Oregon State University will close its main campus in Corvallis at noon today (Friday, Dec. 6) because of excessive snow that is becoming packed, creating hazardous conditions.
Oregon State University to close at noon as snow surpasses forecasts
By Mark Floyd, 541-737-0788; firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Steve Clark, 503-503-8217; email@example.com
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will close its main campus in Corvallis at noon today because of excessive snow that is becoming packed, creating hazardous conditions.
A forecast for temperatures down into the teens tonight prompted university officials to close early.
“We want students, employees and visitors to safely reach home before temperatures drop to potentially dangerous levels,” said Steve Clark, vice president for University Relations and Marketing at OSU.
Classes for the remainder of the day have been canceled, and most other activities on campus will be canceled or postponed. These include:
- The holiday marketplace in the Memorial Union ballroom will remain open until 4 p.m. today; organizers hope to open on Saturday as planned, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- A gymnastics exhibition tonight at Gill Coliseum, which was to begin at 7 p.m., will be canceled and tentatively rescheduled for Jan. 3 at 7 p.m.
- Any change of schedule to the theater performance of “The King of Spain’s Daughter,” set for 7:30 p.m. at the Withycombe Hall Theater tonight, will be announced on the theater program’s website at: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/theatre/
OSU employees who are at work will be sent home at noon except for those designated as “essential” to keeping the university infrastructure operational.
About Oregon State University: OSU is one of only two universities in the United States that is designated a Land Grant, Sea Grant, Space Grant and Sun Grant institution. OSU is also Oregon’s only university to hold both the Carnegie Foundation’s top designation for research institutions and its prestigious Community Engagement classification.Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Steve Clark, 503-503-8217; firstname.lastname@example.org
For the first time, scientists have been able to use precise temperature measurements to calculate the friction dynamics of fault slip, measuring the energy produced during the 2011 Japanese earthquake.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – An international team of scientists that installed a borehole temperature observatory following the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake in Japan has been able to measure the “frictional heat” generated during the rupture of the fault – an amount the researchers say was smaller than expected, which means the fault is more slippery than previously thought.
It is the first time scientists have been able to use precise temperature measurements to calculate the friction dynamics of fault slip.
Results of the study are being published this week in the journal Science.
“This gives us some unprecedented insights into how earthquakes actually work,” said Robert Harris, a geophysicist at Oregon State University and co-author on the Science article. “No one really knows how much frictional resistance there is to slip and for the first time, this gives us some idea.
“The project itself was an engineering feat and an amazing one at that,” added Harris, who is a professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State. “To reach the fault, the team had to drill through 800 meters of the seafloor – at a depth of nearly 7,000 meters below the ocean’s surface. It pushed the limits of that technology as far as they can go.”
The study was funded by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, the National Science Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Sixteen months after the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake, the scientists installed the borehole observatory in a section of the fault where the slippage between one section of rock and the adjacent one was a staggering 50 meters. It was that huge slip in the fault that triggered the tsunami that killed thousands of people and devastated the northern coast of Japan.
After nine months of operation, the research team successfully retrieved 55 precise temperature-sensing data loggers that extended below the seafloor through the fault zone – the deepest of which was about 820 meters below the seafloor.
Evaluation of the data showed an anomaly of 0.31 degrees (Celsius) with surrounding temperatures at the boundary of the plate’s fault. When tectonic plates rub against each other, the frictional resistance to slip creates heat. By measuring changes to the background temperature field, they can calculate how much heat, or energy, was generated at the time of the earthquake.
“This is data that we’ve never had before,” Harris said. “It will be helpful in understanding the dynamics of earthquakes in the future.”
The scientists say this 0.31 temperature anomaly corresponds to 27 million joules, or 27 megajoules, per square meter of dissipated energy during the earthquake. A joule is the amount of energy required to produce one watt of power for one second. The “friction coefficient,” or the resistance to relative motion between the blocks, was surprisingly small at 0.08, the scientists point out.
“One way to look at the friction of these big blocks is to compare them to cross-country skis on snow,” Harris said. “At rest, the skis stick to the snow and it takes a certain amount of force to make them slide. Once you do, the ski’s movement generates heat and it takes much less force to continue the movement.
“The same thing happens with an earthquake,” he added. “This is the first time we’ve been able to calculate how much frictional resistance to slip there is. This has never been done before in nature – just in the laboratory.”
Harris said the scientists hope to repeat the experiment with other earthquakes, although the logistics of such a study are daunting – requiring a large earthquake with lots of slip, the ability to quickly drill a deep borehole and then monitoring the thermal signal. Similar experiments with other earthquakes will allow the scientists to better understand the hazards associated with large earthquakes.
“This was a major accomplishment,” he added, “but there is still a lot we don’t yet know.”College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Rob Harris, 541-737-4370; email@example.com
A new study of humpback whales in the North Pacific has identified five distinct populations – while a proposal to designate humpbacks as a single “distinct population” is being considered.
NEWPORT, Ore. – The first comprehensive genetic study of humpback whale populations in the North Pacific Ocean has identified five distinct populations – at the same time a proposal to designate North Pacific humpbacks as a single “distinct population segment” is being considered under the Endangered Species Act.
