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To Bring Back a Native Fish

OSU's Global Impact - Tue, 01/21/2014 - 5:43pm

Pacific lamprey, Entosphenus tridentatus, after many years of flying under the radar, have just recently received increased attention and awareness. Three events are planned for February, “Lamprey Awareness Month,” as christened by Jeremy Monroe of Freshwaters Illustrated, to give one of the oldest vertebrates some due.

  • On February 10, the Corvallis Science Pub (Old World Deli, 341 2nd St.) will host Jeremy Monroe and Carl Schreck, senior fisheries scientist at Oregon State, as they discuss the issue of Pacific lamprey conservation.
  • Freshwaters Illustrated and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission will screen their short film, “The Lost Fish,” at 7 pm on February 21, as part of the Corvallis Eco-Film Fest at Odd Fellows Hall (223 SW 2nd St).
  • The Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) will host its 50th annual meeting in Eugene, Oregon, from February 25-28. Oregon, having one of the largest and most active AFS chapters, will host an entire session on the latest scientific developments of lamprey.

To clarify, the anadromous Pacific lamprey are a species of lamprey that is native to the Pacific states and provinces of North America. Oregon and Northern California alone contain over 10 identified species of lamprey, most of which are not anadromous and therefore do not leave their native freshwater streams. Most of this blog post will focus on Pacific lamprey.

Elmer Crow, a Nez Perce elder, fisherman and traditional leader. (Photo by Dave Herasimtchuk, courtesy of Freshwaters Illustrated)

Elmer Crow, a Nez Perce elder, fisherman, and traditional leader, had a large role in “The Lost Fish.” On July 26, 2013, Elmer passed away while saving his two grandsons, who had been swept into the water by an errant wake on the Snake River. Elmer died just as he lived: heroic and selfless. He was a family man, who befriended everyone he interacted with. His passion for lamprey started in the 1970s, when he began to notice declining returns in the Salmon River Basin.

Elmer was a tireless lamprey advocate. Many will remember his presence in scientific meetings, forums and tribal councils, where he was not afraid to let his voice be heard. Even as Elmer has moved onto another world, his presence and achievements will continue, as he famously worked with “no budget” and was the first to implement supplementation and translocation projects in the fight to restore Pacific lamprey. For a deeper look into the continued success of Elmer’s work, see this story in The Observer newspaper from La Grande.

Pacific lamprey have important medicinal and cultural uses to Native American tribes of the region. They are central to the cultural identity of the tribes and seen as providers of life, as well as teachers. In the Pacific Northwest, lamprey were originally called ksuyus’ or asum’. You might also hear folks refer to them as eels, based on interactions with early English speakers. As the creation story goes, the lamprey was a boastful gambler, full of confidence. The lamprey was eager to prove his superiority over others and placed a bet with the Sucker Fish, waging his scales and bones that he would beat him in a swimming race. The lamprey ultimately lost and thus lost all of his scales and bones to the Sucker, who still holds them to this day, while the lamprey remains a slow swimmer, lacking true bones and scales.

Lamprey have long been overlooked in the United States, with much of the focus on the invasive sea lamprey in the Great Lakes region. Oregon State University has played a large role in the field of lamprey conservation. Carl Bond, the founder of the OSU Ichthyology Collection, and Ph.D. student Tin Tien Kan, described the world’s smallest predatory lamprey, Miller Lake lamprey, Entosphenus minima, in 1973 using museum specimens, because the lamprey was presumed extinct from lake poisoning by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1958. Doug Markle, Bond’s successor, along with Dan Logan and Dave Simon, rediscovered Miller Lake lamprey in 1992, and with Chris Lorion, they described its expanded range outside Miller Lake. Roger Smith, an OSU graduate, wrote a Miller Lake lamprey conservation plan for ODFW in 2005 and successfully reintroduced them into Miller Lake in 2010. In 2004, Doug’s graduate student, Abel Brumo evaluated different methods for quantifying Pacific Lamprey spawning in the Coquille River in southwestern Oregon.

In the early 1990s, OSU scientists Hiram and Judy Li were the first to acknowledge the decline of Pacific lamprey, as first recognized by Native American Tribes of the Pacific Northwest and brought to light by then graduate student David Close. David has since authored studies on the ecological concerns of Pacific lamprey and their cultural importance to Native Americans. This research remains a primary  example of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) guiding western science and remains one of OSU’s “Points of Pride.”

