In our September 2023 issue, we shared some of the most interesting recent findings from Michigan researchers. Here, check out some of those findings, and get some fun facts that pertain to our state.
Intriguing findings from researchers across Michigan for September 2023.
When it comes to climate change, size matters
The faster that animals adapt to the changing climate, the more likely they will be to survive.
One factor for predicting how quickly bird species can adapt is body size, according to a new analysis led by University of Michigan researchers. The analysis combines data from two previous studies that examined more than 86,000 North and South American bird specimens over 40 years.
Despite different methodology and bird populations, the studies found similar declines in body size and increases in wing length over time. However, the U-M-led analysis revealed additional insights: Across both datasets, smaller species experienced faster changes than larger species.
“Our results suggest that large body size could further exacerbate extinction risk by limiting the potential to adapt to rapid, ongoing anthropogenic change,” says lead author Marketa Zimova.
MSU sends seeds to space
As humans undertake more and more extensive space travel, care packages of food launched from Earth just won’t cut it. So how will people feed themselves in space?
“The short answer is that space travelers will need to grow their own food,” says MSU plant biologist Federica Brandizzi.
To help determine how to do that, Brandizzi and her lab sent plant seeds on NASA’s 25-day uncrewed Artemis I mission, which covered 1.4 million miles. The experiment included seeds enriched with amino acids — intended to enhance the plants’ hardiness and nutrient levels — as well as a control group and tested the effects of the unique conditions of space on the seeds.
Now that those seeds are back on Earth, Brandizzi and her team are analyzing them. The results could provide clues to how humans can grow sustainable — and healthy — food far, far from home.
A faster and cheaper way to test for TB
After 15 years of research, Wayne State University scientists have developed new technology that can accurately detect active tuberculosis antibodies quickly and inexpensively.
Tuberculosis is the second highest infectious killer around the world, according to the World Health Organization, with 1.7 million deaths each year. But not everyone infected with TB will develop the active disease. Conventional tests for detecting TB don’t differentiate between latent infection and active disease, and the tests that do require collecting sputum, which is both time consuming and expensive.
Now, the WSU team has discovered a way to create a simple nonsputum test for TB that is highly sensitive to the difference between active and latent forms. They have applied for a patent and are currently seeking investment funding.
Fun Michigan stats and facts for September 2023.
How old Michigan State University’s Spartan Stadium turns in 2023.
The Spartans have won nearly 70 percent of games hosted in the stadium, which has received over $55 million in renovations during its century-long lifespan, according to MSU Athletics.
This represents a nearly 13 percent increase from the state’s previous monthly sales record of $221.7 million in December 2022. Sales are estimated to grow 19 percent by the end of the year, according to cannabis analytics company BDSA.
The number of fans Taylor Swift’s Eras tour brought to Ford Field during her two-night engagement in June.
With 59,269 in attendance on night one and 59,392 on night two, Swift’s shows rank second and third on the list of most-attended concerts at Ford Field.
Garth Brooks still holds the record with 70,000 audience members at his February 2020 concert, though differing stage configurations meant fewer seats were available for Swift’s shows.
The number of Michigan schools on Money magazine’s list of the 736 best colleges in the U.S. Evaluated based on a combination of affordability and quality, the University of Michigan received the highest praise in the state — five stars, a half-star higher than rival school Michigan State University.
The most affordable Michigan schools on the list were Grand Valley State University, with an estimated full-tuition cost of $27,500, and Central Michigan University at $27,600.
This story is from the September 2023 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition.