Archive » October, 2013

On a Wing and a Dare
October 10, 2013

On a Wing and a Dare

Pilotless aircraft monitor the environment

On a warm afternoon last summer in the hills west of Corvallis, three Oregon State University students went hiking in the McDonald-Dunn Forest when they became “lost.” A few scattered belongings — a backpack, shoes, a shirt — marked their trail in an emergency response exercise. Rather than send out a full-scale operation on foot […]


An Elegant Matrix
October 10, 2013

An Elegant Matrix

Woody waste finds new markets in biochar

In the Northwest, where tons of biomass rots in forests or burns in slash piles, the conversion of waste into biochar is an environmental and economic win-win.


Forests at Risk
October 10, 2013

Forests at Risk

USDA grant fuels research on fire, drought, insects

“The margin between life and death in the forest can be rather small,” says Oregon State climate scientist Philip Mote. As wildfires widen, insects invade and drought deepens, the razor-thin margin for tree survival becomes ever thinner. A five-year, $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will speed the search for answers — […]


An Iceberg Roars
October 10, 2013

An Iceberg Roars

Listening to the frozen ocean

What is the sound of an iceberg disintegrating? Would you believe it’s as loud as a hundred supertankers plying the open seas? OSU scientists were astounded recently when they listened to recordings of an iceberg that had formed in Antarctica, floated into the open ocean, and eventually melted and broke apart. Scientists have dubbed this […]


Where Growth Meets Decay
October 10, 2013

Where Growth Meets Decay

Fungal pigments stain wood with surprising beauty

Bowls made of hardwoods like curly soft maple, sugar maple, box elder and buckeye oak are adorned with pigments made by fungi whose ecological role is, ironically, to decompose wood.


Through the Ice
October 10, 2013

Through the Ice

On the Antarctic seafloor, life thrives in surprising abundance

Andrew Thurber is a self-described “connoisseur of worms.” He finds these wriggling, sinuous creatures, many with jaws and enough legs to propel an army, to be “enticing.” In the Antarctic, where he dives through the ice in the name of science, a type of worm known as a nemertean can reach 7 feet long. Giant […]


End-of-Life Dilemma
October 10, 2013

End-of-Life Dilemma

Hospice workers struggle with assisted death

When dying people choose to hasten death with a doctor’s help, their caregivers often face a troubling dilemma. In particular, hospice — the final stop for many terminal patients — poses an overlooked problem, OSU researchers report. That’s because hospice objects to physician-assisted death, yet most patients who choose assisted death are in hospice care. […]


Biological Origami and Naked Mole Rats
October 10, 2013

Biological Origami and Naked Mole Rats

Seeking the secrets of longevity in misfolded proteins

A half-ounce flying mammal, a tiny marsupial that glides from tree limb to tree limb, and a hairless, burrowing rodent with supersize front teeth all share a trait that makes them intriguing to researcher Viviana Perez: exceptional longevity. The little brown bat (Myotis lucifungus), common across North America, has been known to live more than […]


New Flu Clues
October 10, 2013

New Flu Clues

Vaccine strategies need rethinking

When flu season rolls around, hundreds of thousands of Americans will get sick. Nearly a quarter-million will be hospitalized. Tens of thousands will die. Despite the risks, only about a third of Americans will get vaccinated. Researchers now say the nation’s vaccination priorities need to shift. That’s because the groups least likely to get the […]


A Cheaper Cell
October 10, 2013

A Cheaper Cell

Antifreeze shows promise in solar cell manufacturing

Faster, cheaper, better. The conventional wisdom says you can’t get all three at the same time. But researchers at Oregon State say otherwise — at least when it comes to new materials for making solar cells. Engineers have found a less expensive, less toxic, better performing — and surprising — substance for solar cell manufacturing: […]


Peak Water
October 10, 2013

Peak Water

Global warming likely to shrink snowpack

Oregon is warming, and snow is waning. The clear, clean water that supplies many of Oregon’s cities and farms originates high in the Cascades. Stored on snowy peaks, the water feeds rivers and aquifers that supply some of the state’s most populous regions. In one key watershed, the McKenzie, snowpack is predicted to drop more […]


Deep Trouble
October 10, 2013

Deep Trouble

Lionfish get bigger, go deeper

When a submersible dove into deep waters off Florida not long ago, the scientists aboard saw an alarming sight: big lionfish, lots of them. “This was kind of an ah-ha moment,” says OSU researcher Stephanie Green. “It was immediately clear that this is a new frontier in the lionfish crisis.” Lionfish, native to the Pacific […]


“I’ve Never Been So Excited”
October 10, 2013

“I’ve Never Been So Excited”

A young scientist goes to the White House

Portland ninth-grader Meghana Rao was scouring the Web for information on biochar when she stumbled across an intriguing paper by a researcher named Markus Kleber. When she realized he was at Oregon State University, just 90 miles down the freeway from where she was a student at Jesuit High School, she emailed him with “a […]


Seeing the Planet
October 9, 2013

Seeing the Planet

OSU's "remote sensing" story

From satellites, balloons, high-altitude surveillance planes and even a two-seater Cessna, Oregon State scientists have been gathering data on the planet for nearly a half century. Their work has helped manage crops, detect threats to Western forests, track activity in Cascade volcanoes and reveal new details about ocean currents and how they interact with the […]


The Hidden Costs of Research
October 9, 2013

The Hidden Costs of Research

Oregon State's rate for "overhead" is quite low

Imagine for just a moment that you: 1) are independently wealthy; 2) are a genius, and; 3) have a brilliant idea for a research project (for those readers who already satisfy all three criteria, please indulge me a bit of editorial whimsy). You begin your project with every intention of following the scientific method. You […]


Seedbed for Startups
October 9, 2013

Seedbed for Startups

Advantage Accelerator adds fuel to Oregon State’s entrepreneurial fire

Methane-powered engines. Autonomous helicopters. Online shopping assistants. Electricity from wastewater. These new products and the business opportunities they generate are in the pipeline at Oregon State University’s Advantage Accelerator. They are among 14 research concepts or spinoff companies selected to participate in a program that spurs the creation of new companies from university-based research. Five […]


“I Thought I Wanted to Work with Fish”
October 9, 2013

“I Thought I Wanted to Work with Fish”

Profile of an Antarctic scientist

When Andrew Thurber started his journey in marine biology at Hawaii Pacific University, he got a surprise. “I thought I wanted to work with fish,” he says. “Turns out I don’t.” Instead, in an Antarctic research lab, he became enamored with worms. “Worms are incredibly diverse. That was one of the most amazing things to […]


A History of Satellite Remote Sensing Research at Oregon State University
October 4, 2013

A History of Satellite Remote Sensing Research at Oregon State University

Satellite data have revealed fundamental features of the world's oceans

CEOAS faculty have been involved in every aspect of satellite remote sensing, including sensor and satellite mission design, development of algorithms for retrievals of the physical and biological variables of interest, and applications of satellite observations to study a host of oceanographic research questions.