Professor Carl Schreck laid a foundation for important ecological and physiological research on lamprey, initially working with Hiram and David. Carl currently leads projects that focus on the Willamette River Basin. The Willamette River supports one of the last traditional Native American harvest sites of Pacific lamprey at Willamette Falls. The Willamette River Basin holds a population that continues to persist despite the greater losses in adjacent basins.

Carl has advised or employed many who are strong advocates of lamprey conservation, people such as: Martin Fitzpatrick, Stacia Sower, Ben Clemens, Matt Mesa, Luke Schultz, Mariah Mayfield, Lance Wyss, Ralph Lampmann, Julia Unrein and April Lindeman. Aquatic ecologist Jason Dunham and his lab are on the cutting edge of Pacific lamprey research and have many great things in store. Have a great month of February!

For more on lamprey research, see Survivors from the Depths of Time.

Categories: OSU's Global Impact

French Conversation Group

Upcoming Events - Tue, 01/21/2014 - 5:15pm
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

What is Café-Rencontres Francophones?

An initiative of the OSU French Department, Café-Rencontres is a casual French conversation group open to members of the OSU and greater-Corvallis communities. We welcome all levels of French from beginner to native, and we enjoying speaking French in a laid-back atmosphere. It's not a class, but we help each other as we go along.

We meet upstairs at Nearly Normals - come by anytime between 4:30 and 6pm on Tuesdays.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Upcoming Events - Mon, 01/20/2014 - 5:09pm
Monday, January 20, 2014 (all day event)

The office of International Degree & Education Aborad (IDEA) will be closed in accordance with the OSU holiday schedule.

If there is an emergency, please contact OSU Public Safety at  541.737.7000.

Martin Luther King Day of Service

Upcoming Events - Sat, 01/18/2014 - 5:08pm
Saturday, January 18, 2014 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, Saturday January 18th, 2014, 8:45am to 2:30pm

The annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is about coming together to honor Dr. King's life and legacy and help further his dream for peace by serving our neighbors and communities. MLK Day is a perfect opportunity for us to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, builds bridges, breaks down barriers, addresses social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of strong, beloved communities.

Students, staff, and faculty and their children/dependents are invited to take part in this event and celebration.

7+ service projects will be offered for the 2014 event addressing diverse issue areas and including various types of projects. Pre-registration is required. Participants will assemble at McAlexander Fieldhouse on Saturday January 18th. Continental breakfast and hot tea/coffee will be provided during the check-in process and a hot lunch will be provided. The 2014 MLK Day of Service is sponsored by the Center for Civic Engagement and the Student Events and Activities Center/Community & Cultural Meal Program.

Take time to learn more about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from The King Center and the National MLK Day of Service.

Learn more and register here: http://oregonstate.edu/cce/mlk-day-service-projects.

The Danger of a Single Perspective

Upcoming Events - Thu, 01/16/2014 - 5:13pm
Thursday, January 16, 2014 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Developing your global lens by participating in an open discussion about relevant topics in which culture plays a role.

THE GOLEM (1920)

Upcoming Events - Mon, 01/13/2014 - 5:09pm
Monday, January 13, 2014 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

A free screening of the 1920 German film THE GOLEM, accompanied on the piano by Portland composer and pianist Beth Karp.


Coffee Hour

Upcoming Events - Mon, 01/13/2014 - 5:09pm
Monday, January 13, 2014 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Mingle with other OSU students while enjoying some cultural food and making new connections.

Language Matters

OSU's Global Impact - Fri, 01/10/2014 - 1:57pm

If there’s a single message in the winter 2014 issue of Terra, it’s this: Language matters. It frames our relationships and defines our culture. It affirms common interests and ways of seeing the world. If you want to get something done, using the right language can make all the difference.

I learned that lesson early. At the dinner table, my parents would occasionally shift from English to their native Dutch. It often seemed to happen close to Christmas. My sisters and I, who spoke only English, knew the conversation was not meant for our ears.

As an ethnographer in Guatemala in the 1980s, Oregon State professor Cherri Pancake learned that understanding Mayan culture required extraordinary care in how she spoke during interviews and meetings. Later, when she became a computer engineer, she applied that skill to the world of software. She and her team in the Northwest Alliance for Computational Science and Engineering interview people who use computer algorithms (the steps programmers create to accomplish a task) to make decisions about everything from forest fires to crop insurance. The language of software — vocabulary, structure, logic — matters to them.

