A seed survival story: How trees keep ‘friends’ close and ‘enemies’ guessing

June 29, 2023

Around the globe, forests are facing unprecedented challenges. They're grappling with wildfires, diseases, droughts and deforestation. The survival of these great forests hinges on their ability to regrow — and for many trees, a process called "masting" is key to this regeneration.

Penn State hosts international pollinator conference

June 26, 2023

Penn State’s Center for Pollinator Research hosted the 2023 International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy at University Park from June 3–6. Approximately 250 people from 15 countries, spanning universities, government agencies, industry, non-profit organizations and stakeholder groups, traveled to University Park to attend the conference.

Penn State graduate named 2023 Campus Sustainability Champion

June 21, 2023

Isabella Briseño, a recent Penn State graduate who double majored in environmental resource management and political science, was selected as a 2023 Campus Sustainability Champion by the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium.

New center to promote agricultural conservation in Pennsylvania

June 9, 2023

As part of an ongoing effort to promote soil and water conservation on farms, Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has launched the Center for Agricultural Conservation Assistance Training in partnership with the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Strategic city planning can help reduce urban heat island effect

May 25, 2023

The tendency of cities to trap heat — a phenomenon called the “urban heat island,” often referred to as the UHI effect — can lead to dangerous temperatures in the summer months, but a new study conducted by Penn State researchers suggests that certain urban factors can reduce this effect.

Penn State Harrisburg team investigates the cause, impact of Middletown flooding

May 23, 2023

Last summer, on a sweltering July morning, Penn State Harrisburg environmental engineering professor Shirley Clark and two students worked in the yard of the Middletown Area Historical Society on East Main Street.

Fowler named director of Sustainability Institute, chief sustainability officer

May 23, 2023

Lara B. Fowler, teaching professor of law at Penn State Law and researcher with expertise centering on water, energy, agriculture and dispute resolution, has been named director of the Sustainability Institute at Penn State and the University’s chief sustainability officer, effective May 15. Fowler has served in both roles on an interim basis since July 1, 2022.

New study reveals possible future health impacts related to climate mitigation

May 18, 2023

Reduce fossil fuel use and air quality will improve, right? It might not be as straightforward as it appears, according to a Penn State-led research team. They explored almost 30,000 simulated future scenarios and found that some climate mitigation efforts could lead to harmful health impacts in certain geographic areas.

Penn State's renamed One Health Microbiome Center affirms broad expertise

May 15, 2023

The Microbiome Center in the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State has announced its renaming to the One Health Microbiome Center (OHMC), the first center in the world to integrate "One Health" with the microbiome sciences. The new name reflects the center's collaborative culture and aspirations to write its next chapter in the booming field of the microbiome sciences — the study of microbial communities that live throughout the world's environments.

More research is needed to spread the benefits of electric vehicles equitably

May 13, 2023

Electric vehicles, or EVs, promise to reduce carbon emissions and serve as a tool to help mitigate climate change, but a team of Penn State researchers report there has been little research to determine how equitable the benefits of EVs are and, in fact, whether the technology may unfairly harm some areas and populations.

College of Ag Sciences study-abroad leaders share their knowledge in new book

May 12, 2023

Three global education leaders in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have contributed their expertise to a new book. The trio wrote a chapter in “Sustainable Education Abroad, Striving for Change,” which is part of a book series spearheaded by the national nonprofit, Forum on Education Abroad. The “Standards in Action” series is intended to bridge big ideas and foundational principles in education abroad to the creative approaches and practical tactics that can turn those concepts into reality.

‘Nature is messy': Pioneers in landscape transcriptomics study genes in the wild

May 11, 2023

An interdisciplinary team in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences — in an initiative aimed at better understanding the implications of climate change for animal and plant life and agricultural systems — is focusing on an emerging field of study called landscape transcriptomics.

Analysis of U.S. farms offers clearer, more nuanced picture for policymakers

May 8, 2023

While farms in the U.S. can vary by many characteristics such as size, production scale and the products they produce, Penn State researchers say many agricultural policies are designed with a “one size fits all” approach.

Energy, environmental seed grants awarded to interdisciplinary research teams

May 4, 2023

Nineteen interdisciplinary research teams received funding through the Institutes of Energy and the Environment’s (IEE) Seed Grant Program for 2023. This includes more than 75 researchers who are affiliated with 10 colleges and research units across seven Penn State campuses.

