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Of bears and berries: return of wolves aids grizzly bears in Yellowstone

OSU News Releases - Fri, 07/26/2013 - 3:59pm
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For most of a century grizzly bears in Yellowstone have been missing most of the berries they historically ate - now, with the return of wolves, the berries are back.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new study suggests that the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park is beginning to bring back a key part of the diet of grizzly bears that has been missing for much of the past century – berries that help bears put on fat before going into hibernation.

It’s one of the first reports to identify the interactions between these large, important predators, based on complex ecological processes. It was published today by scientists from Oregon State University and Washington State University in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

The researchers found that the level of berries consumed by Yellowstone grizzlies is significantly higher now that shrubs are starting to recover following the re-introduction of wolves, which have reduced over-browsing by elk herds. The berry bushes also produce flowers of value to pollinators like butterflies, insects and hummingbirds; food for other small and large mammals; and special benefits to birds.

The report said that berries may be sufficiently important to grizzly bear diet and health that they could be considered in legal disputes – as is white pine nut availability now - about whether or not to change the “threatened” status of grizzly bears under the Endangered Species Act.

“Wild fruit is typically an important part of grizzly bear diet, especially in late summer when they are trying to gain weight as rapidly as possible before winter hibernation,” said William Ripple, a professor in the OSU Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, and lead author on the article. “Berries are one part of a diverse food source that aids bear survival and reproduction, and at certain times of the year can be more than half their diet in many places in North America.”

When wolves were removed from Yellowstone early in the 1900s, increased browsing by elk herds caused the demise of young aspen and willow trees – a favorite food – along with many berry-producing shrubs and tall, herbaceous plants. The recovery of those trees and other food sources since the re-introduction of wolves in the 1990s has had a profound impact on the Yellowstone ecosystem, researchers say, even though it’s still in the very early stages.

“Studies like this also point to the need for an ecologically effective number of wolves,” said co-author Robert Beschta, an OSU professor emeritus. “As we learn more about the cascading effects they have on ecosystems, the issue may be more than having just enough individual wolves so they can survive as a species. In some situations, we may wish to consider the numbers necessary to help control overbrowsing, allow tree and shrub recovery, and restore ecosystem health.”

As wolves help reduce elk numbers in Yellowstone and allow tree and shrub recovery, researchers said, this improves the diet and health of grizzly bears. In turn, a healthy grizzly bear population provides a second avenue of control on wild ungulates, especially on newborns in the spring time.

Yellowstone has a wide variety of nutritious berries – serviceberry, chokecherry, buffaloberry, twinberry, huckleberry and others – that are highly palatable to bears. These shrubs are also eaten by elk and thus likely declined as elk populations grew over time. With the return of wolves, the new study found the percentage of fruit in grizzly bear scat in recent years almost doubled during August.

Because the abundant elk have been an important food for Yellowstone grizzly bears for the past half-century, the increased supply of berries may help offset the reduced availability of elk in the bears’ diet in recent years. More research is needed regarding the effects of wolves on plants and animals consumed by grizzly bears.

There is precedent for high levels of ungulate herbivory causing problems for grizzly bears, who are omnivores that eat both plants and animals. Before going extinct in the American Southwest by the early 1900s, grizzly bear diets shifted toward livestock depredation, the report noted, because of lack of plant-based food caused by livestock overgrazing. And, in the absence of wolves, black bears went extinct on Anticosti Island in Canada after over-browsing of berry shrubs by introduced while-tailed deer.

Increases in berry production in Yellowstone may also provide a buffer against other ecosystem shifts, the researchers noted – whitebark pine nut production, a favored bear food, may be facing pressure from climate change. Grizzly bear survival declined during years of low nut production.

Livestock grazing in grizzly bear habitat adjacent to the national park, and bison herbivory in the park, likely also contribute to high foraging pressure on shrubs and forbs, the report said. In addition to eliminating wolf-livestock conflicts, retiring livestock allotments in the grizzly bear recovery zone adjacent to Yellowstone could benefit bears through increases in plant foods.

The research was supported by private, state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey.

College of Forestry Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

William Ripple, 541-737-3056

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Grizzly bear




Serviceberries

Categories: Research news

New OSU longhouse features gift of Native American art

OSU News Releases - Fri, 07/26/2013 - 10:47am
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The two Houser sculptures – “Mountain Echoes” and the 8-foot, 600-pound “Watercarrier” – were donated to the center by the family of Portland developer and philanthropist John D. Gray. The 1940 OSU alumnus, who passed away last year, and his late wife, Betty, were friends with Houser and avid collectors of Native American art.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Partially framed with massive Douglas fir beams and sided with cedar planks, Oregon State University’s new Native American Longhouse stands out from the campus’s traditional red brick.

Like a wooden jewelry box, the cultural center holds several significant pieces of art, representing a variety of Native American traditions. Among its treasures are two bronze sculptures by the late Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache artist, Allan Houser. Originally from Santa Fe, Houser is often cited as the “father” of contemporary American Indian sculpture.

The two Houser sculptures – “Mountain Echoes” and the 8-foot, 600-pound “Watercarrier” – were donated to the center by the family of Portland developer and philanthropist John D. Gray. The 1940 OSU alumnus, who passed away last year, and his late wife, Betty, were friends with Houser and avid collectors of Native American art.

