- Associate Provost Int'l Programs
- Int'l Degree & Education Abroad
- Int'l Student Advising & Services
- Int'l Scholar & Faculty Services
Come learn more about SEA Semester at Woods Hole, a field-based study
abroad program open to all majors! Our epic voyages of discovery to Europe, the Caribbean, Polynesia, and Oceania combine the tall ship sailing experience of a lifetime with academic coursework to earn OSU academic credits.
Pizza lunch provided!
For more information on SEA Semester programs, visit: http://oregonstate.edu/international/studyabroad/programs/sea-semester
Come learn more about SEA Semester at Woods Hole, a field-based study
abroad program open to all majors! Our epic voyages of discovery to Europe, the Caribbean, Polynesia, and Oceania combine the tall ship sailing experience of a lifetime with academic coursework to earn OSU credits.
For more information, visit: http://oregonstate.edu/international/studyabroad/programs/sea-semester
Please see the IDEA website for all other application deadlines: http://oregonstate.edu/international/studyabroad/apply/deadlines/osu
Students interested in studying abroad must complete all of the steps outlined on this page prior to submitting an application: http://oregonstate.edu/international/studyabroad/students
If you have any questions, contact IDEA international ambassadors.
Café-Rencontres Francophones, an initiative of the OSU French Department, 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 :-)
Please pass this message on to your fellow Francophone / Francophile friends.
If you'd like to be removed from this list, please email us to let us know.
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PLEASE NOTE: In order for a scholarship application to be considered, students must complete their AHA program application by the scholarship deadline. This includes submitting the application essays, two references, and transcript(s).
Join other students, faculty and staff for group walks around campus and the surrounding neighborhoods during the lunch hour. We meet at 12:00 p.m. each Monday at Student Health Services (Plageman Building) near the east entrance and walk for approximately 45 minutes. We walk rain or shine, so bring an umbrella or jacket if it's raining!
For more information about Beaver Strides, go to http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/beaverstrides
IIE will lead a discussion on Internationalizing Higher Education through Scholarship Programs at the CAIE conference in Mexico.
This Pre-Departure Orientation is intended for students who have completed the application process for an IE3 internship, and are preparing to depart for their internship. Plan to come dressed in business casual attire for orientation.
Supported by a Fulbright Grant, Richard spent 2012-2013 living in Warsaw, Poland where he taught library science courses at the University of Warsaw and lectured throughout Poland and the Czech Republic. He also collected amber by the Baltic Sea, drank Polish chocolate, and tried – sometimes successfully - to speak Polish. Richard will talk about his professional and personal experiences in what is sure to be an enlightening and entertaining presentation. Please join us!
On a warm afternoon last summer in the hills west of Corvallis, three Oregon State University students went hiking in the McDonald-Dunn Forest when they became “lost.” A few scattered belongings — a backpack, shoes, a shirt — marked their trail in an emergency response exercise. Rather than send out a full-scale operation on foot in the steep terrain, a rescue team launched an unmanned aerial vehicle, the suitcase-sized Vapor made by Pulse Aerospace of Lakewood, Colorado. With all the whoosh and whir of an electric lawnmower, it hovered over the hills, took thermal-infrared and visible-light photos and sent back a video stream to a laptop in an SUV parked in a clearing.
The results showed that aerial devices can effectively assist in an emergency. While concerns over privacy have driven much of the recent public debate in Oregon and elsewhere, such machines are proving their worth in fighting forest fires, managing farm fields and monitoring the environment. Most people call them drones. Insiders call them unmanned aerial systems (UAS). In any case, they are likely to transform our use of the skies in the near future.
Oregon has been recognized for more than a decade as a hotbed of UAS development, says Belinda Batten, Oregon State engineering professor and a former program officer for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. That reputation began with Insitu, a company in the Columbia River Gorge. “Insitu is one of the global leaders in these autonomous vehicles,” says Batten. “Because of them being where they are, there’s an entire supply chain in the Hood River area: component pieces, the avionics, cameras, autopilots. The motors are being made at Northwest UAV in McMinnville.” Additional UAS companies are located in Central Oregon, including Kawak Aviation Technologies and PARADIGM.
Commercial UAS flights are currently illegal, but the Federal Aviation Administration allows research testing with a permit, known as a Certificate of Authority. PARADIGM, a Bend startup, has arranged for FAA approvals and facilitated projects for OSU, including the search-and-rescue operation in the McDonald-Dunn Forest and a summer-long analysis of potato fields in Hermiston.
