The challenges facing oceans — from piracy and pollution to overfishing and shipping management — don’t exist in a vacuum.
Ecosystems face increased challenges — both directly and indirectly from climate change and the built environment. University of Michigan experts are on the cutting edge, developing strategies to conserve or restore natural habitats, and manage fisheries, estuaries, forests, and other resources sustainably so that we can preserve those environments and ecosystems for a long time to come. Key to this effort are experts at Forests & Livelihoods: Assessment, Research, and Engagement (FLARE), the National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative, and the University of Michigan Biological Station.
The challenges facing oceans — from piracy and pollution to overfishing and shipping management — don’t exist in a vacuum.
What actions are we taking to adapt to climate change around the world, and how successful are our efforts? A global network of 126 researchers sought to answer those questions, producing the most systematic and comprehensive assessment of implemented human adaptation to climate change to date.
At the Clinical Learning Center, students hone their skills in a simulated environment, designed to replicate real health care scenarios. And because it is a simulated space, as opposed to one for critical care, practitioners are successfully reusing materials to reduce waste, and hoping to elevate their approach as a best practice.
A new structure at the U-M Matthaei Botanical Gardens brings leading-edge fabrication research to the public space — “This outdoor structure offers new public gathering points while maintaining an open-air condition that respects the pandemic as well as people’s desire to feel part of the beautiful natural setting that surrounds them.”
Researchers at U-M and Michigan State University have been awarded $5.4 million from NOAA to continue their study of climate change and variability risks in the larger Great Lakes region for the next five years. The Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments—established in 2010 as a federally funded collaboration between U-M and MSU—will begin new partnerships with the College of the Menominee Nation and the University of Wisconsin.
“Obtawaing” is the Anishinaabemowin word for “at the halfway place.” Now, the word has been adapted to describe the Obtawaing Biosphere Region, a newly awarded and ambitious designation springing from the U-M Biological Station in Pellston.
In a study conducted in and around the Ethiopian city of Mekelle, home to 310,000 people and 120,000 livestock animals, a U-M conservation ecologist and two colleagues found that spotted hyenas annually remove 207 tons of animal carcass waste.
Taking a walk in the park or just going outdoors could help youth feel better, and promoting public health policies that actively support time spent outside could help promote overall well-being among teens and young adults, according to a new U-M survey.
Communities across the western United States face an existential crisis. As forests become drier and thicker with vegetation, and development encroaches further into forested areas, wildfires grow larger, more frequent and more damaging. U-M experts are working with practitioners across the west to address this growing concern.
Every year, 3.5 million metric tons of sodden diapers end up in landfills. The superabsorbent material inside these diapers is made up of a matrix of polymers that expand once dampness hits them. A U-M team has developed a technique to untangle these absorbent polymers and recycle them into materials similar to the gooey adhesives used in sticky notes and bandages.
One alleyway on Detroit’s northwest side is being staged to power lights through rainwater harvesting as part of a plan to make more of the city’s 9,000+ alleys functional and sustainable. The test installation project has brought together community leaders with U-M researchers and students to build on the city’s large-scale program to clear alleys of debris and overgrown vegetation.
Many sustainability-minded consumers are moving away from single-use plastic products and turning to reusable alternatives. In the kitchen, trendy alternatives include bamboo drinking straws and beeswax sandwich wrap. Those consumers likely assume that reusables have fewer environmental impacts, but just how green are these products?
People’s personal experiences with nature may work better than dire warnings to motivate environmental action, a new U-M study found. Researchers wanted to know what motivates people to take action about preserving the environment, so they analyzed a conservation campaign focusing on monarch butterflies.
Phil D’Anieri, a lecturer in urban and regional planning, has published The Appalachian Trail: A Biography, Born in 1921, the trail, which stretches 2,192 miles from Georgia to Maine, is one of the world’s best-known treks. Millions of hikers set foot on it every year. D’Anieri’s book explores the backstory of the dreamers and builders who helped bring it to life over the past century.
Every night during the spring and fall migration seasons, thousands of birds are killed when they crash into illuminated windows, disoriented by the light. But a new study shows that darkening just half of a building’s windows can make a big difference for birds.
Isle Royale is unique because of its uninhabited status—the island is 99 percent wilderness—historic national protection, and its location at the boundary between boreal and temperate biomes. A student project team is collecting and analyzing transect data used to measure herbivory rates of the beaver and moose populations.
U-M scientists say that crowdsourced wildlife identification is a reliable way to lighten a research team’s workload while increasing public participation in science.
Some climate activists advocate large-scale tree-planting campaigns in forests around the world to suck up heat-trapping carbon dioxide and help rein in climate change. But the idea of planting trees as a substitute for the direct reduction of greenhouse gas emissions could be a pipe dream.
Thanks to focused conservation efforts, tiger numbers have rebounded in some parts of their range. In Nepal, for example, the wild tiger population has nearly doubled from 121 in 2009 to 235 in 2018. But a road-building boom in Asia could undo this progress.
Michigan Alumnus spoke with Shelie Miller, an associate professor in the School for Environment and Sustainability and director of the U-M Program in the Environment, about some common misperceptions regarding sustainability.
As we move toward a cleaner transportation sector, a new $2 million project at U-M aims to develop easier and more cost-effective ways to make recyclable lightweight automotive sheet metals.
How will fluctuating water levels across the Great Lakes impact the growth of cities, people moving to the region, changes in water supply and the overall economy? Professor Drew Gronewold is working with researchers across U-M to answer those critical questions.