Another prominent artwork inside the longhouse is a 12-foot, one-of-a-kind totem pole created by Clarence Mills. A member of the Haida Nation, an indigenous people located in Canada and Alaska, Mills and two assistants carved the totem from an 800-year-old cedar tree that fell in Vancouver, B.C.’s Stanley Park in 2006, and was donated to Mills. Thirteen creatures appear on the 360-degree totem, including a beaver, Oregon State’s mascot.

The totem was commissioned by Vancouver residents Jim and Luana Whyte, who graduated from OSU in 1970 and 1972. Longtime admirers of Native American art, the Whytes also contributed a painting by Haidi artist Bill Reid to the longhouse. Reid is known worldwide for his “Spirit of Haida Gwaii” sculpture, which is pictured on the Canadian $20 bill.

“The idea of carving all the way around the pole was inspired by another artist’s sculpture that’s less than a foot high,” Jim Whyte said.  “Working at a much larger scale was far more difficult. It took 10 times longer than a traditional totem. No one has created a 360-degree, full-size totem before, and I wouldn’t expect others to attempt it; it’s far too expensive.”

Additional artwork in the center by Oregon artists includes paintings by Rick Bartow, of Wiyot and Yurok heritage, and metalwork by Tony Johnson of the Chinook Tribe and Shirod Younker of the Coquille and Coos Indian Tribes.

“We are pleased that we can share art of this quality with the Oregon State community and visitors to our campus, thanks to our generous donors,” said OSU President Ray. “Our longhouse is nicknamed Eena Hawes, or ‘Beaver House,’ signifying that it’s for all Oregon State Beavers. At OSU we believe that art, too, is for everyone. It enriches the experience of students from every major.”

The Native American Longhouse is the first of four new cultural center facilities to open its doors on campus. The initiative got off the ground with a $500,000 gift from the late Portland philanthropist Joyce Collin Furman to create the OSU President’s Fund for Cultural Centers. The 1965 OSU alumna was a strong supporter of her alma mater and served on the steering committee for The Campaign for OSU. 

The cultural centers are among 24 major facility projects that have been completed or are under way at OSU as a result of the current $1 billion campaign.

Media Contact:  Michelle Williams Source: 

Michelle Williams, 541-737-6126 

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Categories: Research news

Global warming to cut snow water storage 56 percent in Oregon watershed

OSU News Releases - Thu, 07/25/2013 - 9:17am
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The water found in snowpack on the McKenzie River watershed is expected to drop 56 percent by the middle of this century, with impacts on everything from agriculture to hydropower and industry.

The study this story is based on is available online: http://bit.ly/13ZLzl1

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new report projects that by the middle of this century there will be an average 56 percent drop in the amount of water stored in peak snowpack in the McKenzie River watershed of the Oregon Cascade Range -  and that similar impacts may be found on low-elevation maritime snow packs around the world.

The findings by scientists at Oregon State University, which are based on a projected 3.6 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase, highlight the special risks facing many low-elevation, mountainous regions where snow often falls near the freezing point. In such areas, changing from snow to rain only requires a very modest rise in temperature.

As in Oregon, which depends on Cascade Range winter snowpack for much of the water in the populous Willamette Valley, there may be significant impacts on ecosystems, agriculture, hydropower, industry, municipalities and recreation, especially in summer when water demands peak.

The latest study was one of the most precise of its type done on an entire watershed, and was just published in Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, with support from the National Science Foundation. It makes it clear that new choices are coming for western Oregon and other regions like it.

“In Oregon we have a water-rich environment, but even here we will have to manage our water resources differently in the future,” said Eric Sproles, who led this study as a doctoral student at OSU.

“In the Willamette River, for instance, between 60-80 percent of summer stream flow comes from seasonal snow above 4,000 feet,” he said. “As more precipitation falls as rain, there will more chance of winter flooding as well as summer drought in the same season. More than 70 percent of Oregon’s population lives in the Willamette Valley, with the economy and ecosystems depending heavily on this river.”

Annual precipitation in the future may be either higher or lower, the OSU researchers said. They did calculations for precipitation changes that could range 10 percent in either direction, although change of that magnitude is not anticipated by most climate models.

The study made clear, so far as snowpack goes, that temperature is the driving force, far more than precipitation. Even the highest levels of anticipated precipitation had almost no impact on snow-water storage, they said.

“This is not an issue that will just affect Oregon,” said Anne Nolin, a professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, and co-author of the study. “You may see similar impacts almost anywhere around the world that has low-elevation snow in mountains, such as in Japan, New Zealand, Northern California, the Andes Mountains, a lot of Eastern Europe and the lower-elevation Alps.”

The focus of this study was the McKenzie River, a beautiful, clear mountain river that rises in the high Cascade Range near the Three Sisters volcanoes, and supplies about 25 percent of the late summer discharge of the Willamette River. Researchers said this is one of the most detailed studies of its type done on a large watershed.

Among the findings of the study:

  • The average date of peak snowpack in the spring on this watershed will be about 12 days earlier by the middle of this century.
  • The elevation zone from 1,000 to 1,500 meters will lose the greatest volume of stored water, and some locations at that elevation could lose more than 80 days of snow cover in an average year.
  • Changes in dam operations in the McKenzie River watershed will be needed, but will not be able to make up for the vast capability of water storage in snow.
  • Summer water flows will be going down even as Oregon’s population surges by about 400,000 people from 2010 to 2020.
  • Globally, maritime snow comprises about 10 percent of the Earth’s seasonal snow cover.
  • Snowmelt is a source of water for more than one billion people.
  • Precipitation is highly sensitive to temperature and can fall as rain, snow, or a rain-snow mix.