Now, as the federal government plans to open the nation’s airspace to planes without a live pilot onboard — whether operated by software or a person in a distant control station — Oregon State is partnering with businesses, economic development organizations and state government to create an Unmanned Vehicle System Research Consortium. OSU scientists, engineers and students are testing UAS over potato fields, vineyards, forests, beaches and ocean waters. Inspired by bat wings and butterflies, they are designing new aircraft with lightweight carbon composites, sensors and flexible membranes.
Researchers hope to grow an industry that developed largely for military applications and already employs more than 400 people in Oregon. It has an annual statewide economic impact estimated at $81 million, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, AUVSI.
Michael Wing, the appropriately named OSU coordinator of the research consortium, is developing cooperative UAS research projects with two Oregon companies: Portland-based HoneyComb Corp., which designs systems for agriculture and natural resource management; and VDOS LLC of Corvallis, which focuses on the environmental, military and humanitarian applications of UAS.
“For HoneyComb, partnering with OSU means that we have the support of research programs operating under authority of the FAA,” says Ryan Jenson, CEO and co-founder. VDOS conducts manned and unmanned aerial flights in Alaska and other parts of the Pacific Rim, says Seth Johnson, the company’s UAS manager who anticipates collaborating on technology and educational opportunities such as student internships.
Northwest UAV has already embarked on research with OSU aimed at increasing the fuel efficiency of its UAS motors, and at least one new business has emerged from the university through the Oregon State Advantage Accelerator program. Michael Williams, a junior in the College of Business, has created Multicopter Northwest to market his aerial platform to professional photographers and filmmakers.
While the technology grows in capabilities and cost, Oregon State’s Aerial Information Systems Lab aims to demonstrate that powerful robotic planes can be affordable. “Unmanned aerial systems are now becoming available at prices well below $2,000,” says Wing, the lab’s director, an expert in remote sensing and an assistant professor in the College of Forestry. “Coupled with light-weight sensors, UAS are capable of capturing high-resolution imagery that can support natural resource management, disaster response and search-and-rescue operations.
“What’s new and exciting is the flexibility of flights and the ability to get close to the ground with our higher-end sensors. If we have an object that is an inch-and-a-half across (about the size of a golf ball), we could tell its location. That’s a pretty fine level of detail.”
In the lab, Wing and a team of grad students assemble planes with off-the-shelf components: a Zephyr II delta-wing (a plane composed entirely of a wing-shaped structure) made of rigid foam, painted Beaver orange and measuring nearly five feet from wingtip to wingtip; a Canon point-and-shoot camera; an autopilot the size of a credit card; an 11.1-volt lithium-polymer battery. He has flown these machines over the Oregon State campus and even demonstrated one to a UAS conference in Turkey, hosted by an Oregon State alumnus, Abdullah Akay (‘98 master’s and ‘03 Ph.D. in Forest Engineering).
Last summer, concerns over privacy led the Legislature to establish new standards for UAS in Oregon. At the same time, it approved a $900,000 shot-in-the-arm to the Oregon Innovation Council for a new Unmanned Aerial Systems Enterprise center in Bend. Rick Spinrad, OSU vice president for research, chairs the board for the new center.
“This is going to be a billion dollar industry,” says Mitch Swecker, director of the Oregon Aviation Department. “One of the governor’s priorities is jobs and innovation, and as a state agency, one of our priorities is to help promote economic development.” To advance that goal, the state and OSU have joined with Alaska and Hawaii in a proposal to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to create a national UAS test site. In a related but separate effort, Oregon State has joined a national coalition of 12 universities to coordinate a multidisciplinary research program. OSU’s focus, says Wing, would be environmental monitoring.
If these initiatives succeed, UAS will routinely help manage farm fields, survey wildlife, provide up-to-the-minute progress reports on wildfires and enter disaster zones where humans would be at risk (think of the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant). They may also carry much of the nation’s airborne cargo.
Eyes on Potatoes
OSU researchers are already helping to lay the groundwork for this vision by testing commercial UAS across the state’s diverse terrain.Seeing the Planet
From satellites, balloons, high-altitude surveillance planes and even a two-seater Cessna, Oregon State scientists have been gathering data on the planet for nearly a half century.
