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OSU celebrates legacy of Martin Luther King with month of events

Fri, 01/10/2014 - 10:19am
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Oregon State University’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration begins Monday, Jan. 13, with the theme “Uniting Our Powerful Voices.” Events continue through Jan. 24.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration begins Monday, Jan. 13, with the theme “Uniting Our Powerful Voices.” Events continue through Jan. 24.

The month-long celebration kicks off Monday with a celebration in the Memorial Union Quad from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be music and refreshments, information on events, promotional items, and more.

OSU’s celebration is one of the oldest continuous MLK events in the state. It is organized each year by a group of OSU community members convened by the Office of Equity and Inclusion. The events are open to the public and most are free.

The highlights of the two-week celebration include a musical event, Music of Hope and Resistance, Jan. 16, 5 p.m., at the Native American Longhouse; Our Powerful Voices in Action Conference for social change from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 17, in the Longhouse and Memorial Union; and the annual MLK Day of Service, Jan. 18, 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m., an opportunity to participate in one of 11 community projects during the day.

The annual Peace Breakfast at 9 a.m., Jan. 20, will feature presentation of the Phyllis S. Lee & Frances Dancy Hooks Coalition Builder Awards. Walidah Imarisha, an educator, writer, poet and organizer, is keynote speaker.

Tickets will be available at the door, but organizers advise patrons to buy tickets in advance from the MU Information Desk, as the event regularly sells out. Tickets are on sale for $10 for general admission and $6 for students; children ages 5-and-under will be admitted free. Call 541-737-4379 for more information. 

This is the 32nd year of the celebration at OSU.

For more information and a full schedule of events see http://oregonstate.edu/oei/mlk-events and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OSUMLKcelebration

Generic OSU Media Contact:  Theresa Hogue Source: 

Chris Lenn, 541-737-4379; chris.lenn@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

OSU, city’s MLK commission bring peace activist John Hunter to Corvallis

Fri, 01/10/2014 - 9:57am
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Oregon State University and the city of Corvallis will celebrate peace and the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr., in late January with a series of events.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University and the city of Corvallis will celebrate peace and the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr., in late January with a series of events coordinated by OSU and the city’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Commission.

John Hunter, author, filmmaker, educator and TED Talk participant, will deliver the annual Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Annual Peace Lecture, which will be held in Milam Auditorium at OSU on Thursday, Jan. 23, beginning at 7 p.m. His talk, “The Seeds of Peace Tomorrow are in the Children of Today,” will focus on Hunter’s work with elementary students and his creation of a World Peace Game, which he uses as an interdisciplinary classroom tool.

The World Peace Game has been hailed as a tool for peace by institutions ranging from the United States Pentagon to the United Nations.

A film screening of the documentary “World Peace and Other Fourth Grade Achievements” will take place on Jan. 22, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Majestic Theatre in downtown Corvallis. The film focuses on Hunter’s work with his fourth grade class as the students discover that they share a deep interest in taking care of the world and each other. 

The screening also will include a welcome by Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning and the announcement of this year’s City of Corvallis Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Commission scholarship winners.

For more information on the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Annual Peace Lecture,  http://oregonstate.edu/cla/pauling-memorial-lectures/

Generic OSU Media Contact:  Theresa Hogue Source: 

Joseph Orosco, 541-737-4335; joseph.orosco@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

OSU Board of Trustees elects initial leadership

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 6:11pm
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The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Thursday unanimously elected Patricia “Pat” Reser of Beaverton, Ore., as initial chairwoman.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees, in its first meeting since being confirmed by the Oregon Senate in November, on Thursday unanimously elected Patricia “Pat” Reser of Beaverton, Ore., as initial chairwoman.

The board also voted Darald “Darry” Callahan of San Rafael, Calif., as initial vice-chairman. The positions are being listed as “initial” until the board becomes official under state law on July 1.

Reser is board chair of Reser’s Fine Foods, Inc., a family-owned fresh refrigerated food company. A retired employee of the Beaverton School District, she is one of three co-chairs of OSU’s Capital Campaign Steering Committee and is serving her third term as an OSU Foundation Trustee.