The model developed for this research, scientists said, could be readily adapted to help other regions in similar situations determine their future loss of snow water in the future.

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

Eric Sproles, 541-729-1377

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McKenzie River watershed




McKenzie River

Categories: Research news

Study explains Pacific equatorial cold water region

OSU News Releases - Thu, 07/25/2013 - 8:37am
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New research published in the journal Nature outlines how cold, deep water from below mix at sea, with implications for global warming and El Nino events.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new study published this week in the journal Nature reveals for the first time how the mixing of cold, deep waters from below can change sea surface temperatures on seasonal and longer timescales.

Because this occurs in a huge region of the ocean that takes up heat from the atmosphere, these changes can influence global climate patterns, particularly global warming.

Using a new measurement of mixing, Jim Moum and Jonathan Nash of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University have obtained the first multi-year records of mixing that permit assessment of seasonal changes. This is a significant advance beyond traditional shipboard measurements that are limited to the time that a ship can be away from port. Small instruments fueled by lithium batteries were built to be easily deployed on deep-sea equatorial moorings.

Moum employs a simple demonstration to show how mixing works.

He pours cold, white cream into a clear glass mug full of hot, black coffee, very carefully, using a straw to inject the heavier cream at the bottom of the mug, where it remains.

“Now we can wait until the cream diffuses into the coffee, and we’ll have a nice cuppa joe,” Moum says. “Unfortunately, the coffee will be cold by then. Or, we can introduce some external energy into the system, and mix it.”

A stirring spoon reveals motions in the mug outlined by the black/white contrasts of cream in coffee until the contrast completely disappears, and the color achieves that of café au lait.

“Mixing is obviously important in our normal lives, from the kitchen to the dispersal of pollutants in the atmosphere, reducing them to levels that are barely tolerable,” he said.

The new study shows how mixing, at the same small scales that appear in your morning coffee, is critical to the ocean. It outlines the processes that create the equatorial Pacific cold tongue, a broad expanse of ocean near the equator that is roughly the size of the continental United States, with sea surface temperatures substantially cooler than surrounding areas.

Because this is a huge expanse that takes up heat from the atmosphere, understanding how it does so is critical to seasonal weather patterns, El Nino, and to global climate change.

In temperate latitudes, the atmosphere heats the ocean in summer and cools it in winter. This causes a clear seasonal cycle in sea surface temperature, at least in the middle of the ocean. At low latitudes near the equator, the atmosphere heats the sea surface throughout the year. Yet a strong seasonal cycle in sea surface temperature is present here, as well. This has puzzled oceanographers for decades who have suspected mixing may be the cause but have not been able to prove this.

Moum, Nash and their colleagues began their effort in 2005 to document mixing at various depths on an annual basis, which previously had been a near-impossible task.

“This is a very important area scientifically, but it’s also quite remote,” Moum said. “From a ship it’s impossible to get the kinds of record lengths needed to resolve seasonal cycles, let alone processes with longer-term cycles like El Nino and La Nina. But for the first time in 2005, we were able to deploy instrumentation to measure mixing on a NOAA mooring and monitor the processes on a year-round basis.”

The researchers found clear evidence that mixing alone cools the sea surface in the cold tongue, and that the magnitude of mixing is influenced by equatorial currents that flow from east to west at the surface, and from west to east in deeper waters 100 meters beneath the surface.

“There is a hint – although it is too early to tell – that increased mixing may lead, or have a correlation to the development of La Niña,” Moum said. “Conversely, less mixing may be associated with El Niño. But we only have a six-year record – we’ll need 25 years or more to reach any conclusions on this question.”

Nash said the biggest uncertainty in climate change models is understanding some of the basic processes for the mixing of deep-ocean and surface waters and the impacts on sea surface temperatures. This work should make climate models more accurate in the future.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, and deployments have been supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Continued research will add instruments at the same equatorial mooring and an additional three locations in the equatorial Pacific cold tongue to gather further data.

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Jim Moum, 541-737-2553

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Buoy at sea

Categories: Research news

Veterinary hospital managing equine influenza outbreak

OSU News Releases - Tue, 07/23/2013 - 3:53pm
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CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Oregon State University will not accept horses for anything but emergency services until at least Tuesday, July 30, due to an outbreak of equine influenza virus at the hospital.

Three horses are known to be infected with this virus, and others could be, officials say. The virus is a highly contagious respiratory disease in horses that typically is not fatal, but is a particular concern to foals and pregnant horses, since it can cause abortion.

Other than equines, the situation will not affect the care of any other small or large animals at the hospital.

The three infected horses have been placed in isolation and are being treated. Officials say they wish to emphasize that this is equine influenza virus, not equine herpes virus-1, a more serious disease that is often confused with the influenza virus.

Equine influenza is not transferable to humans or other animal species, but can spread rapidly among horses and other equines. It is the most common contagious respiratory pathogen for horses and most animals fully recover. However, young, elderly or pregnant animals are more at-risk for viral diseases such as equine influenza.

