Human+Nature Blog

July 5, 2016

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

Sweat streams down my face as I climb the steep slope. My guide and I are at around 2,000 meters elevation, and it usually stays quite cool even in these summer months, but the sun is full blast today and the hike is arduous. The slope must be at least 60 degrees, and all four limbs are needed to make progress up the mountain, with our hands grasping at vines or saplings for traction. Thorns and nettles scratch and sting, and our footing often gives way on the slick ground.

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July 5, 2016

Anna Herzberger is an MSU Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability doctoral student doing research in the Heilongjiang Province in northeastern China. She hails from the farmlands of Virginia, Ill.

So if you remember from previous blogs, my research project is attempting to find differences is in the soil-microbial community between corn, rice (grasses) and soy (a legume). Global soybean trade, specifically soybeans from Brazil and the USA, are being imported by China; these imports are cheaper than domestically produced soybeans, thus driving out China’s domestic soybean production. Areas that were originally planted with soy are being converted to rice and corn, as they are more profitable crops. In order to identify these changes, our research team is traveling around Heilongjiang, the far northeastern province, surveying farmers and sampling their soil.

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June 14, 2016

Anna Herzberger is an MSU Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability doctoral student doing research in the Heilongjiang Province in northeastern China. She hails from the farmlands of Virginia, Ill.

It’s May.  I am sitting in my studio apartment, looking at old take-out Chinese boxes with disgust and attempting to pack for my field season in China.  In only one bag. How many pairs of socks should I pack? How much instant coffee does a summer of data collection in Asia require? Can I really carry 50 pounds, everyday, on my back? 

My phone rings…

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Joe Nohner is a CSIS PhD student who's studying largemouth bass, specifically how habitat helps baby largemouth survive and grow, and the socioeconomic factors that influence landowners’ habitat management choices. He's also a passionate fisherman who aims to understand the layers and layers of complexity to solve ecosystem problems. This is an excerpt from Joe's blog, Fishing for Habitat.

Nov. 2, 2015

“I have no idea what this thing is, some sort of a spiny-headed worm or something,” called out Michelle, a technician in the lab. Transfixed by the insidious creature, she zoomed in with the microscope to take a

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Joe Nohner is a CSIS PhD student who's studying largemouth bass, specifically how habitat helps baby largemouth survive and grow, and the socioeconomic factors that influence landowners’ habitat management choices. He's also a passionate fisherman who aims to understand the layers and layers of complexity to solve ecosystem problems. This is an excerpt from Joe's blog, Fishing for Habitat.

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Sept. 8, 2015

Thomas Connor is a first-year PhD student studying with Jack Liu. He's spending his summer doing field work in and around Wolong, China. 

I returned from my first trip to China. Happily I was able to recover enough to get back into the field, but alas only once. We hiked to the border of Wolong Nature Reserve and the reserve to the north, Caopo. This area had excellent panda habitat and we found four different fecal samples. From a conservation perspective this was nice to see, as it is clear that pandas can move freely between these two reserves. In the future I hope to use genetic data from fecal sampling to evaluate connectivity between Wolong and neighboring reserves and unprotected across a larger area.

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Sept. 1, 2015

James Roche is a member of the Hal and Jean Glassen Scholars Program working with the Michigan Sea Grant Extension Program Office.  

The Cold War is alive and well here in the Great Lakes, but instead of fighting communists we are fightingZebra mussels.USDA photo by Bob Nichols. mollusks! As a result of one of the few successful invasions of U.S. soil by native Soviets we find the zebra mussel. Native to the Black Sea and Caspian Sea the zebra mussel is an extremely troublesome invasive species that causes massive economic and ecological damage to the Great Lakes every year.

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Aug. 25, 2015

James Roche is a member of the Hal and Jean Glassen Scholars Program working with the Michigan Sea Grant Extension Program Office.  

Some would argue that the ultimate goal for the human condition is understanding. If we could truly understand how the world works and interacts, maybe then we could find the answers to the biggest issues we face.

During my time with Michigan Sea Grant Extension here at MSU I have tried to do just using the telecoupling framework developed here at MSU by Jianguo "Jack" Liu. Telecoupling seeks to examine the environmental and socioeconomic systems that occur in local areas and how our global interaction over long distances must be understood in order to develop a more sustainable world. In my first attempt to apply telecoupling to the Great Lakes, I turn to the mainstay of any great breakfast, maple syrup.

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Aug. 12, 2015

Anna Herzberger is an MSU Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability doctoral student studying Chinese at Peking University the summer of 2015. She hails from the farmlands of Virginia, Ilinois.

After being in China long enough to maneuver public transportation and understand a few basic phrases in Chinese, I was ready to head out and see the sights.

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Aug. 4, 2015

Thomas Connor is a first-year PhD student studying with Jack Liu. He's spending his summer doing field work in and around Wolong, China. 

I have now been in China for almost two months, and realized I have not written any updates for quite some time. Perhaps this is because they would be too depressing! I unfortunately injured my knee a few weeks ago crashing a moped which brought my fieldwork to a halt, and when I tried to salvage the situation by working some in a lab I learned that I needed a finalized agreement before I could continue studying there. It was for the best anyway as even small amounts of walking in a day caused pain and soreness.

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