For Kayla García, who grew up in Wisconsin, learning Spanish felt more like an act of remembering than encountering something new. The professor in the OSU School of Language, Culture and Society has her feet in both English- and Spanish-speaking worlds. Her work acts like a prism for culture. It reveals peoples’ lives in colors that speakers of other languages might otherwise never see.

Language is also at the heart of Gregg Walker’s research on international negotiations. The Law of the Sea Treaty talks were complicated enough, he says, but they pale in comparison to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In Warsaw last fall, he listened and advised as delegates parsed words to underscore what’s at stake in the climate change debate: our survival and the world as we know it.

Their stories show Oregon State’s commitment to solving problems and enriching lives.


Categories: OSU's Global Impact

Oregon State Researchers Honored for Achievements

OSU's Global Impact - Fri, 01/10/2014 - 1:55pm

Remote Sensing of the Oceans

Dudley Chelton, Distinguished Professor, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

Award: 2013 William T. Pecora Award for achievement in Earth remote sensing

Sponsoring organization: NASA and the U.S. Department of the Interior

For more than 30 years, Chelton as led efforts to improve satellite-derived measurements of the four primary ocean variables that can be sensed remotely: sea surface height, surface winds, sea surface temperature, and ocean surface biological productivity. His work has led to new hypotheses in ocean studies and has inspired many follow-up investigations by the ocean remote-sensing community.


Disease-Resistant Crops

Brett Tyler, Director of the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, College of Agricultural Sciences

Award: Friendship Award of China

Sponsoring organization: People’s Republic of China

Major advances against some of the world’s most devastating plant diseases are starting to emerge from more than a decade of international scientific collaboration led by Brett Tyler. The holder of the Stewart Chair in Gene Research at Oregon State, Tyler coordinates a worldwide research program on plant pathogens known to scientists as oomycetes.


New Chemical Elements

Walter Loveland, Professor of Nuclear Chemistry, College of Science

Award: Glenn T. Seaborg Award for Nuclear Chemistry

Sponsoring organization: American Chemical Society

Loveland has contributed to the development of experimental techniques and theoretical understanding that have led to the synthesis and discovery of new chemical elements. His research on nuclear reactions has contributed to the understanding of fusion and the stability of products that result when nuclei collide. He has also applied nuclear chemistry to track the dispersal of pollutants in the environment.


Categories: OSU's Global Impact

Flight of the Bumblebees

OSU's Global Impact - Fri, 01/10/2014 - 1:17pm

Data from OSU’s tiny wireless sensors will be used to design horticultural landscapes. The goal is to attract bumblebees to crops that depend on pollination to produce fruits and vegetables. (Photo: Lynn Ketchum)

Responding to the sting of declining honeybee populations, Oregon State University entomologists and engineers are planning to track native bumblebees with tiny sensors. Many aspects of bumblebee behavior are unknown, but better understanding may lead to bee-friendly agricultural practices, says Sujaya Rao, an entomologist in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

“Lack of pollination is a risk to human food production,” says Rao, an expert on native bees. “With our sensors, we are searching for answers to basic questions, such as: Do all members of one colony go to pollinate the same field together? Do bumblebees communicate in the colony where food is located? Are bumblebees loyal as a group?”

With support from a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rao will work with Oregon State engineering professors Patrick Chiang and Arun Natarajan to design sensors that can fit comfortably on the insects without affecting their behavior. Each sensor will consist of integrated circuits that broadcast wireless signals about the bee’s location and movement. The sensors will be powered by wireless energy transfer instead of batteries, further reducing weight and size.

“New technologies allow us to build sensors with extremely small dimensions,” says Natarajan, principal investigator in OSU’s High-Speed Integrated Circuits Lab and an assistant professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “The concept of placing wireless sensors on insects is a relatively unexplored area.”

Landscaping tactics, such as planting flowers and hedgerows near crops, are believed to promote the presence and population of bumblebees, as well as increase crop yields.

Categories: OSU's Global Impact

High Noon for Forest Fires

OSU's Global Impact - Fri, 01/10/2014 - 12:40pm

Ground fire behavior in an open Ponderosa pine stand. (Photo: Kari Greer. Courtesy of the Northern Rockies Incident Information Center.)

Decades of fire suppression have put the Ponderosa pine forests of Eastern Oregon at risk. Despite being adapted to frequent low-intensity fire, they have accumulated high fuel loads. Forest managers must decide when to let low-intensity fires burn and where to invest in costly fuel reduction treatments.