“Equine influenza virus is endemic in the U.S., and we just happened to catch these cases,” said Keith Poulsen, an internal medicine specialist at the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital in OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “We’ve acted quickly so that hopefully no other animals will get infected.”

The Large Animal Internal Medicine and Surgery Services program at OSU is working with the state veterinarian’s office to inform veterinarians and horse owners about the disease.

The first clinical sign in horses is typically a fever, followed by cough, nasal discharge and lethargy. Horses with a fever of greater than 102.5 degrees should be seen by a veterinarian.

Infected horses can “shed” or transmit the virus for up to 10 days after incubation, although the peak of shedding is three to five days after infection. Horses that show signs of the disease should be isolated from other horses for 10 days after clinical signs first appear.

The virus is easily killed by many disinfectants, and thorough cleaning of stalls and equipment can help prevent the virus from spreading. Vaccination of horses during an outbreak in a training facility or barn can be beneficial, in consultation with a veterinarian.

Anyone who has concerns about the health of their animals should contact their veterinarian or the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital at OSU, at 541-737-2858 or http://vetmed.oregonstate.edu/

The OSU equine facility typically treats 5-10 horses at a time. All horses currently hospitalized will be monitored closely and tested for equine influenza prior to discharge.

College of Veterinary Medicine Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

Keith Poulsen, 541-737-6939

Categories: Research news

Athletes need to be careful to monitor diet, weight to maintain muscle mass

OSU News Releases - Tue, 07/23/2013 - 8:51am
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Athletes seeking a healthy performance weight should eat high fiber, low-fat food balanced with their training regimen in order to maintain muscle while still burning fat.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Athletes seeking a healthy performance weight should eat high fiber, low-fat food balanced with their training regimen in order to maintain muscle while still burning fat, according to a report by an Oregon State University researcher.

The United States now has a record number of overweight athletes, a population many think of as untouched by the obesity crisis. Nationally, more than 45 percent of high school linebackers are obese, and the number of overweight students entering college level-sports is increasing.

In a peer-reviewed literature review published this summer in the Nestle Nutritional Institution Workshop Series, OSU researcher Melinda Manore looked at the benefits of teaching athletes how to consume what she calls a low-energy-dense diet, or high-fiber, high-water, but lower-fat foods. She said too many athletes are pushed into fad diets or try to restrict calorie intake too much in a way that is unhealthy and unsustainable.

“Depending on the sport, athletes sometime want to either lose weight without losing lean tissue, or gain weight, mostly lean tissue,” she said. “This is very difficult to do if you restrict caloric intake too dramatically or try to lose the weight too fast. Doing that also means they don’t have the energy to exercise, or they feel tired and put themselves at risk of injury.”

Manore is professor of nutrition in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU. She said the overwhelming body of research shows that just counting calories does not work. What does work is a healthy lifestyle that can be maintained, even during breaks or when not in training. She said an athlete’s optimum body weight should include the following criteria:

  • Weight that minimizes health risks and promotes good eating
  • Weight that takes into consideration genetic makeup and family history
  • Weight that is appropriate for age and level of physical development, including normal reproductive function in women
  • Weight that can be maintained without constant dieting and restraining food intake

In the paper, Manore outlined some strategies that athletes can use to maintain a healthy weight and remain performance-ready. It’s important, she said, to adopt a low-energy-dense diet, which includes a large amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fish, and low-fat dairy. Avoid beverages high in sugar, especially soda and alcohol. Manore said half of a plate of food should be filled with fruits and veggies, and processed food should be avoided.

“Always opt for the food over the drink, don’t drink your calories,” Manore said. “Instead of drinking orange juice, eat an orange. It has more fiber, and fills you up more.”

Other key points:

  • Eat breakfast. Data from the National Weight Control Registry shows that 80 percent of people who lost at least 30 pounds in a year and kept it off were breakfast eaters. Eat a breakfast rich with high-fiber whole grains, fruit, high-quality protein such as egg whites, and low-fat dairy. Skip the processed cereals.
  • Get plenty of protein. Most athletes get plenty of protein, but they may not be strategic about making sure to refuel after exercise, and spreading their protein intake throughout the day. Depending on the goals, some athletes may need to get as much as 30 percent of their calories from protein, but many get that in one large meal. Spreading that protein out throughout the day is a better strategy; and nuts, beans and legumes are a great source of protein, not just meat.
  • Exercise regularly. This may seem obvious for an athlete, but many seasonal athletes can pack on pounds during off-seasons, making it that much harder to get performance-ready.
  • Avoid fad diets. Combining severe calorie restriction with intense training can result in metabolic adaptions that actually can make it more difficult to lose weight. Severe weight loss also makes an athlete stressed out and tired, and that is never good for sport.

While her paper is aimed at competitive and recreational athletes, Manore said all of these tips can apply to anyone who wants to change their diet and head in a healthier direction.

College of Public Health and Human Sciences Media Contact:  Angela Yeager Source: 

Melinda Manore, 541-737-8701

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Students playing soccer at Legacy Park in Corvallis. April 2013. (photo by Jan Sonnenmair)


Melinda Manore


Energy balance graphic

Categories: Research news

New Student Experience Center will boost OSU student programs

OSU News Releases - Mon, 07/22/2013 - 9:16am
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The hub of the Oregon State University campus is getting a remake – and a new home for student programs.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The hub of the Oregon State University campus is getting a remake – and a new home for student programs.

