Our planet plus a new one
As the world navigates the “hottest year on record,” Spartan researchers have continued to focus on providing context around climate change and searching out solutions to ease the increasing impacts of it. From wildfires and hurricanes to floods, extreme heat and biodiversity loss, there have been researchers across several disciplines addressing various angles.
David Roy, professor of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences, led a NASA-funded project that used AI to help map the Maui Wildfires, providing the highest resolution aerial photos to date. Scott Stark, assistant professor of Forest-Atmosphere Interactions, also published research on how wildfires have threatened environmental gains in the Amazon. And many other experts chimed in when wildfires in Canada affected the air quality here in Michigan.
In addition to launching the Water Alliance, professors like Joan Rose, Homer Nowlin Endowed Chair in Water Research Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, who is leading the effort, have talked to media at length about the impacts of increased flooding because of climate change, especially in the wake of ongoing storms.
Sue Rhee, director of Plant Resilience Institute, is creating solutions to address food scarcity and productivity. Their team have discovered ways to grow plants with low phosphorous levels. And Federica Brandizzi, MSU Distinguished Professor and MSU Research Foundation Professor in the Department of Plant Biology, is working to breed more climate resilient crops and also sent seeds into space!
When it comes to biodiversity, Mariah Meek, an associate professor in integrative biology, and Sara Saunders, a postdoctoral research associate in the department, are providing insight into how we can reach domestic and international conservation goals in the face of climate change, and Elise Zipkin, an associate professor in integrative biology, is working with her team to track biodiversity using a ‘robin hood’ approach.
Speaking of planets, Joey Rodriguez, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, was part of the NASA team that found a new one about 100 light years away. Rodriguez told Discover magazine that even with more than 5,000 exoplanets discovered to date, TOI-700 e, the name of the planet, is a key example that we have a lot more to learn.