (right) stand in the Heath-Heckman Symbiosis Lab. Credit: Derrick L. Turner
October 20, 2022
Michigan State University and the University of California, Merced, are working to get a better handle on the huge problem of climate change with the help of some very small organisms. With $12.5 million from the National Science Foundation, MSU researchers Elizabeth Heath-Heckman and Kevin Liu are teaming up with UC Merced’s Michele Nishiguchi to launch an institute that focuses on a new angle in climate change.

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