The U-M School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) announced that it received a significant philanthropic gift to establish a program that will advance socially engaged, problem-oriented research on western forests, fires, and communities.
The President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality at the University of Michigan has submitted its final report, which contains recommendations to help the university achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The report includes 50 recommendations that U-M could take to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions across the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses.
U-M researchers will enlist the help of citizen scientists in a new project to digitize thousands of historical records—some dating back more than a century—about Michigan inland lake conditions and fish abundances. Scientists will feed the digitized data into computer models to study the impacts of climate change and other factors on the fish in Michigan’s inland lakes.
The President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality, charged with recommending scalable and transferable strategies for U-M to achieve net-zero emissions, has released its preliminary draft recommendations for public comment. The draft report includes a collection of steps that U-M could take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the Flint, Dearborn and Ann Arbor campuses, including Michigan Medicine.
Diverting urine away from municipal wastewater treatment plants and recycling the nutrient-rich liquid to make crop fertilizer would result in multiple environmental benefits when used at city scale, according to a new UM-led study. Researchers found that urine diversion and recycling led to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, freshwater consumption and the potential to fuel algal blooms in lakes and other water bodies.
Humans and wildlife often detrimentally affect each other in landscapes that they share together. Large predators can eat livestock, for example, or people can kill wild animals to reduce these risks. Coexistence between humans and wildlife is therefore more likely when humans adapt to these risks in ways that lead to benefits for both humans and wildlife, rather than benefiting one group only.
Forest restoration is a crucial element in strategies to mitigate climate change and conserve global biodiversity in the coming decades, and much of the focus is on formerly tree-covered lands in the tropics. A new study finds that nearly 300 million people in the tropics live on lands suitable for forest restoration, and about a billion people live within 5 miles of such lands.
Nyeema Harris, U-M assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, joined colleagues across the country to call for recognition and to change the culture in ecology and evolution, in general, and for Black women, specifically.
At a forum convened by the House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on June 1, Daniel Raimi, Ford School lecturer, testified about the feasibility of capping some 56-thousand such oil and gas wells.
Replacing half of all animal-based foods in the U.S. diet with plant-based alternatives could reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions 1.6 billion metric tons by 2030, according to a new study by researchers at U-M and Tulane University.
Restoration often seeks to maneuver an ecosystem into a historical state, returning the vegetative community to what resided there previously. It often involves planting native species, including rare species, in locations where they would have existed historically according to landscape pattern. Yet what if the plants are more successful in different habitats because of changing climates?
A new U-M-led study of individually radio-tracked tropical fish in a Bahamian mangrove estuary highlights the importance of highly active individuals in maintaining ecosystem health. It found that the individual gray and cubera snappers that spent the most time swimming and foraging for food also spread the highest levels of the essential nutrient nitrogen throughout the estuary in their urine.
Biosequestration relies on the natural ability of living organisms and biological processes to capture carbon. The biosequestration internal analysis team, part of the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality, has been working for several months to evaluate the biosequestration of university-owned lands.
U-M researchers are exploring the possibility that B. similaris and other snails and slugs, which are part of a large class of animals called gastropods, could be used as a biological control to help rein in coffee leaf rust. But as ecologists, they are keenly aware of the many disastrous attempts at biological control of pests in the past.
In an effort to control the cyanobacteria blooms and dead zones that plague Lake Erie each summer, fueled by excess nutrients, the United States and Canada in 2016 called for a 40% reduction in the amount of phosphorus entering the lake’s western and central basins, including the Detroit River’s contribution.
U-M marine ecologist Jacob Allgeier uses artificial reefs, mathematical modeling and community-based conservation programs to understand how an unlikely but renewable source of fertilizer—fish excretion—can be used to stimulate fish production and improve food security in tropical ecosystems.
In what is believed to be the first comprehensive study of unofficial footpaths in a large urban area, U-M's Joshua Newell and colleague Alec Foster of Illinois State University mapped 5,680 unofficial footpaths in the city of Detroit—that's 157 linear miles of trails—visible from space.
A group of U-M researchers has been awarded a five-year, $20 million cooperative agreement to support NOAA in overseeing research at a nationwide network of 29 estuaries—which are among the most biologically productive natural habitats on Earth.
The toxins produced in cyanobacteria blooms, which plague western Lake Erie each summer, may have protective effects on sand-grain-sized lake animals that ingest them, much as the toxins in milkweed plants protect monarch butterflies from parasites.
In an aspen-dominated hardwood forest at the northern tip of the state’s Lower Peninsula, U-M scientists are testing ways to make the region’s forests more resilient to climate change. About 12,000 mature trees—mostly aspen—are being cut on 77 acres at the U-M Biological Station, a 10,000-acre research and teaching facility just south of the Mackinac Bridge, near the town of Pellston.
Giving local communities in Nepal the opportunity to manage their forests has simultaneously reduced deforestation and poverty in the region, new research has shown. In the largest study of its kind, an international research team found that community-forest management led to a 37% relative reduction in deforestation and a 4.3% relative reduction in poverty.
Orangutans have long been viewed as an ecologically sensitive species that can thrive only in pristine forests. But a new synthesis of existing evidence has shown that orangutans can, and do, inhabit in areas impacted by humans, and that may mean only good things for the survival of the species.
A study of the St. Clair River by U-M scientists shows that despite river-current speeds of more than 3 feet per second, some recently hatched lake sturgeon manage to remain in the St. Clair’s North Channel, a surprising finding with implications for the siting of future spawning reefs.