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September 2017

Scientists Shaping Policy: The roles of scientists in environmental policy making
Date: Monday, September 25, 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Location: 273 Giltner Hall
Speaker: Dr. Robby Richardson Community Sustainability Dr. Mark Axelrod Fisheries and Wildlife Dr. Patricia Norris Community Sustainability Dee Jordan, PhD student Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences
Host: ESPP
Contact: Karessa Weir
Series: ESPP Research Colloquia
Note: Refreshments will be served.

Sustainable Ag Field Day
Date: Tuesday, September 26, 8:30 a.m.
Location: Kellogg Biological Station
Host: Long-term Ecological Research Program
Note: Join us for the day to learn about sustainable agriculture at the Kellogg Biological Station’s Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) site, where scientists have been researching for decades ways to grow the food we need while enhancing and protecting our state’s natural resources. During a field tour of the LTER site, participants will learn from scientists about cutting edge research in sustainable agriculture, participate in hands-on science activities designed for youth, and later brainstorm with colleagues ideas for weaving sustainable ag research into youth programming. Registration is required by Sept. 17. There is no cost for attending this event and lunch is provided. Lodging is available on the evening of Monday, Sept. 25 at KBS.

Forests are in the Paris Climate Agreement. Now What?
Date: Tuesday, September 26, 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Location: 225 Natural Resources Building
Speaker: Dave Skole from the MSU Department of Forestry
Host: Department of Forestry
Contact: Jeana-Dee Allen
Series: Hanover Forest Science Seminar Series
Note: With the landmark international agreements coming from COP21, forests and the forestry and agriculture sectors are playing and important role in reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+). International climate action is not solely about fossil fuels any more, and forest-related emissions mitigation will be significant actions in many developing countries around the world. Specific policies and measures for REDD+ will require technical means for forest measurement and low-carbon forest management. This presentation will discuss technical issues related to implementation of REDD+ strategies and programs, and the necessary capacity building that needs to be done if these strategies are to be successful. The presentation draws on experience with three USAID projects in Malawi, India, and Indonesia and will emphasize the importance of approaches that engage livelihoods in low income forest dependent communities, who will be on the front line of mitigation and adaptation. It will also discuss some important technical issues of landscape-scale carbon management, particularly in sparse woodland ecosystems and systems of trees outside of forest (TOF) on agricultural land.

Prospective Studies of Environment and Health
Date: Thursday, September 28, 3 p.m.
Location: C102 East Fee Hall
Speaker: Dr. Dale P. Sandler, Chief, Epidemiology Branch National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Research Triangle Park, NC
Host: Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Note: Large prospective cohort studies typically focus on dietary and lifestyle factors in relation to future health outcomes. Using such studies to address questions related to the impact of environmental exposures poses some unique challenges. But, if done right, prospective studies can overcome many of the biases associated with retrospective studies of exposures that may have changed as a result of a disease diagnosis. Using as examples three distinct cohorts developed at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, this presentation will illustrate the challenges and opportunities of prospective studies. The presentation will introduce two well-established cohort studies, The Agricultural Health Study and The Sister Study, and describe opportunities for collaborative research building on these cohorts. The presentation will focus primarily on the development of The GuLF STUDY, a prospective study designed to evaluate potential long term health effects associated with the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Connecting Research Outcomes to the Policy Debate
Date: Friday, September 29, 9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Location: 201 International Center
Speaker: IPPSR director Matt Grossmann, an MSU faculty research panel, and a member of the Michigan legislature.
Host: Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and University Outreach and Engagement
Note: Want to help inform today's policy debates? Wonder how you can share your research outcomes with people who are at the forefront of policy discussions? Policy makers face problems every day without having contextual information or other facts to effectively address them. Often, they must search beyond anecdotal constituent conversations for research-based information to begin building effective, problem-solving strategies. This session is for MSU faculty who are engaged in policy-relevant research and are looking for ways to communicate their work to decision makers in state capitols.

A Tale of Two Porosities: Exploring Why Contaminant Transport Doesn't Always Behave the Way It Should
Date: Friday, September 29, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Location: 204 Natural Science
Speaker: Kamini Singha, Geology & Geological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
Host: Department of Earth and Environmental Science
Series: EES Distinguished Speaker Series

A Historical Look at Black Radical Geography Through Fannie Lou Hamer's Freedom Farm
Date: Friday, September 29, 2 p.m.
Location: 301 Snyder Hall
Speaker: Dr. Priscilla McCutcheon, Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville
Host: The Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences

October 2017

Restoration of longleaf pin savannas in the southeastern United States
Date: Tuesday, October 3, 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Location: 225 Natural Resources Building
Speaker: Lars Brudvig, MSU Department of Plant Biology
Host: Department of Forestry
Contact: Jeana-Dee Allen
Series: Hanover Forest Science Seminar Series
Note: Longleaf pine savannas are a fire-maintained ecosystem that form part of the southeast United States Coastal Plain biodiversity hotspot. With only 3% of historical area intact, there is substantial interest in conducting restoration within this ecosystem. I will discuss research conducted by my group to inform these restoration efforts, focusing on understory plant communities within sites with histories of agricultural land use and fire suppression.