In Eastern Oregon, at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC) and over nearby private farmland, agronomists are collecting data from two systems: the Unicorn, a delta-wing shaped plane from Procerus Technologies in Utah; and the Hawkeye made by California-based Tetracam, which uses a type of parachute known as a paraglider. These machines fly different kinds of aerial patterns and are equipped with infrared and visible-light cameras, enabling researchers to determine which arrangements collect field data most effectively.
Disease, moisture and growth problems can vary from plant to plant and across the field, says Phil Hamm, HAREC director. “The key is to pick up plants that are just beginning to show stress so you can find a solution quickly, so the grower doesn’t have any reduced yield or quality issues,” he said in an OSU news release last spring.
Farmers across the country have used aerial photos for crop management for many years, but UAS could provide more detail at lower cost. “If I’m farming, I’m not interested in the healthy plants,” adds Hamm. “I need to use that imagery to see where the problems are.”
Higher resolution is the key, says Don Horneck, OSU Extension agronomist. “You can fly the UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) low enough that you can get 1 millimeter resolution, and you can actually look at an individual leaf in the field,” he told the online magazine PrecisionAg.
Pests in the Vineyard
In late summer, as the days get cooler, wine grapes get sweeter, and the harvest in Oregon’s vineyards launches into high gear. But humans are not the only ones watching the crop with an eagle eye. In some years, birds (robins, starlings, crows) cause extensive damage as they feast on the ripening fruit.
Vineyard managers take a variety of countermeasures. They install nets, fire shotgun blasts and flash laser lights. Despite their efforts, about 65 percent of the state’s vineyards lost up to 11 percent of their crops in 2010 and 2011.
What if UAS could deter the birds, save grapes, reduce labor costs and lower the neighbors’ stress? In 2011, two OSU alumni, Dick Evans (‘69 Engineering) and Gretchen Evans (‘69 Elementary Education) sponsored an engineering project to answer that question. They own a vineyard in the hills west of Junction City. With guidance from John Parmigiani, OSU mechanical engineer, two student teams came up with different approaches. One designed an aircraft to deploy reflective streamers and laser lights. The other developed a plane inspired by the birds’ natural fear of predators. It mimics the look and behavior of a Cooper’s hawk, a skillful flier whose dark cap and long, thin, rounded tail distinguish it from other hawks.
In the fall of 2012, the students tested their planes in the Evans’ vineyard. Members of each team stood watch at the corners to record pest birds flying into and out of the vineyard. As they launched their airplanes, the students captured the scene on video to document how well their UAS worked.
As often happens in research, the results were inconclusive. “To make a long story short,” says Parmigiani, “it wasn’t a bad year for birds. We got some action but not nearly as much as the year before. Based on our data, you couldn’t conclude that firing off shotguns worked either. It appears that at a certain time in the morning, the birds just stopped being active.”
Not to be deterred, Parmigiani and the Evanses decided to give the students’ designs another chance. They are planning a broader study with more vineyards, contrasting the UAS and other approaches to reducing the loss of grapes.
Bat Wings and Butterflies
Light-as-a-feather, fiber-reinforced carbon composites give Roberto Albertani an edge in designing unusual aircraft: micro air vehicles that you can hold in the palm of your hand. Such fliers could respond to disasters inside buildings or collect data under tree canopies. To design them, the OSU mechanical engineer studies how they interact with the air. And for that, he relies on a common cooking ingredient: olive oil.
In a room the size of a walk-in closet, he sprays a fine oil mist into the air. At the same time, air blows out of a device that looks like a hair dryer and moves over and under a test aircraft anchored to a platform. The air may be invisible, but lasers illuminate the airborne olive oil particles, telling the researcher where the air speeds up or eddies as it moves across the wings. High-speed cameras capture the action at 500 frames per second.
“Ultimately we design something that we can build,” Albertani says, “something that can be manufactured in large numbers.”
Albertani, an expert in composite materials, co-holds two patents for micro air vehicles. He demonstrates one of them by taking a sleek, black airplane off the top of a filing cabinet and wrapping the wings under the fuselage into a package you could put in your coat pocket. Take it out, and the wings snap back into position, ready to fly.
Equipped with a video camera, such a plane could fly over nearby terrain and relay images back to the sender. “If you’re fighting a fire in the forest, you could throw this into the air and get a look at everything around you,” he says.