Results of the study are being published this week in the journal Marine Ecology – Progress Series. It was supported by the National Fisheries and Wildlife Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, and the Marine Mammal Endowment at Oregon State University.
The scientists examined nearly 2,200 tissue biopsy samples collected from humpback whales in 10 feeding regions and eight winter breeding regions during a three-year international study, known as SPLASH (Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance and Status of Humpbacks). They used sequences of maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA and “microsatellite genotypes,” or DNA profiles, to both describe the genetic differences and outline migratory connections between both breeding and feeding grounds.
“Though humpback whales are found in all oceans of the world, the North Pacific humpback whales should probably be considered a sub-species at an ocean-basin level – based on genetic isolation of these populations on an evolutionary time scale,” said Scott Baker, associate director of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center and lead author on the paper.
“Within this North Pacific sub-species, however, our results support the recognition of multiple distinct populations,” Baker added. “They differ based on geographic distribution and with genetic differentiations as well, and they have strong fidelity to their own breeding and feeding areas.”
Humpback whales are listed as endangered in the United States under the Endangered Species Act, but had recently been downlisted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on a global level. However, two population segments recently were added as endangered by the IUCN – one in the Sea of Arabia, the other in Oceania – and it is likely that one or more of the newly identified populations in the North Pacific may be considered endangered, Baker said.
How management authorities respond to the study identifying the distinct North Pacific humpback populations remains to be seen, Baker said, but the situation “underscores the complexity of studying and managing marine mammals on a global scale.”
The five populations identified in the study are: Okinawa and the Philippines; a second West Pacific population with unknown breeding grounds; Hawaii, Mexico and Central America.
“Even within these five populations there are nuances,” noted Baker, who frequently serves as a member of the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission. “The Mexico population, for example, has ‘discrete’ sub-populations off the mainland and near the Revillagigedo Islands, but because their genetic differentiation is not that strong, these are not considered ‘distinct’ populations.”
The SPLASH program has used photo identification records to estimate humpback whale populations. The researchers estimate that there are approximately 22,000 humpbacks throughout the North Pacific – about the same as before whaling reduced their numbers. Although recovery strategies have been successful on a broad scale, recovery is variable among different populations.
“Each of the five distinct populations has its own history of exploitation and recovery that would need to be part of an assessment of its status,” said Baker, who is a professor of fisheries and wildlife at OSU. “Unlike most terrestrial species, populations of whales within oceans are not isolated by geographic barriers. Instead, migration routes, feeding grounds and breeding areas are thought to be passed down from mother to calf, persisting throughout a lifetime and from one generation to the next.
“We think this fidelity to migratory destinations is cultural, not genetic,” he added. “It is this culture that isolates whales, leading to genetic differentiation – and ultimately, the five distinct populations identified in the North Pacific.”Hatfield Marine Science Center Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Scott Baker, 541-867-0255 (cell phone: 541-272-0560), firstname.lastname@example.orgMultimedia Downloads Multimedia:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University hopes to aid research on the fruit-damaging spotted wing drosophila by providing online access to the fly's newly sequenced genome.
OSU anticipates that scientists will use its new SpottedWingFlyBase website to develop ways to combat the invasive pest. Since its launch in November, spottedwingflybase.oregonstate.edu has been used by researchers in dozens of countries, said Vaughn Walton, an entomologist with the OSU Extension Service.
"Scientists from all over the world are interested in knowledge locked inside the fly's genetic material," he said. "Genes will help reveal the pest's behavior, pesticide resistance and other biological attributes that will point the direction for future research."
The fly's genome was sequenced by at the University of California at Davis by Joanna Chiu, David Begun and Frank Zalom. The sequencing is the subject of a paper in the December issue of the journal G3: Genes, Genomes and Genetics. OSU’s Walton is a co-author.
Oregon State's website allows researchers to compare the genetic differences between the spotted wing drosophila and closely related drosophila species.
In the process, scientists hope to pinpoint odors and tastes attractive to the fly, potentially leading to the creation of new pheromone-based baits to trap it. They will also try to match the biology of the fly with pesticides that will be more effective.
The genome may also eventually aid American fruit exports, especially to countries fearful of invasion from the pest. By finding genetic markers unique to the fly, scientists hope to craft a DNA test that quickly determines if larvae found in fruit ready for shipping are spotted wing drosophila.
Native to Asia, the fly was first detected in the United States in 2008 and has since spread across the continent. It lays eggs in ripe and ripening fruit, which its larvae eat, causing blemishes that ruin the fruit's value. Significant losses to fruit crops have been reported in the U.S., Canada and Europe, said Walton, who an assistant professor in the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences Department of Horticulture.
OSU is leading a collaborative multi-state, multi-agency effort to study the fly through a $5.8 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant.
The SpottedWingFlyBase website was co-developed by Chiu of UC Davis.
