Sept. 7, 2017

Sand, spanning miles of beaches, carpeting vast oceans and deserts, is a visual metaphor for limitless resources. Yet researchers in this week’s journal Science seize another metaphor –  sand in an hourglass, marking time running out.

Sand is the literal foundation of urban development across the globe, a key ingredient of concrete, asphalt, glass, and electronics. It is cheap and easily extracted. Scientists in the United States and Germany say that easy access has bred a careless understanding of the true global costs of sand mining and consumption.


Aug. 28, 2017

Things aren’t all black and white for giant pandas.

The beloved Chinese icons have basked in good press lately – their extinction risk status downgraded from “endangered” to “vulnerable,” their good fortunes have shown to rub off on their less charismatic forest neighbors that benefit from panda-centric conservation efforts.


Aug. 24, 2017

Thomas Connor is a PhD student studying with Jack Liu. He's doing field work in and around Wolong, China.

I pick up the story of my PhD from Nanchong, China, where I have traveled to take a brief break from lab work to have meetings and an interview with representatives from the China Science and Technology Exchange Center (CSTEC).


Invasive mussels and less nutrients from tributaries have altered the Lake Michigan ecosystem making it more conducive to the stocking of lake trout and steelhead than Chinook salmon, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey and Michigan State University study.


Ciara Hovis is working toward her PhD with Dr. Jack Liu studying the global soy trade using the telecoupling framework between the United States, Brazil and China.

As glamorous and thrilling as fieldwork might sound, no field season is complete without a few tales, typically funnier after the fact. Here’s my attempt to impart some humor and share lessons learned after the emotional trauma subsided.