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MSU Today highlights KBS research on biofuel crops' water consumption PDF Print E-mail
KBS Research News
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 18:30

Converting large tracts of the Midwest’s marginal farming land to perennial biofuel crops carries with it some key unknowns, including how it could affect the balance of water between rainfall, evaporation and movement of soil water to groundwater.

A recent study from the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and published in Environmental Research Letters looks at how efficiently “second generation” biofuel crops – perennial, non-food crops such as switchgrass or native grasses – use rainwater and how these crops affect overall water balance.

Read the MSU Today article here.

MSU professor Gary Mittelbach honored as fellow of the Ecological Society of America PDF Print E-mail
KBS Research News
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 16:09

Mittelbach_2012_PhotoGary G. Mittelbach, Michigan State University professor of integrative biology, has been named a 2015 fellow of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) . Mittelbach, who is located at MSU’s W.K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS), is one of 24 fellows of the society who are being recognized this year for distinguished contributions to ecology. The ESA works to promote ecological science by improving communication among ecologists, raising public awareness and increasing the resources available for ecological research.

“As a graduate student, I joined the Ecological Society of America back in the late 1970s – it was my first professional society,” said Mittelbach, who will be recognized at the ESA annual meeting in Baltimore in August.  “To be recognized now as an ESA Fellow is a terrific honor and a milestone in a career I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy here at MSU.”

On a local scale, Mittelbach and his students study fish and other aquatic organisms in Michigan lakes and ponds.  At broad geographical scales, he works collaboratively with a group of ecologists, evolutionary biologists and paleontologists to address such fundamental question as why the diversity of life is so much greater in the tropics as compared to the temperate zone. Mittelbach is the author of the textbook, Community Ecology , published in 2012 by Sinauer Associates.

“I have been following Gary’s research for almost 35 years, since we were both grad students, and I know that his work has earned him global recognition as a leader in the field of community ecology,” said Thomas Getty, professor and chair of the MSU Department of Integrative Biology. “It is amazing what Gary has achieved on the global stage, based on his work at a little field station near Hickory Corners, Mich. Congratulations to Gary!”

“Gary Mittelbach has been a leading figure in the field of community ecology for nearly 30 years,” added KBS colleague Doug Schemske, professor of plant biology. “His contributions to research and teaching have been instrumental in building the status of MSU as one of the leading institutions in the world for the study of ecological processes. He is richly deserving of recognition as ESA fellow.”

Sarah Fitzpatrick co-recipient of Outstanding Student Presentation award PDF Print E-mail
KBS Research News
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 13:27

KBS Research Associate Sarah Fitzpatrick has been named a co-recipient of the W.D. Hamilton Award by the Society for the Study of Evolution for her presentation titled “Gene flow from an adaptively divergent source causes genetic rescue, not outbreeding depression, in two wild populations of Trinidadian guppies”.

The W.D. Hamilton Award for Outstanding Student Presentation is awarded to current graduate students or those who earned their graduate degree within the last twelve months. This award is given to a student who has presented an outstanding talk at the annual meeting. Award winning presentations are judged on research creativity, importance of the discoveries, clear and succinct communication of ideas, and placement of research into the bigger picture.

Along with the award recognition Fitzpatrick received $1,000 and a one-year membership to the Society for the Study of Evolution.


Generosity of local farmer creates national impact PDF Print E-mail
KBS News
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 18:28
Harold and Edythe Marshall’s gift of their 300-acre farm to Michigan State University has been a major boon to understanding the ecology of new biofuel crops, producing research results with national impact by scientists at MSU’s Kellogg Biological Station. Read more about thier generous gift and it's impact in MSUToday.
KBS expertise on proposed dams within Amazon river basin PDF Print E-mail
KBS Research News
Tuesday, 09 June 2015 15:23

Two KBS affiliates, MSU/KBS Professor Stephen K. Hamilton and recent KBS PhD student Jorge Celi both weighed in on proposed headwater dams and possible impacts within the Amazon River basin. "Massive dam proliferation would dismember whole river systems and isolate biological populations with damaging and lasting impacts to the levels of diversity," Celi stated. Dr. Hamilton, who studies the movement of water through landscapes stated that “sediment retention and altered flow regime could also cause destabilization of river banks and levees that local people depend on for living and farming sites.”

To read the full article please visit:


KBS graduate student Elizabeth Schultheis awarded the Tracy Hammer Graduate Student Award PDF Print E-mail
KBS News
Monday, 04 May 2015 15:52

Kellogg Biological Station graduate student Elizabeth Schultheis, a Ph.D. candidate in MSU’s Department of Plant Biology, was awarded the Tracy Hammer Graduate Student Award on April 24 at MSU’s College of Natural Science Alumni Association annual award program.

With her combined research skills and strong interest in promoting STEM education, Elizabeth Schultheis is well on her way to becoming an exceptionally creative ecologist. Her dissertation research takes an integrative approach to rigorously test the oft-cited Enemy Release Hypothesis—one of the leading hypotheses explaining the success of invasive species. In addition to field experiments including more than 50 plant species, she has conducted a meta-analysis of the published literature to test her ideas across a wider range of environments and species.

Schultheis possesses a rare knack for describing complex concepts to young students in fun and engaging ways; she has published some of these techniques in education journals. As a leader in MSU’s Kellogg Biological Station outreach to K-12 classrooms, she has overseen the expansion of Data Nuggets—short datasets that provide students experience working with and graphing quantitative datasets. Her work with this program has resulted in increasing national press about these resources.

This award stipend will help make Schultheis’ research even more impressive by providing the funds necessary for her to install durable enemy exclosures that will allow her to test the robustness of her findings at the community level.

The Tracy A. Hammer Graduate Student Award for Professional Development is presented to an outstanding graduate student in support of their professional development. Nominees must be pursuing a degree in the College of Natural Science

The award was renamed in 1996 to memorialize 1995 co-recipient Tracy Anne Hammer. A native of New York, Hammer was the first dual degree candidate to pursue a doctoral degree in animal genetics through the Department of Microbiology and Veterinary Medicine. Her research centered on canine dilated cardiomyopathy. Hammer died in a plane crash shortly before graduation and her degree was awarded posthumously.

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