Panda poop study provides insights into microbiome, reproductive troubles

A stomachache can put a real damper on your love life — especially if you’re a giant panda. One minute it’s breeding season and you’re happily dining on fresh bamboo leaves, the next you’re left clutching your stomach while your gastrointestinal lining passes through your system. It exits your body as a thick, gooey, gelatinous mass. [caption id="attachment_19928" align="alignright" width="350"] Le Le, a male giant panda at the Memphis Zoo, feeds on a bamboo stalk. Researchers analyzed the percentage of feeding time Le Le and his female zoo mate, Ya Ya, spent feeding on bamboo leaves relative to stalks. Photo: Candace Williams[/caption] This is exactly what seems to happen to captive giant pandas, and the researchers behind a new study published in Frontiers in Microbiology are beginning to suspect it may play a role in their struggles to reproduce. “We think they are sloughing off the internal mucous membrane of their gastrointestinal tract and because of this, they get really sick, which coincides with gestation,” says Garret Suen, a University of Wisconsin–Madison professor of bacteriology and co-author of the panda poop and feeding behavior study. “The pandas ...
Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
-20160518
healthy-ecosystems
10
Panda poop study provides insights into microbiome, reproductive troubles

Bees and beyond: CALS researchers and Wisconsin’s first Pollinator Protection Plan

[caption id="attachment_19844" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Entomologist Claudio Gratton and research associate Christina Locke in Gratton’s lab, examining part of a vast collection of pollinators. A new state plan they helped create is aimed at better protecting them. Photo: James Runde/UW-Madison Wisconsin Energy Institute[/caption] Over the past 10 years or so, massive die-offs of the European honeybee—a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder (CCD)—have sparked increasing concern about the fate of agricultural crops with the loss of these important pollinators. At the federal level, a White House Pollinator Health Task Force was formed and in May 2015 released a national strategy for pollinator protection. In support of that effort, a number of states are following up with plans of their own. In Wisconsin, professor Claudio Gratton and postdoctoral research associate Christina Locke PhD’14 from the CALS Department of Entomology were invited to partner with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) in leading a broad array of stakeholders to create a state pollinator protection plan. The goal of the plan is to provide best management practice recommendations and educational materials for beekeepers, ...
Tuesday, May 10th, 2016
-20160510
healthy-ecosystems
10
Bees and beyond: CALS researchers and Wisconsin’s first Pollinator Protection Plan
CALS in the Media

Agriculture Schools’ Interdisciplinary Approaches Reflect New STEM Opportunities

U.S. News & World Report
-20160527
cals-in-the-media
10
Agriculture Schools’ Interdisciplinary Approaches Reflect New STEM Opportunities

Milwaukee foundation supports early-career faculty’s innovative research

For their distinct and innovative molecular research, two University of Wisconsin–Madison scientists have earned Shaw Scientist Awards from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. Feyza Engin, assistant professor of biomolecular chemistry, and Srivatsan Raman, assistant professor of biochemistry, will each receive $200,000 in seed funding to advance their work. For more than 30 years, the Shaw Scientist Program has supported early career investigators pursuing promising ideas in biochemistry, biological sciences and cancer research. “Research is a long-term investment in our quality of life, which is why the Shaw Scientist Program aligns so perfectly with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s mission,” says Ellen Gilligan, the foundation’s president and CEO. “The foundation has been supporting quality of life initiatives in our community for more than 100 years, and together with our donors, we are committed to investing in the future health of our region.” Engin studies Type 1 diabetes, which affects about 3 million people in the United States and is increasing in incidence at a rate of about 3 to 5 percent annually. The disease results when the body’s immune cells destroy beta cells, which produce insulin. Engin’s ...
Thursday, May 26th, 2016
-20160526
uncategorized
10
Milwaukee foundation supports early-career faculty’s innovative research
Bioenergy and Bioproducts

Xylome’s quest to lower the cost of cellulosic ethanol

In their lab on a 20-acre prairie in Madison, Wisconsin, Xylome scientists are busy tinkering with the yeasts that live in the bellies of wood-boring beetles. A spin-off from the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), Xylome is lowering the cost of making ethanol by creating new yeast strains that more efficiently convert cellulosic biomass to fuel. While the early stages of biofuel manufacturing focused on fermenting corn grain to ethanol, corn is not the only available feedstock for making biofuel. Cellulosic biomass – i.e., wood, perennial grasses, and the non-food portion of plants – offers another, arguably more sustainable feedstock for fuels. [caption id="attachment_19949" align="alignright" width="300"] Tom Jeffries (L) and Tom Kelleher (R) conduct R&D and provide research services from Xylome's labs at University Research Park, Madison, WI.[/caption] And yet developing an economically viable cellulosic biofuel pipeline remains a technically challenging endeavor. Compared to corn, the sugars in cellulosic biomass are much more difficult to access and convert to fuel. The sugar xylose, in particular, which accounts for up to 20 –30% of the dry weight of non-food plants, is notoriously difficult ...
Monday, May 23rd, 2016
-20160523
bioenergy-bioproducts
10
Xylome’s quest to lower the cost of cellulosic ethanol
CALS in the Media

Farms That Rise to the Challenge

The New York Times
-20160520
cals-in-the-media
10
Farms That Rise to the Challenge
Economic and Community Development

Photos from Log-A-Load for Kids Charitable Harvest event at Arlington ARS

This past Tuesday, UW-Madison Arlington Agricultural Research Station hosted a Log-A-Load for Kids Charitable Harvest event that brought around 400 local elementary and middle school students to the station to learn about forestry science. During the event, students rotated through over a dozen interactive learning stations. Below are links to some photos from the event: Jamie Nack, a senior outreach specialist in the UW-Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, taught children about wildlife biology, including sharing this display of Wisconsin rodents. https://flic.kr/p/HcVEnc Kids waited in line for the chance to sit in a modern tree harvester at the Log-A-Load event. https://flic.kr/p/HiYRrP At the portable sawmill station, kids got to see how logs are cut into boards. https://flic.kr/p/GTJ8Xd UW donated the timber for the event. Oshkosh’s Koerner Forest Products, Ltd. provided the harvesting, skidding and trucking services. The event was organized with the help of the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association. More information about the Log-A-Load event, which took place on May 17, is available in this earlier media advisory: http://news.cals.wisc.edu/2016/05/10/log-a-load-for-kids/.
Friday, May 20th, 2016
-20160520
economic-community-development
10
Photos from Log-A-Load for Kids Charitable Harvest event at Arlington ARS