7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The Loft

414 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing

Click here for event page


Who knew beer and biology could go so well together?


Biology on Tap features local researchers and biologists giving informative talks about biological subjects. For this week’s event, Sieglinde Snapp MSU Professor of Soils and Cropping Systems Ecology will speak about feeding the world’s population with its finite limits.


“We are going to focus on soil, something we neglect,” Snapp said. “It is an area people are starting to get excited about, and get into these giant sustainability questions.”


Behind biodiversity loss, nitrogen released from fossil fuels and man made causes constitutes a significant threat to the integrity of soil worldwide, Snapp said.


“There are basic ways to conserve nitrogen, and people might be getting too excited over new things like vertical farming — in contrast to sustaining and managing the soil.”


According to Snapp, smart phones are leading the fight for citizen science in farming.


“I work a lot with soy beans and crop producers who want to improve the sustainability of the soil with a citizen science approach. For example, farmers can dig a hole, use an app and be able to tell themselves what is going on.”


One app in testing is a direct reflectometer, which can enable farmers to get real time readings of the health of their soil, she added.


“Luckily we all have phones with cameras, and those will be able to read reflecting light off the soil and read the health of the soil.”


It is important to get the conversation rolling on this topic and informal events like Biology on Tap enables the community to participate, Snapp said.


“These are universal themes and I really look forward to the discussion. I think it is great and many of us are geeks at heart and other people are interested in these very real questions.”