To understand how micro air vehicles should be designed, Albertani looks to nature — in this case, bat wings. He picks up another plane about the size of a coffee cup. In the middle of its slick carbon-fiber wing surface sits a thin latex skin like a patch over a hole. As air moves over the wing, he explains, the latex can flex to add lift and maneuverability. The idea came from Peter Ifju, a windsurfer and Albertani’s Ph.D. adviser at the University of Florida.
In a separate project, Oregon State students worked with Belinda Batten to understand how bats control flight through cells on their wings. With funding from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, they used engineering principles to show that some cells sense air-pressure changes. Moreover, the cells are linked to muscles that course through the wing. The result of this natural design — a system that engineers call “co-located actuators and sensors” — is familiar to anyone who has marveled at bats as they dart after insects at dusk. Without the familiar control structures we see on airplanes, bats’ flexible membrane wings demonstrate dramatic agility.
Albertani is also studying the flight behavior of butterflies. “Butterflies are incredibly interesting fliers,” he says. “They have low wing loading, which means they are very light and have a high wing surface. It makes the flier intrinsically slow. Nevertheless, they can dash fast and are very agile. They can maneuver in small spaces.”
Albertani continues to develop his designs and to test them in OSU’s wind tunnel. He also advises the student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, which competes in an annual DBF (design, build, fly) competition.
More Than Transportation
Barely a century after the Wright Brothers learned how to control flight, the technology that has given us access to the heavens is now becoming smaller, less expensive and combined with sensors and software that enable it to do more than transport people and cargo. UAS can lower risks to fire fighters, reduce the cost of collecting data on wildlife and natural resources and help find lost hikers in the woods.
OSU researchers are already using them to gather environmental data. Geophysicist Rob Holman has flown UAS for beach monitoring and measurement, and Christoph Thomas, a professor of atmospheric sciences, plans to use an “Oktocopter” (a UAV powered by eight rotor blades) in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica.
However, before UAS become more common in our skies, social and technical problems remain to be solved. “If there is one lesson that can be gleaned from this nation’s aeronautic history,” says Wing, “It is that these difficult challenges can only be answered by facilitating increased research and innovation in the burgeoning UAS industry.”
This story begins with an entrepreneur – a citizen scientist living in the timber town of Philomath, an outdoorsman, fisherman and organic farmer of Dutch and Blackfeet ancestry who’s hell-bent on healing an ailing Earth. A few years ago, his longtime quest for planetary remedies began to take form as a towering furnace built with castoff parts and a gasifier once owned by a Y2K doomsday cult. The 20-foot-tall furnace looks more like a tinker’s collection of rusty metal than an invention for the future of the planet. But in this Rube Goldberg contraption, John Miedema is turning forest and farm waste into promising new products – products that could help revive rural Oregon economies, keep contaminants out of rivers, store carbon in soils, and even save the fragile peat bogs of Canada.
To push that vision, he is collaborating with scientists and students just over the hill at Oregon State University – researchers with expertise in subjects ranging from horticulture and engineering to forestry, hydrology, soil science and natural resources. Together, the university researchers and the dogged entrepreneur are studying “biochar,” woody waste (such as tree bark or nutshells) that has been heated at very high temperatures in an oxygen-free furnace like the one Miedema built. Scientists call the process “pyrolysis.”
In essence, biochars are chunks or shards of solidified carbon full of tiny air pockets. Besides locking up carbon that would otherwise contribute to greenhouse gasses, they can serve as containers to hold beneficial things added to soils (like water and microbes) or remove harmful things from storm water and industrial sites (like heavy metals and other toxins). As a bonus, energy generated during the conversion can be captured and used onsite.
In the Northwest, where tons of biomass rots in forests or burns in slash piles, the conversion of waste into clean energy and marketable products is an environmental and economic win-win.
Miedema unscrews a giant mason jar and tips it up, pouring a pile of shiny black chunks into his hand. With the naked eye, it looks like the remnants of a campfire. But a closer view reveals the properties that have inspired a big biochar buzz across the Pacific Northwest and around the world. Under a powerful microscope, biochar sometimes resembles a honeycomb, other times bubble wrap or a sea sponge. Its internal structure differs, depending on whether it started out as Douglas fir bark, hazelnut shells, corncobs or some other “feedstock.” Temperature, too, alters its structure, contributing to biochar’s astounding porosity. Its millions of micro- and nano-pores form “an elegant matrix,” in the words of OSU forestry instructor David Smith, whose students have investigated storm water filtration markets for biochar.
