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Two members receive USDA-NIFA postdoctoral fellowships

Two EEB postdoctoral researchers have been awarded fellowship grants from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Jennifer Jones, a researcher at Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) and Olivia Smith, a recipient of the inaugural MSU Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior will both receive approximately $165,000 to support their research. 

Jennifer Jones
Jennifer Jones

Jones is mentored by Sarah Evans in the Department of Integrative Biology in the College of Natural Science. Smith is mentored by Catherine Lindell in integrative biology and Jen Owen in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in the College of Natural Resources. All mentors are core EEB faculty.

Fellowships awarded to 117 pre- and post-doctoral fellows totaling $18 million will develop new scientists and professionals to enter research, education, and extension fields within the food and agricultural sciences. The aim of these grants is to cultivate future industry, government, and academic leaders who can solve emerging agricultural challenges of the 21st century. 

Olivia Smitth
Olivia Smith

Jones's award will support the project "Using soil microbial functional traits and trade-offs to explain soil carbon storage and crop response to drought". Her work will take place at KBS's Long-Term Ecological Research Site where she will seek to alter microbial communities, helping farmers to manage for increasing crop yields and for essential natural resources, such as soil carbon storage.

Smith's award will support the project "Can attraction of predatory birds reduce food safety risks posed by pest birds in orchards?". Her work aims to gain a greater understanding of the risk wild birds pose to food safety and assessing the efficacy of eco-friendly management practices. 

See NIFA's award announcement.