More information on the fly is available at www.spottedwing.org.College of Agricultural Sciences Media Contact: Daniel Robison Source:
Vaughn Walton, 541-737-3485Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
OSU entomologist Peter Shearer holds a test tube of spotted wing drosophila larvae. With the fly's genome now mapped, researchers will be able to better understand its biology and develop new methods to control it. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)
Older, wealthier Oregonians are the ones most likely to conserve water, raising questions about what it will take to better motivate other groups to improve conservation efforts.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A survey about water use and attitudes toward conservation among Oregonians has found that older, more affluent residents are most likely to take steps to conserve water.
Contrary to some past research, the Oregon State University analysis did not find significantly more conservation behavior among younger residents, those with more education, or those who live in urban, as opposed to rural settings.
The findings, published in The Social Science Journal, outline some of the challenges policy makers may face in motivating more people to conserve water, as the state increasingly will struggle to keep up with demand in the future.
“This research showed that most Oregonians clearly understand we are going to face water shortages in the future, although most of them say they haven’t yet been affected by this,” said Erika Wolters, an instructor of political science in the OSU College of Liberal Arts, which supported this study.
“We expected to find young people more involved in water conservation, but actually found the opposite,” Wolters said. “Gender also didn’t appear to play much of a role. Water conservation was most closely associated with age and income, possibly the ability to afford water-saving devices and interest in reducing costs.
“Those with higher income may also have more time and resources to commit to the environmental causes they believe in,” she added.
The report suggested that if higher income is predictive of water conservation behavior, then efforts to motivate such behavior may need to consider discussion of rebates, incentives or other programs that would appeal to lower-income residents.
The study also concluded, however, that some water-saving practices are fairly common by many people of all ages, incomes and situations – things like washing full loads of laundry, repairing leaky faucets, watering plants less often.
Both climate change and population growth in Oregon and the West are expected to place much greater demands upon limited water supplies in the future, the report noted. And although Oregon has a reputation for being an environmentally progressive state – it was named number two in “America’s Greenest States” in one 2007 survey – it’s not as certain whether environmental attitudes will always translate directly into behavior.
This study of 808 Oregonians tried to determine what sociodemographic factors were most closely linked to water conservation behavior. It did find that most residents understand there’s a problem, and a majority of them take at least some personal steps to save water. But unlike some other research, the analysis did not find that young, female and urban residents were the ones most likely to conserve water. Only higher income was predictive of that behavior.
The research ultimately concluded that neither attitudes nor sociodemographics could completely predict environmental behavior, and that old, established habits and issues of self-identity may play a large role.
College of Liberal Arts Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Erika Wolters, 541-737-1421Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon Senate has formally approved the nominations of 14 members of the first Board of Trustees at Oregon State University.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber previously had announced their nominations over the summer. Establishment of institutional governing boards at three of Oregon’s public universities was authorized with the passage of Senate Bill 270 during the 2013 legislative session.
The OSU board members reflect the university’s broad teaching and research disciplines, as well as its statewide presence. Kitzhaber selected members who represent the state’s diverse geographic regions as well as its significant economic sectors.
“The most important factor in guiding Oregon State’s future is to have a board that understands the unique role that the university plays in the state, nation and world,” said Oregon State President Edward J. Ray.
Among the responsibilities of the Oregon State University Board of Trustees will be establishing policies for all aspects of the university’s operations; overseeing tuition and fees; guiding academic programs; approving the university’s budget for submission to the state; and appointing and employing OSU’s president in consultation with the governor.
The board members include:
Mark Baldwin, of Albany, Ore., is an analyst and programmer in OSU’s Information Services division. He has had a long and successful career in information systems and technology in higher education and the private sector. Prior to joining the OSU staff, he worked at Western Oregon University and a number of private sector firms. As specified in SB 270, he represents the staff at Oregon State.
Patricia Bedient, of Sammamish, Wash., has been executive vice president and chief financial officer of Weyerhaeuser Company since 2007. She began her career and worked for 27 years with Arthur Andersen LLP, becoming partner in 1987. She serves on the boards of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, and has served two terms on the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees. She also is on the World Forestry Center board.
Rani Borkar, of Portland, Ore., is corporate vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Development Group for Intel Corporation. She leads numerous global engineering teams that are responsible for the development of a full range of processors for server, client, and handheld devices. She has been with Intel since 1988 and earned the Intel Achievement Award in 2002.
Darald “Darry” Callahan, of San Rafael, Calif., 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 also has served as president of Chevron Oil Bahamas Limited and president of Warren Petroleum Company. He is a former chair of the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees.
Michele Longo Eder, of Newport, Ore., is an attorney whose practice includes an emphasis in marine and fisheries law. In partnership with her husband, Bob Eder, she is a shareholder in Argos Inc. and is president of Eder Fish Company, a wholesale fish dealer for domestic and foreign buyers. She is a member of the NOAA Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee and former commissioner of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission.
Elson Floyd, of Pullman, Wash., has been president of Washington State University since 2007. He was president of the University of Missouri from 2003-07, and Western Michigan University from 1998 to 2003. He began his career at University of North Carolina, where he held several executive positions. He is on numerous national boards including the Washington STEM Center Board, Association of Public Land Grant Universities Board, and the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.