“If you look under an electron microscope, what you see is the inherent structure of the plant – all the cell walls and all these internal galleries,” says Miedema, who founded the Pacific Northwest Biochar Initiative in 2009 – a “brain trust” of academics, researchers, engineers, foresters, farmers, policy experts and business leaders interested in moving biochar forward in the region.
Those “internal galleries” can take up and hold enormous amounts of water as well as minerals, nutrients, microbes and pollutants. Oregon State researchers are studying ways to make practical use of this super-porosity by creating “designer chars” – chars that are “artfully prepared” with special properties aimed at specific uses.
One of those uses is environmental cleanup. Biochar can absorb pollutants in storm water before dangerous metals like zinc (from roofs) and copper (from brake pads) flow into streams and rivers. “Copper is particularly troublesome because it’s been shown to be toxic to juvenile salmon,” says OSU’s Jeff Nason, a professor in Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. “These are Endangered Species Act types of considerations.” Nason, who works with the Oregon Department of Transportation on ways to remove copper from storm water, is looking into biochar. His lab has hooked up with Miedema to begin testing char as a “low-cost alternative” to more expensive materials such as activated carbon. Cities, too, are taking notice. Corvallis, for instance, is experimenting with biochars in bioswales, which are shallow hollows in urban landscapes designed to capture and filter storm water.
Another use for biochar is in potting mixes. With funding from the national Sun Grant Initiative, Professor Markus Kleber in Crop and Soil Science is testing various biochars for their potential to replace peat moss as a potting medium in the greenhouse and nursery industry, Oregon’s top agricultural sector with sales of nearly $700 million. Peat, harvested from pristine bogs in Canada, the British Isles, Russia and other northern climes, is costly both in dollars and environmental damage. Biochars promise a cheaper, local alternative, says Kleber. He and his graduate student Myles Gray have analyzed the water-holding capacity of chars made of Doug fir (more porous) and filbert nuts (less porous) that have been heated to temperatures ranging from 300 to 700 degrees Celsius. They found that higher-temperature chars have more surface area and therefore hold more water.
Also, with funding from the OSU Agricultural Research Foundation, Kleber is designing a biochar to substitute for another horticultural standby, vermiculite, which is mined overseas and requires high-energy inputs during processing. “Vermiculite puts heavy loads on the environment,” says Kleber. Finally, researcher John Lambrinos in horticulture is investigating biochar as a lightweight water-retention medium for green roofs.
The grandson of a Dutch dairy farmer, John Miedema saw his favorite childhood fishing holes in Marysville, Washington, gradually turn green and gunky as the herd where his grandad worked grew from 50 head to 500. The blighted streams bothered him enough as a young man that he abandoned dairy farming and went to sea, purse-seining for salmon, long-lining for black cod and halibut. On the boat, he read a lot – Buckminster Fuller’s Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, E.F. Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful. The same summer he read Isaac Asimov’s The Ends of the Earth about the melting icecaps and warming seas, he was fishing off southeast Alaska. One day, the crew hauled up something in the net that scared him. “We had a school of mackerel and a couple of sunfish,” he recalls. “I’d never seen those species in our nets before. I started asking around to the guys that had been fishing the longest, and nobody had seen those species before.” To him, it felt as if he had stared into the face of global warming.
Later on as he browsed the Internet, his mind awash with ideas about systems theory and his heart full of alarm over Earth’s peril, he Googled “carbon.” Up popped “biochar.” He had found his sustainability grail.
Starker Forests and Thompson Timber, where Miedema was by then the director of biomass energy, invested in his biochar venture, footing the bill for the furnace fabrication at a defunct mill in Philomath. It wasn’t long before he was charring 100 pounds of biomass an hour and reaching out to OSU scientists to test its structural and chemical properties.
Meanwhile, the community of char-minded folks around the region was growing faster than fireweed, everyone communicating through a burgeoning listserv. In 2009, biochar was a hot topic at a series of workshops on bio-based products held in Tillamook, Klamath Falls and Pendleton. Put on jointly by OSU’s Institute for Natural Resources and Oregon BEST (Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center) to catalyze new markets for Oregon’s sagging rural economies, the workshops brought together researchers, wood products companies, local governments, tribal representatives and others to brainstorm and strategize about new uses for woody biomass. “I came away with a concrete funding opportunity that could enable Douglas County to purchase a $350,000 piece of mobile equipment that converts biomass at logging sites into the right type of chips for biofuels and biochar,” reported Douglas County Commissioner Joseph Laurance. Other participants left the workshops eager to get more scientific findings on biochar, including data on carbon sequestration, soil amendments, pyrolysis technologies and the economics of transporting biomass versus processing it onsite.