Construction began this month on a $42 million project that will add a four-story Student Experience Center to campus. Located on the site of the old Beaver Store parking lot, the 90,000-square-foot building will house many of the student programs now residing in the Memorial Union, MU East and Snell Hall. Student fees are funding the project.

“In all, some 28 programs will relocate to the Student Experience Center when it is completed,” said Michael Henthorne, executive director of the Memorial Union. “A neat facet to the project will be construction of a plaza, which is an 8,000-square-foot canopy that will link the new center with the Memorial Union and host student and university events.

“A rain-protected, outdoor space was the number one student-requested improvement,” Henthorne added.

Among the programs that will be housed in the new Student Experience Center are the Associated Students of OSU, the Memorial Union Program Council, International Students of OSU, Student Media, Diversity Development, the Student Sustainability Initiative and others.

The building will also include a reflection space and several lounge areas.

The site of the former Beaver Store, which is relocated to a new space at the parking garage, will be remodeled, Henthorne said. When construction is completed, the space will include a 350-seat meeting facility, several student lounges, a new restaurant operated by the Memorial Union called North Porch Café, and a dance rehearsal space that can double as meeting space.

Portions of the Memorial Union will be remodeled, with some projects beginning now, and others after the completion of the Student Experience Center, when student programs and organizations relocate.

Among the new features of the Memorial Union:

  • Many Hands Trading will lease a space beginning this fall;
  • OSU Printing and Mailing will open a new retail and service headquarters this fall, including a full post office and package mailing center;
  • The University ID Center will relocate to the MU in 2015;
  • A new “high-tech” meeting facility will be installed in 2015;
  • A family-friendly study lounge will open in 2015 with child resources for parents accompanied by small children.

-30-

Note to Journalists: This is a sidebar to a main story about summer construction at OSU.

Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Michael Henthorne, 541-737-6256

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Categories: Research news

Construction booming on OSU campus – and more is on the way

OSU News Releases - Mon, 07/22/2013 - 9:09am
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Hard hats have replaced baseball caps as the fashion statement of summer on the Oregon State University campus, as a number of major construction projects totaling about $125 million are under way.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Hard hats have replaced baseball caps as the fashion statement of summer on the Oregon State University campus, as a number of major construction projects totaling about $125 million are under way.

Two other projects totaling $27 million – the new OSU Beaver Store and a basketball center – are wrapping up. A number of other construction projects, with a price tag of about $145 million, are on the horizon – thanks to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, who carried them in his budget and the Oregon Legislature, which approved them during the 2013 session.

All told, that is nearly $300 million in construction in the works, funded by a combination of private giving through The Campaign for OSU, matching state funds, student fees, and bonding, according to Brian Thorsness, executive director of Campus Operations.

“This is a busy time on campus, but all of these buildings are important to the mission of Oregon State University,” Thorsness said.

The three biggest projects are also three of the most visible. Workers are clearing the site for a planned Student Experience Center just east of the old OSU Beaver Store and Memorial Union. The $42 million building, which is funded by student fees, will house student government and organizations, student media and other student-related programs. The four-story structure is scheduled for completion in November of 2014.

Austin Hall, future home of the College of Business, is rising rapidly along the north side of Jefferson Way, between Sackett and Fairbanks halls. Construction began in February on this four-story, $50 million building. A $10 million gift from Ken Austin and the late Joan Austin, and a $6 million gift from Pat Reser and the late Al Reser and their family, were the lead gifts on the project – an initiative of The Campaign for OSU. The legislature provided half of the funding for the building during the 2011 session.

The third large project is construction of a new student residence hall on the east end of campus. Located adjacent to Wilson Hall, this $28 million facility is funded through state bonds, which will be repaid by resident fees. The five-story hall will open in September of 2014 and house 324 students, adding to OSU’s on-campus housing capacity.

Aided by an initial gift from the late Joyce Collin Furman, four of the university’s cultural centers are getting new homes. The Native American Longhouse opened in the spring, and construction is beginning on the Asian & Pacific Cultural Center, the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, and the Centro Cultural César Chavez.

Here is a list of recent, current and future construction projects at OSU:

Construction Projects Under Way:

  • Austin Hall – Completion of the100,000-square-foot home for the College of Business is scheduled for fall of 2014.
  • Student Experience Center – Work is just beginning on the $42 million project located just east of the Memorial Union. When completed in November of 2014, this four-story, 88,000-square-foot building will house student organizations and student media. A glass-covered outdoor plaza will connect the building to the east wing of the Memorial Union.
  • Residence Hall – A new $28 million student residence hall is being constructed on the east end of campus, adjacent to Wilson Hall. The five-floor, 76,400-square-foot building, which will house about 324 students, is scheduled to open in fall of 2014.
  • César Chavez Cultural Center – Construction is under way for Centro Cultural Cesar Chavez, located between the parking garage and the CH2M-Hill Alumni Center. The one-story, 3,500-square-foot, $2.4 million center should be completed by Jan. 1 of 2014.
  • Asian & Pacific Cultural Center – Construction is beginning for the one-story, 3,500-square foot center, which will be located just east of the new business building, Austin Hall. The $2.4 million building is scheduled for completion in late fall of 2014.

