University of Michigan Museum of Natural History Podcast
Science Café: Something Fishy in Lake Michigan

Science Café: Something Fishy in Lake Michigan

February 25, 2020

Great Lakes fisheries are managed intensively to reduce nutrients from fertilizer runoff and to increase game fish populations such as trout and salmon. When you add invasive species such as non-native mussels and the possibility of carp, we have a very fragile system. Join us to discuss the past, present, and possible futures of Lake Michigan fisheries with Bo Bunnell of the U.S.G.S. Great Lakes Science Center and U-M School for Environment and Sustainability, Yu-Chun Kao of MSU's Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, and Ed Rutherford of the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab.

Originally recorded on February 19, 2020. 

Science Café: DNA, Chromosome Structure, and Health

Science Café: DNA, Chromosome Structure, and Health

February 4, 2020

If you stretched the DNA in one human cell all the way out, it would be about two meters long. How does all that DNA fit into one tiny cell? How does the way it is packaged matter for human health? Join Gyorgyi Csankovszki of the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology for a discussion of current research into basic cellular biology and the implications this research may have on human health. This Science Café is part of a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Originally recorded on January 22, 2020. 

Science Café: The Secrets of Birds

Science Café: The Secrets of Birds

December 19, 2019

Hidden in the feathers of museum specimens of birds is information on the air quality of past decades - very detailed information. These specimens also contain evidence of the impacts of recent climate change on birds. What do these birds have to say? Join Shane DuBay and Ben Winger of the U-M Museum of Zoology to discuss what bird specimens can tell us about air quality, climate change impacts, and what we can all do to help rapidly declining bird populations now.

Originally recorded on October 16, 2019.

Science Café: What does water sustainability have to do with microbes?

Science Café: What does water sustainability have to do with microbes?

December 19, 2019

Microbes in the water take carbon from the atmosphere, break down plastics, and even cause and prevent toxic algae blooms. Join Dr. Melissa Duhaime of the U-M's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and members of her lab team to discuss the ecology of aquatic microbes, and how what we learn about them now could have huge impacts on our future.

Originally recorded November 20, 2019.

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Science Café: You’re the scientist now! Citizen and community science in a connected world

Science Café: You’re the scientist now! Citizen and community science in a connected world

December 18, 2019

Have you ever helped with research by doing a Christmas bird count, helping to identify photos for an online project, or participating in local water testing? Join us as we explore the potential roles of citizen and community science projects in scientific research and public policy. We’ll highlight some U-M projects, with opportunities for involvement. 

  • Nyeema Harris - Applied Wildlife Ecology Lab (U-M Ann Arbor)

  • Marty Kaufman -  Department of Geography, Planning, and Environment (U-M Flint); 

  • Natalie Sampson - Department of Health & Human Services (U-M Dearborn)

  • Justin Schell - Shapiro Design Lab (U-M Ann Arbor Library)

For more information on future Science Cafes, please visit our website

Science Café: Politics and Psychology from Mussolini to the Alt-Right

Science Café: Politics and Psychology from Mussolini to the Alt-Right

December 18, 2019

A discussion of the history and social psychology of nationalist and fascist politics and what light this scholarship may or may not shed on current events. 

  • Joshua Rabinowitz, lecturer, U-M Psychology Department
  • Dario Gaggio, professor, U-M History Department

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Science Café: Designer Genes? Genetic engineering in the age of CRISPR

Science Café: Designer Genes? Genetic engineering in the age of CRISPR

December 18, 2019

New technology makes gene editing easier. Its use is being explored to correct diseases caused by genetic mutations, to fight cancer, and even to learn about human evolutionary adaptations, and its potential is amazing. We'll explore the capabilities and research that CRISPR Cas9 gene editing brings, as well as its ethical, legal, and social implications.

  • Jody Platt, Assistant Professor in the Department of Learning Health Sciences at the U-M Medical School
  • Daniel Thiel, doctoral student at the U-M School of Public Health and Department of Sociology
  • Thom Saunders, Director of the U-M Transgenic Animal Model Core

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Science Café: Postcards from the Anthropocene

Science Café: Postcards from the Anthropocene

December 18, 2019

Human beings have changed Earth so extensively that geologists now propose renaming our current epoch as the Anthropocene—the era defined by people. Human influences are apparent in the shape of landscapes, the extent of biodiversity, ocean chemistry, and our climate. We will explore the history of human influence on Earth and the ideas driving the concept of the Age of Humans, taking time to discuss consequences and implications for our future world.

  • Julia Cole, U-M Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Naomi Levin, U-M Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

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Science Café: An Archaeology of Migration

Science Café: An Archaeology of Migration

December 18, 2019

What are the stories of contemporary Latin American migration, and how do we uncover them? What can these stories tell us about borders, their impact, and the struggles of many families to find a new life? How can such stories inform policy and/or political action?

  • Jason De Leon, U-M Department of Anthropology

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Science Café: What Cost, Basic Research?

Science Café: What Cost, Basic Research?

December 18, 2019

Basic science research seeks to improve our understanding of the world, without any direct, obvious application. Much of it is funded by government grants, including those from the National Science Foundation.  That funding may soon face cuts. A discussion on how much we spend on such research, what the rationale is, and what the implications of such cuts might be.  

  • Meghan Duffy, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Kristin Koutmou, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry

For more information on future Science Cafes, please visit our website

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