“Designer biochar” might sound like the pinnacle of 21st-century eco-technology. But humans have known the potent properties of burnt wood for 2,000 years, since the indigenous people of the Amazon Basin discovered an incredible boost to fertility in soils enriched with char and other organic wastes. The Portuguese later called this engineered soil terra preta, “black earth.” In Japan and Korea, farmers have long enriched their soils with charcoal.“I’ve Never Been So Excited”
Meghana Rao, a senior at Jesuit High School in Portland, studied biochar with Oregon State Professor Markus Kleber. Last spring, she discussed her findings with President Barack Obama.
“Biochar is a new twist on an old concept,” notes David Smith. “It’s an opportunity for upgrading wood waste, for turning low-grade materials into high-value products that can boost rural economies. But before we can take it to market, there are a zillion performance questions to be answered – questions about feedstocks, particle size and so forth – along with standards and specifications to be developed.”
One question has to do with water flow. While scientists know that biochar captures pollutants along with storm water, they don’t yet know how well that water flows through those biochars.
“When storm water occurs, we get a whole lot of it all at once,” says OSU hydrologist Todd Jarvis. “If you can’t get the water through the medium efficiently, it’s not going to be worthwhile for storm water treatment.” So last year, he and chemical engineering professor Christine Kelly worked with student Perry Morrow to design hydraulic experiments based on Darcy’s Law, an equation for describing the flow of a fluid through a porous medium. “We were looking at the physical hydraulics – the flow rates – of biochar,” says Jarvis, who directs the Institute of Water and Watersheds at Oregon State. “How much water can go through it in gallons per minute, cubic feet per second? Is it laminar flow, or is it turbulent flow? Are flow rates a function of the size of the biochar? The shape? The compressibility?”
Miedema stands in the long shadow of his towering furnace when a van pulls up and several people pile out. A couple more cars straggle in, a few more people join the group. “I love biochar!” one man, a farmer, says during introductions. “I’ve never heard of it,” a woman admits. They’ve come to Philomath from Oregon Tilth in Corvallis, Organic Materials Review Institute in Eugene and the Corvallis Parks Department “peer learning group” for sustainable landscaping to hear Miedema talk about biochar and assess its suitability for gardening and organic farming.
Squinting in the summer sun, they watch and listen as Miedema tells the story of biochar while showing off his furnace. “I can produce a wicked amount of heat,” he says, pointing out the throttles and valves that control temperature. “It gets orange-hot in there.” When he comes to the part about biochar’s longevity in soils – it takes 500 to 1,000 years before microbes break it down and release the stored carbon – he brings the talk around to climate change, to Asimov’s prescient book from 1975 that first alerted him to the looming threat. The carbon in biochar, he says, lasts for centuries sequestered in the soil. In this way, biomass becomes a means of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere instead of letting it become a greenhouse gas during rotting or burning.
“Biochar,” he says, “has very good uses for humans and the environment, for bettering our health and for cleaning up the legacy of toxins we’ve left behind. We have a lot of work to do to clean up that legacy.”
“The margin between life and death in the forest can be rather small,” says Oregon State climate scientist Philip Mote. As wildfires widen, insects invade and drought deepens, the razor-thin margin for tree survival becomes ever thinner.
A five-year, $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will speed the search for answers — and solutions — to the ever-growing threats to forest health. Researchers at the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, which Mote directs, will use enhanced computer models to project forest vulnerability to fire and disease across Western forests. Their work will help inform forest management practices and minimize tree mortality as temperatures rise in coming decades.
What is the sound of an iceberg disintegrating? Would you believe it’s as loud as a hundred supertankers plying the open seas? OSU scientists were astounded recently when they listened to recordings of an iceberg that had formed in Antarctica, floated into the open ocean, and eventually melted and broke apart. Scientists have dubbed this phenomenon an “icequake.”
“The process and ensuing sounds are much like those produced by earthquakes,” explains marine geologist Robert Dziak, who has monitored ocean sounds using hydrophones for nearly two decades. The researchers want to establish the natural sound levels in the world’s oceans to better understand how noise from drilling, shipping and other human activities fits in and how it affects marine life.