Construction Projects Nearly Complete:

  • Basketball Center – This $15 million facility adjacent to Gill Coliseum recently had its grand opening and is ready for use. With donor support, construction began in June of 2012 for this 41,000-square-foot building that will be used by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.
  • OSU Beaver Store – The store is relocating from the Memorial Union to the ground floor of the parking garage just east of Gill Coliseum. The $12 million project began in July of 2012 and should open this fall. The two-story addition to the parking garage is 45,000 square feet.

Upcoming Construction Projects:

  • Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center – Construction should begin soon on this new cultural center, which will be located on Monroe Street, near the intersection of 25th Street. The $2.4 million, one-story, 3,500-square-foot building should be completed in 2014.
  • Classroom Building – The Oregon legislature just approved bonding for this four-story, $65 million building that will add much-needed classroom space to campus. The 130,000-square-foot building will house 2,300 classroom seats in auditorium and small classroom styles, as well as advanced arena and parliament styles to maximize student engagement. The project will house the University Honors College, Media Services, the Center for Teaching and Learning, and Technology Across the Curriculum groups, and will be located across a new plaza from Austin Hall. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall and be completed in the fall of 2015. Half of the funding for the building will come from non-resident tuition revenues; the project was supported by the Associated Students of OSU.
  • Engineering Building – A new $40 million engineering building will be constructed just north of Kelley Engineering Building. Construction on the three-story, 60,000-square-foot building is scheduled to begin in summer of 2014, and completed in the fall of 2016. During the 2013 session, the legislature approved public bonding for half of the costs with the other half provide by donors to the Campaign for OSU. Peter and Rosalie Johnson contributed $7 million and an anonymous donor gave $10 million.
  • Strand Ag Hall – A major remodeling of Strand Ag Hall, including deferred maintenance and a seismic upgrade, is scheduled between winter of 2014 and fall of 2016. The project will cost nearly $25 million in funding approved by the legislature.
  • Washington Way – Design for the Washington Way realignment project, from 10th Street to 35th Street, will be completed this August. Construction for Phase I – which includes the intersection of 15th Street and Washington Way, to Benton Place – will start in the spring of 2014 and by completed by that fall. Phase I is estimated to cost $3.3 million.
  • Memorial Union East Wing – The space that has been used by the OSU Bookstore, then Beaver Store, will be renovated and redesigned into student activity spaces.
Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Brian Thorsness, 541-737-7344

Kirk Pawlowski, 541-737-7695

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Categories: Research news

New study finds “nighttime heat waves” increasing in Pacific Northwest

OSU News Releases - Mon, 07/22/2013 - 8:38am
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The Pacific Northwest is beginning to get the type of nighttime heat waves that are routine in some other areas of the nation but historically rare in Oregon and Washington.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new study has found that heat waves are increasing in the western portions of the Pacific Northwest, but not the kind most people envision, with scorching hot days of temperatures reaching triple digits.

These heat waves occur at night.

Researchers documented 15 examples of “nighttime heat waves” from 1901 through 2009 and 10 of those have occurred since 1990. Five of them took place during a four-year period from 2006-09. And since the study was accepted for publication in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, another nighttime heat wave took place at the end of this June, the authors point out.

“Most people are familiar with daytime heat waves, when the temperatures get into the 100s and stay there for a few days,” said Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University and a co-author on the study. “A nighttime heat wave relates to how high the minimum temperature remains overnight.

“Daytime events are usually influenced by downslope warming over the Cascade Mountains, while nighttime heat waves seem to be triggered by humidity,” said Dello, who is in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. “Elevated low-level moisture at night tends to trap the heat in.”

In their study, Dello and co-authors Karin Bumbaco and Nicholas Bond from the University of Washington defined heat waves as three consecutive days of temperatures at the warmest 1 percentile over the past century. Using that standard criterion, they documented 13 examples of daytime heat waves during the time period from 1901 to 2009. Only two of those occurred in the last 20 years.

In contrast, nighttime heat waves have been clustered over the past two decades, with what appears to be accelerating frequency. A warming climate suggests the problem may worsen, studies suggest.

“If you look at nighttime temperatures in Oregon and compared them to say the Midwest, people there would laugh at the concept of a Pacific Northwest heat wave,” Dello said. “However, people in the Midwest are acclimated to the heat while in the Northwest, they are not. People in other regions of the country may also be more likely to have air conditioning in their homes.

On occasion, daytime and nighttime heat waves coincide, Dello said, as happened in 2009 when temperatures in the Pacific Northwest set all-time records in Washington (including 103 degrees at SeaTac), and temperatures in Oregon surpassed 105 degrees in Portland, Eugene, Corvallis and Medford. It was the second most-intense daytime heat wave in the last century, but lasted only three days by the 1 percentile definition.

However, that same stretch of hot weather in 2009 results in a nighttime heat wave that extended eight days, by far the longest stretch since records were kept beginning in 1901.

The latest nighttime heat wave began in late June of this year, and continued into early July, Dello said.

“Like many nighttime heat waves, a large high-pressure ridge settled in over the Northwest, while at the same time, some monsoonal moisture was coming up from the Southwest,” she pointed out. “The high swept around and grabbed enough moisture to elevate the humidity and trap the warm air at night.”

Dello frequently provides weather facts and historical data via Twitter at: www.twitter.com/orclimatesvc.

The Oregon Climate Change Research Institute is supported by the state of Oregon, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and other agencies.