Callahan is former president of Chevron Chemical Company, and served as executive vice president of Power, Chemicals and Technology for ChevronTexaco Corp. from 2001 until his retirement in 2003. He is a former chair of the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees also created three initial committees:

  • The Academic Strategies Committee will be chaired by Paul Kelly of Portland; Orcilia Zúñiga Forbes of Portland is vice chair;
  • The Finance and Administration Committee will be chaired by Kirk Schueler of Bend; Elson Floyd of Pullman, Wash., is vice chair;
  • The Executive and Audit Committee will be chaired by Reser; Callahan is vice chair.

The board approved Meg Reeves, OSU’s general counsel, as board secretary. It also approved a series of bylaws guiding its actions.

Steve Clark, vice president for University Relations and Marketing at OSU, said the primary purpose of this first meeting of the board has been to orient the board with the university, introduce the members to their roles and responsibilities, and allow them to get acquainted with one another.

The board meeting will continue on Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the CH2M-Hill Alumni Center.

More information about the OSU Board of Trustees is available online at: http://oregonstate.edu/leadership/trustees

Generic OSU Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Steve Clark, 541-737-3808; steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

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Pat Reser

 


Darry Callahan and
OSU President Ed Ray

Categories: Research news

Loss of large carnivores poses global conservation problem

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 7:12pm
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A new analysis reveals that the world is developing "hotspots" of decline in several species of large carnivorous predators, with significant repercussions on ecosystem function.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – In ecosystems around the world, the decline of large predators such as lions, dingoes, wolves, otters, and bears is changing the face of landscapes from the tropics to the Arctic – but an analysis of 31 carnivore species to be published Friday in the journal Science shows for the first time how threats such as habitat loss, persecution by humans and loss of prey combine to create global hotspots of carnivore decline.

More than 75 percent of the 31 large-carnivore species are declining, and 17 species now occupy less than half of their former ranges, the authors reported.

Southeast Asia, southern and East Africa and the Amazon are among areas in which multiple large carnivore species are declining. With some exceptions, large carnivores have already been exterminated from much of the developed world, including Western Europe and the eastern United States.

“Globally, we are losing our large carnivores,” said William Ripple, lead author of the paper and a professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University.

“Many of them are endangered,” he said. “Their ranges are collapsing. Many of these animals are at risk of extinction, either locally or globally. And, ironically, they are vanishing just as we are learning about their important ecological effects.”

Ripple and colleagues from the United States, Australia, Italy and Sweden called for an international initiative to conserve large predators in coexistence with people. They suggested that such an effort be modeled on the Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe, a nonprofit scientific group affiliated with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The researchers reviewed published scientific reports and singled out seven species that have been studied for their widespread ecological effects or “trophic cascades.” This includes African lions, leopards, Eurasian lynx, cougars, gray wolves, sea otters and dingoes.

Ripple and his Oregon State co-author Robert Beschta have documented impacts of cougars and wolves on the regeneration of forest stands and riparian vegetation in Yellowstone and other national parks in North America. Fewer predators, they have found, lead to an increase in browsing animals such as deer and elk. More browsing disrupts vegetation, shifts birds and small mammals and changes other parts of the ecosystem in a widespread cascade of impacts.

Studies of Eurasian lynx, dingoes, lions and sea otters have found similar effects, the authors reported.

Lynx have been closely tied to the abundance of roe deer, red fox and hare. In Australia, the construction of a 3,400-mile dingo-proof fence has enabled scientists to study ecosystems with and without the animals, which are closely related to gray wolves. In some parts of Africa, the decrease of lions and leopards has coincided with a dramatic increase in olive baboons, which threaten farm crops and livestock. In the waters off southeast Alaska, a decline in sea otters through killer whale predation has led to a rise in sea urchins and loss of kelp beds.

The authors call for a deeper understanding of the impact of large carnivores on ecosystems, a view that they trace back to the work of landmark ecologist Aldo Leopold. The classic concept that predators are harmful and deplete fish and wildlife is outdated, they said. Scientists and wildlife managers need to recognize a growing body of evidence for the complex roles that carnivores play in ecosystems and for their social and economic benefits.

Leopold recognized such relationships between predators and ecosystems, Ripple said, but his observations on that point were largely ignored for decades after his death in 1948.

“Human tolerance of these species is a major issue for conservation,” Ripple said. “We say these animals have an intrinsic right to exist, but they are also providing economic and ecological services that people value.”

Among the services that have been documented in other studies are carbon sequestration, riparian restoration, biodiversity and disease control.