Projects to advance zero-waste water research, solutions

May 3, 2023

A new master agreement with ENOWA, a company tasked with pioneering sustainable energy and water innovations, will support Penn State research efforts in sustainable water solutions. The agreement could see up to $6 million invested into developing much-needed zero-waste water solutions.

Grozinger receives 2023 President’s Award for Excellence Academic Integration

April 12, 2023

Christina Grozinger, Publius Vergilius Maro Professor of Entomology, has been awarded the 2023 President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Integration.

Wetlands, water quality in Chesapeake Bay focus of Van Meter NSF CAREER Award

April 5, 2023

From improving water quality to providing a haven for endangered species, wetlands are the unsung heroes of our planet. Wetlands provide a range of critical services, like reducing storm damage and removing excess nutrients, and are among the most productive ecosystems in the world. Kimberly Van Meter, assistant professor of geography, received a $644,595 Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the role of wetlands in improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay region.

Foundation grant to fund research on reducing methane emissions from livestock

April 4, 2023

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture has awarded a grant to a team in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences to fund research aimed at reducing enteric, or intestinal, methane emissions from cows and sheep, using plant and fungal sources.

Soil nutrients affect how attractive plants are to bees from the ground up

April 4, 2023

Pollination is vital for many plants, and nutrients present in the soil before these plants even sprout may affect how attractive they eventually are to pollinators, according to Penn State-led research.

Squash bees flourish in response to agricultural intensification

April 4, 2023

While pollinator populations of many species have plummeted worldwide, one bee species is blowing up the map with its rapid population expansion. The key to this insect’s success? Its passion for pumpkins, zucchinis, and other squashes, and the massive increase in cultivation of these crops across North America over the last 1,000 years.

First-gen students explore Costa Rica through College of Ag Sciences course

March 31, 2023

Studying abroad can be a transformative experience. However, first-generation college students may face additional challenges and feel that international experiences are out of their reach. A course in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences was created to help first-gen students achieve their travel goals.

Study: Mapping people’s knowledge of bees may aid in pollinator conservation

March 23, 2023

U.S. college students’ knowledge of bees focuses primarily on honey bees and pollination services, according to Penn State researchers, who said findings from their recent study could help in designing campaigns to generate support for protecting threatened pollinators.

‘Manureshed’ management in Susquehanna River basin key to Chesapeake Bay cleanup

March 22, 2023

A novel study by a Penn State-led research team suggests that “manureshed” management in the Susquehanna River basin could make a big difference in the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay.

Penn State student learns about sustainability and conservation efforts in Chile

March 22, 2023

Sustainability and conservation efforts vary around the globe, but education still can be gleaned from far-flung places — as students in a Penn State travel abroad class recently learned on a trip to South America.

Greening the grey: Engineering natural solutions for stormwater management

March 20, 2023

Concrete is as ubiquitous in cities as it is impervious. Amid worsening storms due to climate change, it only deflects runoff toward the drain, threatening sewer capacities. Lauren McPhillips is partnering with researchers across the commonwealth to engineer stormwater solutions using nature to replace hard surfaces and help control the flow.

Processing, like fermentation and roasting, doesn’t cut cocoa’s health benefits

February 27, 2023

It is widely believed that when foods undergo processing, their health benefits are reduced. But that is not true for cocoa, according to a Penn State-led team of researchers, who conducted a new study using a mouse model.

New predictive models developed for bacterial diversity of soils

February 27, 2023

A new set of quantitative models that incorporates pH into the metabolic theory of ecology (MTE) has been developed by an international team that includes Penn State assistant professor of plant science Francisco Dini-Andreote.

Workers moving products in the U.S. food supply chain at high risk of injury

February 24, 2023

Workers tasked with moving products in the immense U.S. food system are at a high risk of serious injury, according to a new Penn State-led study, and pandemic-caused, supply-chain problems have worsened the situation, researchers suggest.

Researcher gets $2M grant to test feed additives’ effect on methane emissions

February 13, 2023

Alex Hristov, Penn State distinguished professor of dairy nutrition, has received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct studies to determine whether supplementing the feed of lactating dairy cows with either 3-Nitrooxypropanol or a species of red seaweed reduces the amount of methane emitted by the animals in the long-term.

Davis hoping to leave a legacy of engagement with Graduate Council

January 29, 2023

When Ken Davis had an opportunity to help lead graduate education at Penn State, the chance was one that he could not let pass by.