Orcilia Zúñiga Forbes, of Portland, was appointed to the State Board of Higher Education in July 2012; her term expires in 2014. She retired from OSU in 2004 as vice president of University Advancement, and has served as a trustee for the Meyer Memorial Trust since 1999. She is also serving on the boards of the Chalkboard Project and the University of New Mexico Foundation.
Paul Kelly, of Portland, Ore., was named to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education in 2007 and served as president from 2008-11. He recently retired from the law firm Garvey Schubert Barer. From 1987 to 2005, he served in several positions at Nike, Inc., including general counsel and global director of public affairs. He is on the Oregon School Funding Defense Foundation board and Legal Aid Services of Oregon board, among others.
Brenda McComb, of Philomath, Ore., is dean of the OSU Graduate School and a former forest habitat researcher. Before being named dean of the graduate school in April of 2011, she led the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society in the College of Forestry. Her research has focused on the effects of land management practices on animals and natural habitats. As specified in SB 270, she represents the faculty at Oregon State.
Laura Naumes, of Medford, Ore., is vice president of Naumes Inc. The company has orchards in California, Oregon and Washington and is a leading producer of pears. It also produces several varieties of apples, along with cherries, Asian pears and persimmons. She is a former member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco advisory council and began her first term as trustee on the OSU Foundation Board in 2012.
Patricia “Pat” Reser, of Beaverton, Ore., is board chair of Reser’s Fine Foods, Inc., a family-owned fresh refrigerated food company. She previously served as corporate secretary for 13 years, and is 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.
Taylor Sarman, of Corvallis, Ore., is a sophomore majoring in political science at Oregon State and is executive director of government affairs for the Associated Students of OSU. In that role, he oversees ASOSU’s local, state and federal lobbying efforts. The graduate of Union High School in eastern Oregon served as an intern during the 2013 Oregon Legislative session, and is a past president of the national Future Business Leaders of America. As specified in SB 270, he represents the students of OSU.
Kirk Schueler, of Bend, Ore., is chief administrative officer for St. Charles Health System. Previously, he was president of Brooks Resources Corporation, a real estate development firm in Bend. He was appointed to the State Board of Higher Education in 2009; his term expires in 2013. He serves on the boards of the Bend Foundation, Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation, and the Jeld-Wen Tradition Foundation.
John Turner, of Pendleton, Ore., retired as president of Blue Mountain Community College in June. He joined the college in 2003 as executive vice president and provost, becoming president in 2005. He retired from the U.S. Marine Corps as a colonel with more than 28 years of service, including a stint as president of the Marine Corps War College in Quantico, Va. He serves as a commissioner of the Port of Umatilla.
OSU’s President Ray will serve as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the board. More information on Oregon State‘s Board of Trustees is available at: http://oregonstate.edu/leadership/trustees,Generic OSU Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Steve Clark, 541-737-3808; email@example.com
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees will hold its first meeting Dec. 10-11 on the OSU campus in Corvallis.
The 14-member board, which was nominated by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber in August, was confirmed by the Oregon Senate in November.
Steve Clark, vice president for University Relations and Marketing at OSU, said the purpose of this first meeting will primarily be an orientation, introducing the board members to their roles and responsibilities, getting acquainted with one another, and learning about the university’s operation and leadership.
“The board may choose to elect an interim chair and vice-chair,” Clark said, “though these would be temporary positions as the board doesn’t become official until July 1 of 2014.”
The meeting, which is open to the public, will run from 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 10, and from 10:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11, in the CH2M-Hill Alumni Center’s Willamette Room. The center is located at 725 S.W. 26th St. in Corvallis. A public comment opportunity will take place from 3 to 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11.
More information about the OSU Board of Trustees is available online at: http://oregonstate.edu/leadership/trusteesGeneric OSU Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Steve Clark, 541-737-3808; firstname.lastname@example.org
Latina teenagers with a strong sense of ethnic identity have a better chance of feeling positive about themselves when exposed to a world full of unrealistically beautiful women in advertising.
The study this story is based on is available online: http://bit.ly/1jKMGql
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A strong sense of ethnic identity can help Latina girls feel positive about their body and appearance, a new study concludes, even as this group slips further into dissatisfaction with themselves when compared to a media-filled world of unrealistic images of thin white women.
Identification and pride in their ethnic background can act as a partial buffer against a deluge of advertisements, magazines, television shows and movies that show white women in sexualized roles, researchers said, and help teenage girls feel more comfortable with themselves and their appearance.
Scientists say anything that can help is necessary as sensitive young teenagers compare themselves to an onslaught of thin and glamorous models portrayed by the media, and suffer as a result. One out of every two advertisements featuring women depicts them as sex objects.
Some past research has suggested that women of color were less vulnerable to concerns about body image, but the latest studies found that Latina girls are reporting body dissatisfaction at a rate similar to that of Caucasian girls.
“We’re in a perfect storm of dissatisfaction,” said Elizabeth Daniels, an assistant professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University–Cascades.