Brews and Views - The Porcisapien: Humanization of Livestock
Date: Friday, October 6, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Location: Atrium, Bio Engineering Facility, 775 Woodlot Drive
Speaker: Erik M. Shapiro, Associate Chair of Research, Associate Professor, Department of Radiology; Paul Thompson, Professor, Department of Philosophy, W.K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics
Host: Christopher H. Contag, PhD, Hannah Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics; Chair, Biomedical Engineering; Director, Institute for Quantitative Health Science & Engineering
Series: Brews and Views
Note: Imagine you can grow a new heart, or other organ, from your own cells in a pig. If your heart was failing, you could grow a new, perfectly matched heart and have it available when you need it. In order for this to happen we need to humanize livestock. How human should we make livestock? How close to a human is a humanized pig and when would it deserve human rights? While it might address the shortage of human organs, is it fair for the pig to be just a bioreactor for spare parts? What human organs should we produce in pigs: heart, liver, pancreas, skin and muscle? What about a human brain in a pig? Are we going too far, have we already gone too far? Come join us for thoughts at the bleeding edge of humanizing livestock.

Size-energy rules in closed forests
Date: Tuesday, October 10, 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Location: 225 Natural Resources Building
Speaker: John Grady
Host: Department of Forestry
Contact: Jeana-Dee Allen
Series: Hanover Forest Science Seminar
Note: From seedlings to canopy dominants, trees vary many orders of magnitude in size within a forest. While the central role of body size in governing energetic and biological rates is well documented, how size influences energy flux at community levels is still debated. One prominent idea, known as energy equivalence, posits that collective production rates for a size class is independent of body size; however this conflicts with light-limitation effects imposed by larger trees in closed forests. I test theoretical claims using demographic and solar data from an old growth neotropical rainforest and a secondary eastern deciduous forest. My findings suggest basic rules governing the size structure and production rates of closed forests.

Cities and How They are Fueling America's Destiny: Smart Growth and a Sustainable Future, and American Latino and the Nation's Future
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 5 p.m.
Location: Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
Speaker: Henry Cisneros, former HUD Secretary and co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Immigration Task Force
Host: School of Planning, Design and Construction, MSU Julian Samora Research Institute, Chicano Studies Program, ESPP and the University Outreach and Engagement
Series: SPDC Special Guest Lecture
Note: This event is free and open to the public

Biogeochemical controls on microbial activities in anoxic environments
Date: Friday, October 13, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Location: 204 Natural Science
Speaker: Matthew Kirk, Assistant Professor, Kansas State Department of Geology
Host: Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Series: EES Distinguished Speaker Series

Expanding frontiers in forest measurements and modeling
Date: Tuesday, October 17, 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Location: 225 Natural Resources Building
Speaker: Dave MacFarlane, Department of Forestry
Host: Department of Forestry
Contact: Jeana-Dee Allen
Series: Hanover Forest Science Seminar
Note: Global trends show continued human population growth, especially in cities, fragmentation of forests, and climate change, meaning that forestry is playing out in more complex landscapes and volatile environments than ever before. As a result, forest measurement and modeling science has had to evolve to meet changes in society’s views and valuations of trees and forests and concomitant changes forestry research and policy-making. Here, I describe a series of research endeavors that have contributed to expanding frontiers in forest measurements and modeling. The major focus of this research is improving the technological capacity to measure tree and forest attributes at local, regional and national scales, with a special emphasis on linking timber and carbon stock estimation processes, using improved models of trees. The modeling framework considers forests as part of a continuum of ‘treed space’ from areas with isolated trees, to areas with enough trees to be recognized as forests. An important underlying theme in this research is the need to study trees, parts of trees, and forests of diverse types to obtain a comprehensive picture of the natural range of variation in tree and forest attributes. I emphasize the need for universal ‘whole-tree’ models, which capture plasticity in form and function, and demonstrate that understanding the complexity of the fractal-like branching architecture of trees is fundamental to better models of the stem and all other parts of the tree. New research to obtain diverse tree data non-destructively is also discussed.