With a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Tom Dietterich, distinguished professor in the Oregon State College of Engineering, is leading a team of OSU researchers to develop computational methods for optimizing these forest management decisions. The team has developed the Oregon Centennial Fire Simulator, which predicts the consequences of management decisions over the next 100 years. With this grant, they will provide forest managers, landowners, timber-industry representatives and other stakeholders with methods for optimizing and then visualizing forest management policies. They will be able to improve those policies to address other concerns.

Dietterich and his team are also studying several problems of invasive species management. Like fire, invasive species spread across the landscape. Consequently many of the same mathematical and computational techniques can be applied to design optimal courses of action for controlling these invasions. The team will study three different invasive species that are threatening Oregon: tamarisk (salt cedar), cheatgrass and sudden oak death.

OSU collaborators include Ron Metoyer in Engineering and Claire Montgomery and Heidi Albers in the College of Forestry.

Categories: OSU's Global Impact

Where the Wild Whales Are

OSU's Global Impact - Wed, 01/08/2014 - 6:43pm

Scott Baker’s investigations of whale and dolphin DNA have taken him from Alaska’s humpback feeding grounds to the illegal marine mammal trade in Asia and an Academy Award-winning documentary. (Photo: David Baker)

Some researchers are gene hunters. They track wildlife populations by following differences and similarities in genetic profiles. Now a research team led by Scott Baker, associate director of OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute, is helping scientists visualize genetic information from individual whales across the ocean. A member of Baker’s team, Ph.D. student Dori Dick in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, is developing a suite of mapping tools and the website, geneGIS.org.

When fully operational, the software will enable researchers to browse and summarize genetic records to understand how whale populations mix and move.

“The goal is to enable researchers to visualize and study spatial patterns of genetic variability,” says Dick. “This information is important for conservation and management purposes. It could indicate that different groups of individuals require different management strategies.”

The project focuses on an international effort to track humpbacks in the North Pacific. Baker recently showed that humpbacks there constitute five distinct populations.

An example of a map created using geneGIS tools within ArcGIS to visualize the sighting locations of humpback whales from two maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages in the Gulf of Alaska. (Map courtesy of Dori Dick)

Among collaborators are two scientists at Esri, the world’s largest GIS research and development firm: software developer Shaun Walbridge and Dawn Wright, Dick’s adviser and Esri chief scientist; and scientists affiliated with the Cascadia Research Collective and the Wildbook Project, a collaborative effort to use open-source software for tracking wildlife.

On Feb. 20, Dick will lead a workshop on geneGIS tools at the OSU Fisheries and Wildlife Graduate Student Association’s annual symposium.

The Office of Naval Research provided funding support.

Categories: OSU's Global Impact

AE Winter Term Begins

Upcoming Events - Mon, 01/06/2014 - 5:09pm
Monday, January 6, 2014 (all day event)

GE Winter Session 1 Begins

Upcoming Events - Mon, 01/06/2014 - 5:09pm
Monday, January 6, 2014 (all day event)

Pathway Program Winter Term Begins

Upcoming Events - Mon, 01/06/2014 - 5:09pm
Monday, January 6, 2014 (all day event)

GE Winter Session 1 Orientation

Upcoming Events - Fri, 01/03/2014 - 5:15pm
Thursday, January 2, 2014 - Friday, January 3, 2014 (all day event)

AE Winter Term Orientation

Upcoming Events - Fri, 01/03/2014 - 5:15pm
Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - Friday, January 3, 2014 (all day event)

Pathway Program Orientation

Upcoming Events - Fri, 01/03/2014 - 5:15pm
Monday, December 30, 2013 - Friday, January 3, 2014 (all day event)

Undergraduate Pathway Programs: Business, Engineering, Exercise & Sport Science, Food Science and Technology, General, General-Liberal Arts Focus, and  Sustainable Planet  

Graduate Pathway Programs: Business

Holiday closure

Upcoming Events - Wed, 01/01/2014 - 5:10pm
Wednesday, January 1, 2014 (all day event)

The office of International Degree & Education Aborad (IDEA) will be closed in accordance with the OSU holiday schedule.

If there is an emergency, please contact OSU Public Safety at  541.737.7000.

WISE Program for Education Leadership

The Qatar Foundation's fourth annual workshop supports new higher education leaders from 17 developing countries.