“This is a serious problem among girls, and our media environment and consumer culture has been making it worse for some time,” said Daniels, who is an expert on gender, body image and youth development. “The issue of young teenagers feeling bad about their appearance is so prevalent that we now call it normative. In other words, it’s normal to feel dissatisfied with your body.”
Most adults have more real-life experience to help protect them, Daniels said, but impressionable adolescents too often feel seriously unhappy with their appearance, think about their bodies constantly, and are easily persuaded to buy the latest beauty products that advertisers tell them will help. For some, severe dissatisfaction can turn into an eating disorder.
But in this research, which studied 118 Latina girls ages 13-18, scientists found that a stronger sense of ethnic identity helped some girls feel positive about themselves. The analysis was done by showing images of white women taken from advertisements to separate groups of girls. Some images were “sexualized” in settings, such as wearing bikinis or lingerie; and others had more conventional, fully-clothed poses. The girls then created statements about how they visualized themselves.
Those who included reference to their ethnic identity – by saying something like “I am Latina” or “I am Hispanic” – tended to view themselves overall more positively. But Daniels pointed out that while the association with ethnicity appears to be helpful and partially protective, it’s not a panacea.
“Media images are typically very idealized, done with white women, using lots of makeup and photo techniques, and they create a great pressure on young women to live up to this ideal,” Daniels said. “They see more than five hours a day of this unrealistic depiction on television and elsewhere, and it’s a tall order for them to just ignore it. Even the model, Cindy Crawford, once said that ‘I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.’”
However, this study indicates that cultural pride can help. One participant in the study wrote in her statements that “I am a proud Latina” and “I am not a skinny toothpick and proud of it.”
The new findings were recently published in Body Image, a professional journal, by researchers from OSU and Gallaudet University.
The researchers also cautioned that the buffering effect of ethnic identity might not stand up when Latina girls are exposed to Latina media models – instead of the white women that dominate traditional advertising. Girls with strong ethnic identity might be especially vulnerable to the negative effects of viewing idealized media images of Latina women, the report concluded.OSU-Cascades Campus Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Elizabeth Daniels, 541-322-3186
AURORA, Ore. – An Oregon State University researcher aims to lower production costs for growers by creating a new kind of blueberry that develops as a tree instead of the traditional bush.
Wei Qiang Yang, blueberry agent for the Oregon State University Extension Service, has tested a grafted blueberry "tree" that grows on a single stem on a research plot at OSU's North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora every year since 2009. Yang is collaborating with researchers who are testing other blueberry varieties grafted onto rootstocks at land-grant universities in California and Florida as part of a multi-state effort.
"The first rootstock that will come out of this research for commercial use will significantly change the way blueberries are currently produced and harvested," said Yang, a horticulture professor in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences.
The research could benefit an industry that's economically important to Oregon. The blueberry industry contributed $107.5 million in sales to Oregon's economy in 2012, according to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture and OSU Extension. Growers produced 72 million pounds of blueberries on nearly 8,000 acres.
Growers use machine harvesters with catch plates to collect blueberries, but because blueberry bushes have multiple stems, the catch plate cannot fully encircle each stem of the bush. So growers must bear about a 15-25 percent loss in terms of the fruit that the catch plate misses, according to Yang. But cultivating a blueberry bush in a tree form would change that, he said.
"This work isn't just academically important, but it's valuable from a practical standpoint in that it will be very significant for improving machine harvesting efficiency and the adaptability of blueberry plants to different soil conditions," Yang said. "The wild-grown species is better-adapted to nutrient-poor and relatively high-pH soil. If we're successful, this is going to change the way we raise blueberries."
To make the grafts, Yang started with seeds from a wild-growing blueberry plant commonly known as sparkleberry, which originated in Texas, Oklahoma and Florida. In the wild, some plants grow on a single stem to heights of up to 10 feet. But their tiny berries are full of seeds and the fruit has a bad taste, Yang said. He then grafted three popular highbush blueberry varieties – Liberty, Aurora and Draper – onto the wild-growing plants. He wanted a blueberry plant that had a similar yield to its domestic cousins and had a good taste.
So far, yields of the grafted plants have compared favorably to their domesticated cousins, with the exception of Liberty. A grafted Liberty plant yielded an average of approximately 1.03 pounds of fruit per single tree, compared to an average of 1.68 pounds per single bush on a domesticated Liberty plant. A grafted Draper plant yielded an average of approximately 0.60 pounds of fruit per single tree, while a domesticated Draper plant yields an average of 0.55 pounds per single bush. A grafted Aurora yielded an average of 1.07 pounds of fruit per single tree, while a domesticated Aurora yields an average of 0.88 pounds of fruit per single bush. Taste has also compared well.
Yang must still analyze results of data collected on fruit quality factors such as firmness, size and total acidity. This is the first year researchers were able to collect data on yield for the project in Oregon. Yang will investigate future yield projections and machine harvesting potential next. If results continue to show promise, the blueberry tree could be ready for release to nurseries in approximately five years for commercial use and about three years for gardeners.