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Kathie Dello, 541-737-8927

Categories: Research news

Hospice workers struggle on front lines of physician-assisted death laws

OSU News Releases - Fri, 07/19/2013 - 2:01pm
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Hospice workers, who traditionally have opposed physician-assisted death, are often the caretakers of the people who use it - a difficult quandary to deal with.

The study this story is based on is available in ScholarsArchive@OSU: http://bit.ly/130Fqi3

 

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Laws that allow physician-assisted death in the Pacific Northwest have provisions to protect the rights of patients, doctors and even the state, but don’t consider the professionals most often on the front lines of this divisive issue – hospice workers who provide end-of-life care.

The existing system, a new analysis concludes, has evolved into a multitude of different and contradictory perspectives among hospice organizations and workers, who historically have opposed physician-assisted death but now are the professionals taking care of most of the people who use it.

The study – titled “Dignity, Death and Dilemmas” - was just published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management by researchers from Oregon State University, and outlines a complex system in which many well-intentioned caregivers struggle to organize their thoughts, beliefs and actions when dealing with a concept they traditionally oppose. It was based on an analysis of 33 hospice programs in Washington state.

When first proposed, it was feared by some that physician-assisted death might displace the palliative and supportive care offered by hospice. Now, in practice, between 85-95 percent of the people in Oregon and Washington who choose assisted death also use hospice – but the interplay they have with their caregivers can vary widely.

“It might seem a little surprising that most people who use physician-assisted death also use hospice,” said Courtney Campbell, the Hundere Professor in Religion and Culture in the OSU School of History, Philosophy and Religion. “Some hospice workers were originally concerned this concept would make them unnecessary, but in fact the level of hospice usage has actually increased.”

Hospice is a national program in which trained professionals provide care to terminally ill patients, ensuring they get proper medical care, adequate pain control, are involved in decision-making and have other needs met in a home environment. They work with both the patient and family to help make death a natural and accepted part of life.

However, hastening or actually causing death is not an accepted part of the hospice philosophy, even though hospice programs acknowledge the right of patients to make that choice where it’s allowed by law. But balancing core beliefs, such as compassion and non-abandonment of a patient, with the new laws has been difficult at best for hospice professionals, Campbell said.

“About 75 percent of hospice organizations will not allow their workers to even be present when a fatal dose of medication is used,” Campbell said.

The reaction in hospice to physician-assisted death varies from one national organization to another, from one agency to another, from one worker to another. There is little consistency to many complex questions about how, whether, and when hospice workers will get involved as individuals they care for make this choice. Approaches can range from outright opposition to non-participation or non-interference.

In recent years it’s become even more difficult as assisted-death has become politicized, Campbell said. Even the words used in describing the serious issues involved are emotionally-charged and inherently contentious, the researchers noted in their report, making reference to legislation that embraced “ending life in a humane and dignified manner” while working its way around such topics as “suicide, assisted suicide, mercy killing and homicide.”

Somewhat caught in the middle, and caring for the people who are affected by those laws, are the hospice workers with marginal guidance and conflicted reactions, researchers said.

“The conventional approach to the question of legalized physician-assisted death . . . has missed the issue of how the requirements of a new law are carried out by the primary caregiving institution, hospice care,” the researchers wrote in their report.

The OSU research offered no simple solutions to this issue, but rather outlined a broad list of questions that could form the basis for more informed discussions – either among hospice providers, the organizations they work for or the general public.

These includes such topics as the hospice mission, patient access to information, questions about legal options, how to discuss emotional or religious factors, response to specific patient requests, documentation of conversations, responsibility to the patient’s family, and many other issues.

College of Liberal Arts Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

Courtney Campbell, 541-737-6196

Categories: Research news

OSU Vet Med dean accepts job on East Coast

OSU News Releases - Thu, 07/18/2013 - 3:17pm
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CORVALLIS, Ore. – Cyril Clarke, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University since May of 2007, announced his resignation on Thursday to accept a position on the East Coast.

Clarke will become dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine effective Oct. 1.

Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president, praised Clarke for his leadership in growing the state’s only veterinary program.

“His leadership has enabled the College of Veterinary Medicine to grow the veterinary teaching hospital, increase the research infrastructure, expand the college’s partnership with the Oregon Humane Society, and advance collaborative research and graduate education initiatives in the Division of Health Sciences,” Randhawa said. “We wish him the best in the next phase of his career.”

During Clarke’s tenure as dean, the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine also went through a $12 million expansion of Magruder Hall, increased its student enrollment and faculty, and significantly expanded the Veterinary Teaching Hospital clinical service.

Randhawa said he would appoint an interim dean during the next several weeks and launch a national search for Clarke’s replacement.

Clarke, who was educated in South Africa, spent 20 years at Oklahoma State University prior to coming to Oregon State.

College of Veterinary Medicine Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Sabah Randhawa, 541-737-2111

Cyril Clarke, 541-737-0811

Categories: Research news

OSU student discovers floating tsunami dock on video one year later…

OSU News Releases - Thu, 07/18/2013 - 2:47pm
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A year after a cement dock from Japan washed ashore near Newport, Ore., an Oregon State University graduate student discovered video of the dock floating by Yaquina Head.

