Posted by Jim:
I am just back from the Kellogg Biological Station where I posed as the “Eminent Ecologist” for 5 days (http://www.kbs.msu.edu/eminentecologists/). It was a fun and stimulating week learning more about the many research activities ongoing at the station, including agroecosystem research associated with the LTER program. I met a lot of very smart graduate students working on projects ranging from sediment biogeochemistry to mating systems in house wrens. My visit also coincided with the first annual meeting of the Great Lakes Regional Biogeochemistry Symposium and so I had a larger evening audience than usual on Thursday. I was also glad to enjoy some very interesting talks at the symposium. The week ended with a fun potluck dinner on the lake on Friday night and then a fishing trip to Little Long Lake on Saturday morning. See the pics on the Twitterlog for a view of those.
One really interesting thing I learned about during the week was about “self-milking cows”. (e.g. LINK) KBS is testing the system out to see how it affects pasture ecology and nutrient cycling, not to mention the health and happiness of the cows themselves. The system promises to revolutionize life on the dairy farm, something that wouldn’t surprise the Elser lab which lived on a Norwegian dairy farm in summer 2008. That farmer never had a day off, having to move and milk the cows every dawn and dusk.