Though some people have tried grafting blueberry trees on a small-scale basis in the past, Yang said this is the first major collaborative research effort to graft a blueberry tree that is viable for commercial growers.
Yang receives funding for the research from the Oregon Blueberry Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crops Research Initiative.
For more information, go to the website for OSU's NWREC at http://oregonstate.edu/dept/NWREC.College of Agricultural Sciences Media Contact: Denise Ruttan Source:
Wei Qiang Yang, (503) 678-1264 ext. 126Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
By growing blueberries on a single stem instead of on a bush with multiple branches, OSU researcher Wei Qiang Yang hopes to improve machine harvesting efficiency for growers. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)
Grafted blueberry trees are lined up in test plots at Oregon State University's North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora, Oregon. Research to develop the plant could benefit an industry that contributed $107.5 million in sales to Oregon's economy in 2012, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and OSU Extension. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)
A long-term experiment has confirmed that nutrient pollution can cause diseases in coral reefs - but also that the corals can recover once the pollution is stopped.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – One of the largest and longest experiments ever done to test the impact of nutrient loading on coral reefs today confirmed what scientists have long suspected – that this type of pollution from sewage, agricultural practices or other sources can lead to coral disease and bleaching.
A three-year, controlled exposure of corals to elevated levels of nitrogen and phosphorus at a study site in the Florida Keys, done from 2009-12, showed that the prevalence of disease doubled and the amount of coral bleaching, an early sign of stress, more than tripled.
However, the study also found that once the injection of pollutants was stopped, the corals were able to recover in a surprisingly short time.
“We were shocked to see the rapid increase in disease and bleaching from a level of pollution that’s fairly common in areas affected by sewage discharge, or fertilizers from agricultural or urban use,” said Rebecca Vega-Thurber, an assistant professor in the College of Science at Oregon State University.
“But what was even more surprising is that corals were able to make a strong recovery within 10 months after the nutrient enrichment was stopped,” Vega-Thurber said. “The problems disappeared. This provides real evidence that not only can nutrient overload cause coral problems, but programs to reduce or eliminate this pollution should help restore coral health. This is actually very good news.”
The findings were published today in Global Change Biology, and offer a glimmer of hope for addressing at least some of the problems that have crippled coral reefs around the world. In the Caribbean Sea, more than 80 percent of the corals have disappeared in recent decades. These reefs, which host thousands of species of fish and other marine life, are a major component of biodiversity in the tropics.
Researchers have observed for years the decline in coral reef health where sewage outflows or use of fertilizers, in either urban or agricultural areas, have caused an increase in the loading of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. But until now almost no large, long-term experiments have actually been done to pin down the impact of nutrient overloads and separate them from other possible causes of coral reef decline.
This research examined the effect of nutrient pollution on more than 1,200 corals in study plots near Key Largo, Fla., for signs of coral disease and bleaching, and removed other factors such as water depth, salinity or temperature that have complicated some previous surveys. Following regular injections of nutrients at the study sites, levels of coral disease and bleaching surged.
One disease that was particularly common was “dark spot syndrome,” found on about 50 percent of diseased individual corals. But researchers also noted that within one year after nutrient injections were stopped at the study site, the level of dark spot syndrome had receded to the same level as control study plots in which no nutrients had been injected.
The exact mechanism by which nutrient overload can affect corals is still unproven, researchers say, although there are theories. The nutrients may add pathogens, may provide the nutrients needed for existing pathogens to grow, may be directly toxic to corals and make them more vulnerable to pathogens – or some combination of these factors.
“A combination of increased stress and a higher level of pathogens is probably the mechanism that affects coral health,” Vega-Thurber said. “What’s exciting about this research is the clear experimental evidence that stopping the pollution can lead to coral recovery. A lot of people have been hoping for some news like this.
“Some of the corals left in the world are actually among the species that are most hardy,” she said. “The others are already dead. We’re desperately trying to save what’s left, and cleaning up the water may be one mechanism that has the most promise.”
Nutrient overloads can increase disease prevalence or severity on many organisms, including plants, amphibians and fish. They’ve also long been suspected in coral reef problems, along with other factors such as temperature stress, reduced fish abundance, increasing human population, and other concerns.
However, unlike factors such as global warming or human population growth, nutrient loading is something that might be more easily addressed on at least a local basis, Vega-Thurber said. Improved sewage treatment or best-management practices to minimize fertilizer runoff from agricultural or urban use might offer practical approaches to mitigate some coral reef declines, she said.
Collaborators on this research included Florida International University and the University of Florida. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation and Florida International University.College of Science Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Rebecca Vega-Thurber, 541-737-1851Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
Drug interactions can often cause unwanted side effects among people who take statin drugs, leading them to discontinue use of a valuable medication that could save their life.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new study has found that many people who stopped taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs were also taking an average of three other drugs that interfered with the normal metabolism of the statins.
The other drugs can contribute to a common side effect of taking statins - muscle pain – and often led people to discontinue use of a medication that could otherwise help save their life, researchers learned.