NEWPORT, Ore. – Oregon State University graduate student Cheryl Horton was meticulously scanning year-old video of a bird colony off Yaquina Head near Newport, Ore., last month when she noticed a strange object drifting by in the background.

Closer examination confirmed that the grainy, distant floating object captured on her research camera was the dock that washed ashore at Agate Beach in early June of 2012, some 15 months after a devastating earthquake and tsunami ripped it loose from its mooring in Misawa, Japan. In the weeks after it landed on the Oregon beach, the cement dock became a tourist attraction and drew attention from news media worldwide.

Her discovery came one year almost to the day that the dock landed on Agate Beach, bringing mystique – and potentially invasive species – to Oregon from Japan. It is the only known video of the dock during its trans-Pacific Ocean journey. It can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/112zAzb

“We’ve been behind analyzing our footage and had gone through video of common murre colonies at Cape Meares in the north and Coquille Point in the south,” said Horton, a master’s candidate in fisheries and wildlife at OSU. “But we got so busy that we didn’t get around to looking at the central coast data until this June. Then it was, ‘whoa – what is that?’”

“That” was the dock, which measured seven feet tall, was some 19 feet wide by 66 feet long, and weighed an estimated 188 tons. On camera, floating in the water, it looks much smaller – almost like a log. It takes about three minutes for the concrete dock to drift past the camera, slowly riding the current from north to south.

The discovery is more of a curiosity than anything, though OSU researchers have examined the video for clues that may tell them a bit more about the direction and speed the dock may have traveled – at least in the days before it beached.

Horton is sharing the video with others and is again focusing on her research on common murres, a species that increasingly is being preyed upon by bald eagles along the Oregon coast, as well as by “secondary” predators including gulls and pelicans.

“It was kind of fun to discover the dock video and share it with others,” she said. “Everyone has been pretty excited about it.”

A portion of the dock is on display at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, where Horton and major professor Rob Suryan are based. Horton also is mentored by Katie Dugger, another fisheries and wildlife faculty member on the OSU campus.

Horton is the second fisheries and wildlife student in recent years to make an accidental scientific discovery via camera.  In 2008, graduate student Katie Moriarty captured an image of a rare wolverine on camera in the Tahoe National Forest. It was the first sighting of a wolverine in California in nearly 75 years.

Hatfield Marine Science Center Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Cheryl Horton, 845-548-2187; hortonc@onid.orst.edu

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Cheryl Horton

 

Link to Video:

http://bit.ly/112zAzb

Categories: Research news

OSU hotline opens for food preservation questions

OSU News Releases - Wed, 07/17/2013 - 8:22am
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CORVALLIS, Ore. – As interest grows in preserving produce, the Oregon State University Extension Service is offering its summer food preservation and safety hotline for queries on testing pressure canner gauges, ensuring jam sets properly and preparing tomato salsa.

The hotline at 1-800-354-7319 runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from July 15 to Oct. 11.

Extension-certified Master Food Preserver volunteers from Lane and Douglas counties take the calls.

More young people ages 25-40 are becoming are interested in local food and taking OSU Extension's Master Food Preserver training, said Nellie Oehler, the master food preserver coordinator in Lane County.  

"There's a whole new generation coming up that wants to know how we did it in the old days and wants to go back to the land and back to the basics," she said.

Oehler emphasized that proper techniques must be used to ensure canned foods are high quality and safe to eat. The hotline is one of several resources, including publications and classes, which OSU Extension offers on food safety.

Master Food Preservers who staff the hotline must undergo 40 hours of training. They educate the public about safe food handling and preservation over the phone and at workshops and exhibits. Last year, 374 new and veteran master food preservers throughout the state contributed 23,150 volunteer hours.

Master Food Preservers answered 3,425 calls during the 2012 summer season. About 80 percent dealt with food safety questions, Oehler said.

For more information about the Master Food Preserver Program, go to http://bit.ly/OSU_FoodPreservation and http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/food-safety. OSU Extension's Ask an Expert service also takes online questions about food preservation at http://bit.ly/OSU_AskAnExpert. Additionally, Master Food Preservers run a holiday food safety hotline every November. 

Extension Service Media Contact:  Denise Ruttan Source: 

Nellie Oehler, 541-868-6897

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Michele Pryse, a master food preserver trained by the Oregon State University Extension Service, teaches food preservation techniques in the Medford area. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

Categories: Research news

Stone named head of engineering school

OSU News Releases - Tue, 07/16/2013 - 3:45pm
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Rob Stone will become the permanent head of the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering in the OSU College of Engineering.

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Rob Stone, a professor in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, will lead its School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering after serving as the interim head.

Stone will manage one of the largest engineering schools at OSU, which includes 1,600 undergraduate students, 200 graduate students, 38 full-time faculty and 14 full-time staff.

“Rob is committed to excellence in our academic programs, our research programs, our faculty and students,” said Sandra Woods, dean of OSU’s College of Engineering. “His commitment to OSU and to collaboration is a great benefit to the college and to OSU during this extraordinary period of growth.”  

Stone conducts research in the area of design theory and methodology, design knowledge archival, automated design concept generation, and biologically-inspired engineering design. He earned his doctorate in mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin in 1997 and joined the faculty at OSU in 2009.

College of Engineering Media Contact: 

Thuy Tran, 541-737-6020

Source: 

Sandra Woods, 541-737-3601

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Rob Stone

Categories: Research news

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