MSUToday
Published: Sept. 28, 2017

NASA grant funds research on global change, land-use legacies in the Great Lakes Basin

Contact(s): Beth Brauer-Delaney Communications and Brand Strategy Beth.Brauer-Delaney@cabs.msu.edu, Val Osowski College of Natural Science office: (517) 432-4561 osowskiv@msu.edu

The impact of global change and land-use legacies on fresh water systems in the Great Lakes Basin is the focus of a three-year, $1.5 million National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, grant. Michigan State University hydrogeologist David Hyndman is a co-investigator on the grant.

The project will use remote sensing technology to analyze the effects of human activities on ecosystems. Specifically, the group will examine how water flow and nutrients influence the changing landscape of plant species, which, in turn, alter the ecology of the region.

For example, corn used to be widely spaced. Now, it is commonly irrigated and densely planted in fields.

Highly concentrated land use with extensive nutrient application alters ecosystems, namely what becomes of native species and how invasive species are introduced to the region, said Hyndman, professor and chair of the earth and environmental sciences department in the College of Natural Science.

“Over-fertilization is a major problem, and climate change has substantial effects on stream flow and fluxes of nutrients,” he said. “The goal is to create integrated systems models that will help researchers provide a sound basis for policy choices. Science-based policies can make for a much better environment.” 

The project is a collaborative effort among researchers who previously worked together on a NASA grant that concluded last year.

Other collaborators include:

  • MSU’s  Bruno Basso, Anthony Kendall and Sherry Martin
  • Laura Bourgeau-Chavez and Nancy H.F. French, Michigan Technology Research Institute
  • William Currie and Deborah Goldberg, University of Michigan
  • Kenneth Elgersma, University of Northern Iowa
  • Jason Martina, Texas A&M

 

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