The interactions of many drugs with statins have been known of for some time, researchers said, but are not being adequately managed by physicians and pharmacists, who could often choose different medications or adjust dosages to retain the value of statin drugs without causing this side effect.
The research, done as part of a survey of more than 10,000 current and former statin users, found that use of medications which interfere with statin metabolism almost doubles the chance that a person will discontinue statin use due to muscle pain.
The issue is of growing importance because statin drugs are some of the most widely used medications in the world, proven to lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and decrease the risk of heart attacks, heart disease, strokes and death. About 20 million people in the U.S. now take statins, and new guidelines have just been issued to further expand the types of health conditions for which statins may be of benefit. Based on those guidelines, the number of statin users could increase to more than 30 million.
The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology by scientists from Oregon State University and four other universities or research institutes.
“We’ve known for some time of many medications that can interact with statins, but only now is it becoming clear that this is a significant contributor to the side effects, and often the reason some patients stop taking statins,” said Matt Ito, a professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy and president of the National Lipid Association, which funded this study.
“This issue is something physicians, pharmacists and patients all need to be more aware of,” Ito said. “There’s a lot we can do besides discontinue use of these valuable medications. You can change dosages, use drugs that don’t cause interactions, use different types of statins. Patients need to be proactive in understanding this issue and working with their health care providers to address it.”
Persons who have problems taking statins should discuss options with their physicians or pharmacists, Ito said, and not assume the drug has be to discontinued. A Medscape web site at http://reference.medscape.com/drug-interactionchecker also can help individuals learn more about possible interactions between statins and the full range of medications they may be taking.
Statins are usually well-tolerated, but in the recent survey, a muscle-related side effect was reported by 29 percent of participants. In former statin users, 62 percent of the people said that side effects, mostly muscle pain, were the reason they stopped taking the drugs.
There are many drugs that can interfere with statin metabolism, increase systemic exposure to the statin and raise the risk of this muscle pain, the researchers said in their report. This can include some common antibiotics, cardiovascular drugs, and others taken for treatment of cancer, mental health, HIV treatment and other conditions.
These interactions are not always adequately considered by physicians and pharmacists, however. One recent report found that as many as 20 percent of significant statin-drug interactions were missed in 64 pharmacies.
Besides drug interactions, statin side effects are also more common in women and associated with increasing age, history of cardiovascular disease, and some other conditions. Statin discontinuation has been associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and death.College of Pharmacy Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Matt Ito, 503-494-3657
A new study published this week in Science suggests that the pre-industrial rise in atmospheric methane had both human and natural causes.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – For years scientists have intensely argued over whether increases of potent methane gas concentrations in the atmosphere – from about 5,000 years ago to the start of the industrial revolution – were triggered by natural causes or human activities.
A new study, which will be published Friday in the journal Science, suggests the increase in methane likely was caused by both.
Lead author Logan Mitchell, who coordinated the research as a doctoral student at Oregon State University, said the “early anthropogenic hypothesis,” which spawned hundreds of scientific papers as well as books, cannot fully explain on its own the rising levels of atmospheric methane during the past 5,000 years, a time period known as the mid- to late-Holocene. That theory suggests that human activities such as rice agriculture were responsible for the increasing methane concentrations.
Opponents of that theory argue that human activities during that time did not produce significant amounts of methane and thus natural emissions were the dominant cause for the rise in atmospheric CH4.
“We think that both played a role,” said Mitchell, who is now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Utah. “The increase in methane emissions during the late Holocene came primarily from the tropics, with some contribution from the extratropical Northern Hemisphere.
“Neither modeled natural emissions alone, nor hypothesized anthropogenic emissions alone, are able to account for the full increase in methane concentrations,” Mitchell added. “Combined, however, they could account for the full increase.”
Scientists determine methane levels by examining ice cores from polar regions. Gas bubbles containing ancient air trapped within the ice can be analyzed and correlated with chronological data to determine methane levels on a multidecadal scale. Mitchell and his colleagues examined ice cores from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide and the Greenland Ice Sheet Project and found differences between the two.
Ice cores from Greenland had higher methane levels than those from Antarctica because there are greater methane emissions in the Northern Hemisphere. The difference in methane levels between the hemispheres, called the Inter-Polar Difference, did not change appreciably over time.
“If the methane increase was solely natural or solely anthropogenic, it likely would have tilted the Inter-Polar Difference out of its pattern of relative stability over time,” Mitchell said.
Since coming out of the ice age some 10,000 years ago summer solar insolation in the Northern Hemisphere has been decreasing as a result of the Earth’s changing orbit, according to Edward Brook, a paleoclimatologist in Oregon State’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and Mitchell’s major professor. This decrease affects the strength of Asian summer monsoons, which produce vast wetlands and emit methane into the atmosphere.
Yet some 5,000 years ago, atmospheric methane began rising and had increased about 17 percent by the time the industrial revolution began around 1750.
“Theoretically, methane levels should have decreased with the loss of solar insolation in the Northern Hemisphere, or at least remained stable instead of increasing,” said Brook, a co-author on the Science article. “They had been roughly on a parallel track for some 800,000 years.”