Where large carnivores have been restored — such as wolves in Yellowstone or Eurasian lynx in Finland — ecosystems have responded quickly, said Ripple. “I am impressed with how resilient the Yellowstone ecosystem is. It isn’t happening quickly everywhere, but in some places, ecosystem restoration has started there.”

In those cases, where loss of vegetation has led to soil erosion, for example, full restoration in the near term may not be possible, he said.

“Nature is highly interconnected,” said Ripple. “The work at Yellowstone and other places shows how one species affects another and another through different pathways. It’s humbling as a scientist to see the interconnectedness of nature.”

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College of Forestry Media Contact:  Nick Houtman Source: 

Bill Ripple, 541-737-3056

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Leopard



Dingo



Gray Wolf



Sea Otter



Eurasian Lynx



Puma


African Lion

Categories: Research news

Hundreds of small farmers to gather at annual OSU conference

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 9:37am
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CORVALLIS, Ore. – Hundreds of farmers from throughout Oregon will gather in Corvallis this winter to improve their skills and get inspired for the next growing season. The 14th annual Oregon Small Farms Conference will take place Feb. 22 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Oregon State University.

Michael Ableman, a nationally known farmer, author and photographer, will present the keynote address. For the first time, organizers are offering a special series of workshops in Spanish for Latino farmers. In the past the conference has provided translators for particular workshops already offered in English. Also new is a workshop on profitability for small farms.

Registration costs $45 per person until Feb. 2, then increases to $65 per person from Feb. 3-14 and $100 per person on the day of the conference – if space is still available. Organizers will cap attendance at 800 people. In the past, the popular conference has surpassed 800 attendees, said Garry Stephenson, the coordinator of OSU's Small Farms Program, which organizes the event.

"I think there's a huge social aspect to the conference – for a lot of people, this is the only time of year they get to see each other, so there's a lot of interaction and networking," said Stephenson. "We also bring in speakers who challenge people to think differently and offer a variety of workshops."

This year, attendees can register for specific workshops. The conference features 24 workshops in three concurrent sessions, as well as a lunch prepared with locally produced food. Workshops include financing a farm, growing quinoa in the Northwest, selling produce to schools and hospitals, transitioning to organic agriculture and health insurance options for farmers.

The conference is geared toward farmers, agriculture professionals, food policy advocates, students and managers of farmers markets.

For more information and to register, go to http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/sfc.

Extension Service Media Contact:  Denise Ruttan Source: 

Garry Stephenson, 541-737-5833

Categories: Research news

New compounds discovered that are hundreds of times more mutagenic

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 4:32pm
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Novel compounds have been discovered that may be extremely mutagenic, produced by such processes as automobile combustion or grilling meat.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered novel compounds produced by certain types of chemical reactions – such as those found in vehicle exhaust or grilling meat - that are hundreds of times more mutagenic than their parent compounds which are known carcinogens.

These compounds were not previously known to exist, and raise additional concerns about the health impacts of heavily-polluted urban air or dietary exposure. It’s not yet been determined in what level the compounds might be present, and no health standards now exist for them.

The findings were published in December in Environmental Science and Technology, a professional journal.

The compounds were identified in laboratory experiments that mimic the type of conditions which might be found from the combustion and exhaust in cars and trucks, or the grilling of meat over a flame.

“Some of the compounds that we’ve discovered are far more mutagenic than we previously understood, and may exist in the environment as a result of heavy air pollution from vehicles or some types of food preparation,” said Staci Simonich, a professor of chemistry and toxicology in the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences.

“We don’t know at this point what levels may be present, and will explore that in continued research,” she said.

The parent compounds involved in this research are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, formed naturally as the result of almost any type of combustion, from a wood stove to an automobile engine, cigarette or a coal-fired power plant. Many PAHs, such as benzopyrene, are known to be carcinogenic, believed to be more of a health concern that has been appreciated in the past, and are the subject of extensive research at OSU and elsewhere around the world.

The PAHs can become even more of a problem when they chemically interact with nitrogen to become “nitrated,” or NPAHs, scientists say. The newly-discovered compounds are NPAHs that were unknown to this point.

