MSU Research Celebrates World Environment Day
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has designated Friday, June 5, 2015, as World Environment Day, with the theme “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.” Every day, researchers from Michigan State University are pursuing the science that will help safeguard the future of the planet – studying how water, air, animals, and humans interact and impact their environment.
Here are some of their stories…
A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window. It is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on buildings, cell phones and any other device that has a clear surface. And, according to Richard Lunt of MSU’s College of Engineering, the key word is “transparent.”
Michigan State University researchers nearly doubled corn production on state test farms using a process that inserts soil water-saving membranes below plant root zones. The subsurface water retention technology (SWRT) process developed by Alvin Smucker, MSU professor of soil biophysics and an AgBioResearch scientist, uses contoured, engineered films, strategically placed at various depths below a plant’s root zone to retain soil water. The SWRT membrane spacing also permits internal drainage during excess rainfall and provides space for root growth.
Researchers at Michigan State University and in China add more fuel to the already hot debate about whether electric vehicles are more environmentally friendly than conventional vehicles by uncovering two hidden benefits. They show that the cool factor is real – in that electric vehicles emit significantly less heat. That difference could mitigate the urban heat island effect, the phenomenon that helps turn big cities like Beijing into pressure cookers in warm months.
In 2004, Michigan State University joined forces with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) to establish the MSU Quantitative Fisheries Center (QFC) to provide research and training support to fisheries management agencies around the Great Lakes basin.
“It’s exciting to see the flexibility pandas have, or at least see that they are choosing areas I didn’t think could support them,” Vanessa Hull, a postdoctoral research associate at MSU’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability says. “It gives you hope. They’ve survived throughout many challenges over so many millions of years; it would be sad to think humans came along and threw it all away. This also suggests we should stay on board and try to make things better for them.”
With more than 100 faculty in 57 countries around the world, MSU water researchers study topics from agriculture to zoology. Between 2000 and 2014, MSU water researchers generated $186 million in external grants — money invested in projects such as antibiotics in water and microbial resistance, as well as fish community and population dynamics. More…