Mitchell used previous models that hypothesized reasons for the methane increase – both natural and anthropogenic – and compared them to the newly garnered ice core data. None of them alone proved sufficient for explaining the greenhouse gas increase. When he developed his own model combining characteristics of both the natural and anthropogenic hypotheses, it agreed closely with the ice core data.
Other researchers have outlined some of the processes that may have contributed to changes in methane emissions. More than 90 percent of the population lived in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in the lower latitudes, and the development of rice agriculture and cattle domestication likely had an influence on methane emissions. On the natural side, changes in the Earth’s orbit could have been responsible for increasing methane emissions from tropical wetlands.
“All of these things likely have played a role,” Mitchell said, “but none was sufficient to do it alone.”
The study was supported by the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs, with additional support from the Oregon National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Grant Consortium.College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Did you know that turkey is done when an internal thermometer in the thigh registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit?
With Thanksgiving around the corner, receive answers to questions like these from the Oregon State University Extension Service's holiday food safety/preservation hotline at 1-800-354-7319. The free service is open for calls from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 18-22, and Nov. 25-26.
Typical questions range from how to make the perfect stuffing recipe to how long to thaw a frozen turkey to how to safely travel to the big family gathering with a cooked bird, said Nellie Oehler, a retired family community health educator with OSU Extension.
Master Food Preserver volunteers trained by OSU Extension staff the hotline and field an average of more than 200 questions every November, according to Oehler.
Additionally, OSU Extension has published two new fact sheets on turkey food safety at http://bit.ly/OSU_TurkeyFactSheet and http://bit.ly/OSU_TurkeyBasics. A fact sheet is also available in Spanish at http://bit.ly/OSU_PreparacióndelPavo.
For more information, see OSU Extension's website, Food Safety Resources, at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/food-safety. You can also submit food safety questions at any time to OSU Extension's Ask an Expert service at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/extension-ask-an-expert.Extension Service Media Contact: Denise Ruttan Source:
Nellie Oehler, 541-757-3937
OSU pharmacy students and Oregon AWARE will host a health education event in Portland on Friday, Nov. 22. The fourth annual “AWARE in the Square” event will be at Pioneer Courthouse Square from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
PORTLAND, Ore. – Students in the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University will partner with Oregon AWARE, the Alliance Working for Antibiotic Resistance Education, in a health education event in Portland on Friday, Nov. 22.
The fourth annual “AWARE in the Square” event will be at Pioneer Courthouse Square from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Students will provide free information about antibiotic use, immunizations, bacterial versus viral infections, and cold and flu prevention. Adults without health insurance will be able to receive the flu vaccine free of charge.
In the past, more than 1,000 people have attended the event, which takes place during national Get Smart About Antibiotics Week.
Medical, physician assistant, and nursing students from Oregon Health and Science University are assisting with the event.College of Pharmacy Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Tabetha Gould, 541-737-4015 or Tabetha.email@example.com
“The King of Spain’s Daughter,” a one-act comedy by Irish playwright Teresa Deevy, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5-7 in the Lab Theatre in Withycombe Hall at Oregon State University.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – “The King of Spain’s Daughter,” a one-act comedy by Irish playwright Teresa Deevy, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5-7 in the Lab Theatre in Withycombe Hall at Oregon State University.
A matinee performance will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Majestic Theatre in downtown Corvallis.
Second only to Lady Gregory, Deevy was a prominent Abbey Theatre dramatist of the 1930s. Deevy was deaf and could lip read in three languages. At Oregon State, the production is directed by OSU faculty member Charlotte Headrick, who has a special research interest in Irish drama by women and has published extensively in the field of Irish drama.
For every speaking actor in the production, there will be an interpreting actor using American Sign Language. Headrick said this is the first time a production at Oregon State will be “shadowed” by interpreters using American Sign Language.
Jo Alexander, a nationally certified sign language interpreter who manages accommodations at OSU for hearing-impaired students, faculty, staff, and visitors, will interpret the role of Mrs. Marks working alongside actress Vreneli Farber who is her speaking counterpart.
“The King of Spain’s Daughter” follows Annie Kinsella, a young woman with a rich imagination who has to deal with the limited opportunities for young women in 1930s Ireland. Live music before the performance will be provided by Jean Dick on violin playing traditional Irish tunes with Richelle Jean-Bart performing the title song.
Voiced actors are Rick Wallace as Annie Kinsella’s father Peter, Caitlin Reichmann as Annie Kinsella, Michael Beaton as her love interest Jim Sheridan, and Davey Kashuba as Roddy Mann, the loafer. Actors who are interpreting are Cheryl Witters as Annie, Peter Norland as Peter Kinsella, Tyler Reisnaur as Jim Sheridan, and Steve Rianda as Roddy.
The production is underwritten by the office of the Vice-Provost of Student Affairs with the support of the OSU Theatre.
Tickets for the Lab Theatre production are $5 and $3 for students, and $6/$8 for the Majestic. Information: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/theatre.College of Liberal Arts Media Contact: Angela Yeager Source:
Charlotte Headrick, 541-737-4918