This study found that the direct mutagenicity of the NPAHs with one nitrogen group can increase 6 to 432 times more than the parent compound. NPAHs based on two nitrogen groups can be 272 to 467 times more mutagenic. Mutagens are chemicals that can cause DNA damage in cells that in turn can cause cancer.

For technical reasons based on how the mutagenic assays are conducted, the researchers said these numbers may actually understate the increase in toxicity – it could be even higher.

These discoveries are an outgrowth of research on PAHs that was done by Simonich at the Beijing Summer Olympic Games in 2008, when extensive studies of urban air quality were conducted, in part, based on concerns about impacts on athletes and visitors to the games.

Beijing, like some other cities in Asia, has significant problems with air quality, and may be 10-50 times more polluted than some major urban areas in the U.S. with air concerns, such as the Los Angeles basin.

An agency of the World Health Organization announced last fall that it now considers outdoor air pollution, especially particulate matter, to be carcinogenic, and cause other health problems as well. PAHs are one of the types of pollutants found on particulate matter in air pollution that are of special concern.

Concerns about the heavy levels of air pollution from some Asian cities are sufficient that Simonich is doing monitoring on Oregon’s Mount Bachelor, a 9,065-foot mountain in the central Oregon Cascade Range. Researchers want to determine what levels of air pollution may be found there after traveling thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean.

This work was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Science Foundation. It’s also an outgrowth of the Superfund Research Program at OSU, funded by the NIEHS, that focuses efforts on PAH pollution. Researchers from the OSU College of Science, the University of California-Riverside, Texas A&M University, and Peking University collaborated on the study.

Generic OSU Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

Staci Simonich, 541-737-9194

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Grilled meat

Categories: Research news

Living with HIV/AIDS to be focus of Corvallis Science Pub

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 11:41am
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CORVALLIS, Ore. – A positive test for HIV used to be a death sentence. Now, with advances in treatment, the virus that causes AIDS can be held at bay. At the Jan. 13 Corvallis Science Pub, Dr. Sugat Patel, infectious disease physician at Good Samaritan Hospital, will discuss trends in HIV/AIDS and how he and his colleagues treat people in the mid-Willamette Valley.

The Science Pub presentation begins at 6 p.m. in the Old World Deli located at 341 S.W. Second St. in Corvallis. It is free and open to the public.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Patel came to Corvallis in 2009 after serving in the U.S. Navy. He received his training at the Internal Medicine Facility of the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.

Sponsors of Science Pub include Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

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Generic OSU Media Contact:  Nick Houtman Source: 

Dr. Sugat Patel, 541-768-5810

Categories: Research news

Corvallis screening of classic silent horror film set Jan. 13

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 9:41am
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The 1920 German horror film “Der Golem: How He Came into the World” will be shown at the Whiteside Theatre in Corvallis on Monday, Jan. 13, beginning at 6 p.m.

The 1920 German horror film “Der Golem: How He Came into the World” will be shown at the Whiteside Theatre in Corvallis on Monday, Jan. 13, beginning at 6 p.m.

The silent film will be accompanied on the piano by Portland musician and composer Beth Karp, who has written her own score for the screening. The event is sponsored by the Oregon State University School of Language, Culture, and Society in the College of Liberal Arts.

The German Expressionist film, which was directed by Paul Wegener and Carl Boese, is about a 16th-century Prague rabbi who creates a giant creature from clay – a Golem – whom he brings to life in order to protect the city’s Jewish population from persecution.

Karp is a faculty member at Portland Community College, where she teaches composition, piano, music theory, and 20th-century music history. She is also a frequent performer, collaborator and solo artist.

Admission to the screening is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. 

College of Liberal Arts Media Contact: 

Celene Carillo, 541-737-2137

Source: 

Sebastian Heiduschke, 541-737-3957, Sebastian.heiduschke@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

Amber fossil reveals ancient reproduction in flowering plants

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 4:57pm
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Researchers have discovered an ancient flowering plant preserved in amber, the oldest known fossil specimen of sexual reproduction in plants.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A 100-million-year old piece of amber has been discovered which reveals the oldest evidence of sexual reproduction in a flowering plant – a cluster of 18 tiny flowers from the Cretaceous Period – with one of them in the process of making some new seeds for the next generation.

The perfectly-preserved scene, in a plant now extinct, is part of a portrait created in the mid-Cretaceous when flowering plants were changing the face of the Earth forever, adding beauty, biodiversity and food. It appears identical to the reproduction process that “angiosperms,” or flowering plants still use today.