Panel & Conversation on Religion, Philosophy, Theology & the Anthropocene @ Michigan State
Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. keynotes; 3:45 p.m. - 5 p.m. commentary & conversation
Location: MSU Union, Lake Superior Room
Speaker: Sherry Copenance, Knowledge Holder/Elder, University of Manitoba; Audra Mitchell, CIGI Chair and Associate Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University; Julie Libarkin, Professor of Earth and Environmental Studies and ESPP, MSU
Host: Kyle Whyte, Timmick Chair in the Humanities at MSU
Series: Humanities without Walls
Note: Refreshments served for attendees. Livestream available for remote participation.Advance registration is required for attendance or livestream. Email kwhyte@msu.edu (Kyle Whyte) with email subject “MSU Anthropocene Workshop,” provide your name and the names of anyone coming with you and indicate whether your attendance is in person or via livestream. Livestream details will be emailed back to registrants. The event is open to all.

Lansat time series predict wood growth from tree-rings using departures in mean phenology
Date: Tuesday, October 24, 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Location: 225 Natural Resources Building
Speaker: Jane Foster, University of Vermont
Host: Department of Forestry
Contact: Jeana-Dee Allen
Series: Hanover Forest Science Seminar Series
Note: The terrestrial carbon cycle is perturbed when disturbances remove leaves from the forest canopy. Yet the significance of episodic defoliation to models that predict forest growth remains unknown. In this talk, I will describe research in which we use new cloud computing tools to quantify the effect of canopy defoliation on forest growth. Our approach uses dense Landsat time-series to quantify departures in mean phenology that in turn predict changes in leaf biomass. We reconstruct a foliar biomass index (FBMI) from 1984-2016, and predict plot-level wood growth over 28 years on 156 tree-ring monitoring plots in Minnesota, USA. Our analysis accesses the entire Landsat archive using Google Earth Engine, which allows this pixel-level approach to be applied at any location; a feature we demonstrate with published wood-growth data from distant flux tower sites. We are finding that Landsat FBMI is a remarkably strong predictor of aggregate wood-growth, explaining up to 80% of annual growth variation for some deciduous plots. Insights emerging from these models can clear up sources of persistent uncertainty and open a new frontier for models of forest productivity.

The Evolution of Wastewater Treatment in Norway
Date: Thursday, October 26, 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Location: 3540 Engineering Building
Speaker: Harsha Ratnaweera, Professor of Water and Wastewater Technology, Head of Research, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Host: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Contact: Dr. Vlad Tarabara
Note: Norway, with its 5 million population and 6 million P.E. wastewater treatment capacity, has somewhat peculiar practices: Over 70% of wastewater goes through a coagulation stage; some plants have treatment requirements of over 97% on phosphates; no private ownership; many plants are constricted underground/rocks; over 80% of sludge is used in agriculture etc. Norwegian plants also show that removing over 80% organic matter without biological treatment is possible. Norwegian practices thereby stand out from both continental European and Scandinavian practices. Welcome to a quick journey through the evolution of Norwegian wastewater treatment.

ESPP Research Symposium - Urban Environment: Solutions for a Sustainable Future
Date: Friday, October 27, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Location: Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
Speaker: TBA
Host: ESPP
Contact: Karessa Weir

November 2017

Poking holes in hypotheses: A critical reappraisal of microbial dolomitization
Date: Friday, November 10, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Location: 204 Natural Sciences
Host: Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Series: EES Distinguished Speaker Series

Linking river valley flood regimes to floodplain forest composition and functional traits: contrasting flood dynamics and forest patterns in Michigan and Maryland
Date: Tuesday, November 28, 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Location: 225 Natural Resources Building
Speaker: Matt Baker, University of Maryland
Host: Department of Forestry
Contact: Jeana-Dee Allen
Series: Hanover Forest Science Seminar Series
Note: Floodplain forests are known for their biodiversity and strong environmental gradients, yet most of our understanding of biotic response to such gradients comes from relatively simple characterizations of flood dynamics across space, often inferred from valley cross sections. We applied emerging geospatial modeling tools to characterize valley hydrologic dynamics in contrasting regional contexts and compare how flooding interacts with functional traits to drive patterns of biodiversity in floodplain ecosystems. We show that flood dynamics differ strongly with region and local physiography, altering the relative importance of specific traits and patterns of floodplain forest composition on otherwise similar landforms.

December 2017

Gina McCarthy World View Lecture
Date: Monday, December 4, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Cobb Great Hall, Wharton Center
Speaker: Gina McCarthy, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama
Host: MSU Office of the President
Note: Appointed by President Obama in 2009 as assistant administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Air and Radiation, and subsequently appointed head of the EPA in 2013, throughout her 30-year career Gina McCarthy has been a leading voice for common-sense strategies to protect public health and the environment. During her EPA tenure, she became the face of President Barack Obama’s global warming and climate change initiatives. She is a staunch advocate for reducing greenhouse gas pollution through cleaner energy sources and tougher clean-air regulations. As a proponent of the Clean Water Act, she will be speaking during MSU’s year-long focus on water.

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