Researchers from Oregon State University and Germany published their findings on the fossils in the Journal of the Botanical Institute of Texas.

The flowers themselves are in remarkable condition, as are many such plants and insects preserved for all time in amber. The flowing tree sap covered the specimens and then began the long process of turning into a fossilized, semi-precious gem. The flower cluster is one of the most complete ever found in amber and appeared at a time when many of the flowering plants were still quite small.

Even more remarkable is the microscopic image of pollen tubes growing out of two grains of pollen and penetrating the flower’s stigma, the receptive part of the female reproductive system. This sets the stage for fertilization of the egg and would begin the process of seed formation – had the reproductive act been completed.

“In Cretaceous flowers we’ve never before seen a fossil that shows the pollen tube actually entering the stigma,” said George Poinar, Jr., a professor emeritus in the Department of Integrative Biology at the OSU College of Science. “This is the beauty of amber fossils. They are preserved so rapidly after entering the resin that structures such as pollen grains and tubes can be detected with a microscope.”

The pollen of these flowers appeared to be sticky, Poinar said, suggesting it was carried by a pollinating insect, and adding further insights into the biodiversity and biology of life in this distant era. At that time much of the plant life was composed of conifers, ferns, mosses, and cycads.  During the Cretaceous, new lineages of mammals and birds were beginning to appear, along with the flowering plants. But dinosaurs still dominated the Earth.

“The evolution of flowering plants caused an enormous change in the biodiversity of life on Earth, especially in the tropics and subtropics,” Poinar said.

“New associations between these small flowering plants and various types of insects and other animal life resulted in the successful distribution and evolution of these plants through most of the world today,” he said. “It’s interesting that the mechanisms for reproduction that are still with us today had already been established some 100 million years ago.”

The fossils were discovered from amber mines in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar, previously known as Burma. The newly-described genus and species of flower was named Micropetasos burmensis.

College of Science Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

George Poinar, 541-752-0917

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Ancient flower




Pollen tubes

Categories: Research news

Oregon State University Board of Trustees notice of regular meeting

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 1:03pm
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The Oregon State University Board of Trustees will meet on Thursday and Friday, January 9-10, 2014, on the OSU campus.

The Oregon State University Board of Trustees will meet on Thursday and Friday, January 9-10, 2014, on the OSU campus.

The meeting will be held in the CH2M Hill Alumni Center, located at 725 S.W. 26th St. in Corvallis. The purpose of the meeting is to orient trustees to their new role and responsibilities and to introduce trustees to the leadership and operations of the University.

Board members may choose to elect an interim chair and vice-chair of the board, adopt bylaws and establish one or more committees. The board’s meeting times are Thursday, January 9, 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., and Friday, January 10, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

An initial meeting of the Board of Trustees was scheduled for December 10-11, 2013, but was postponed because of a snowstorm.

Members of the public who may require special accommodations should contact Mark Huey at 541-737-8260 at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting. 

More information about the OSU Board of Trustees is available online at: http://oregonstate.edu/leadership/trustees

Generic OSU Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Steve Clark, 541-737-3808; steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

Dan Larson named head of University Housing and Dining at OSU

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 12:05pm
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Oregon State University has named Dan Larson executive director of University Housing & Dining Services.

Oregon State University has named Dan Larson executive director of University Housing & Dining Services.

Larson, who formerly was associate director for operations and facilities with the department, has worked there for 13 years. He succeeds longtime director Tom Scheuermann, who is transitioning to a teaching role in OSU’s College Student Services Administration graduate program.

Known for his collaborative work, Larson provided leadership in the development of a curriculum for the Weatherford Residential College’s Austin Entrepreneurship Program partnership with the College of Business. The program is known for combining academic pursuits with life skills to provide a holistic experience for students.

He also was instrumental in the construction and design of the International Living-Learning Center, dedicated in fall 2011, and the continued collaboration with INTO OSU to provide a global experience for international and domestic students. 

Larson has represented University Housing & Dining Services and OSU through participation in community boards and discussions, including the Collaboration Corvallis Neighborhood Planning Workgroup.

Generic OSU Media Contact: 

Jennifer Viña, 541-737-8187

Source: 

 Dan Larson, 541-737-4771

Categories: Research news

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