Category » Stewardship

Oregon birders and citizen scientists join eBird project
October 13, 2014

Oregon birders and citizen scientists join eBird project

A team of ornithologists, birders and citizen scientists is collecting data on Oregon birds through a project called Oregon 2020. “Oregon has a few species of birds we know very well — like the spotted owl, the sage grouse and the meadowlark,” says W. Douglas Robinson, the Mace Professor of Watchable Wildlife at OSU and […]


Of Spots and Stripes
October 13, 2014

Of Spots and Stripes

Two related owl species compete for the last stands of old-growth forest

To hear Katie Dugger tell it, you’d think catching a baby northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) for scientific banding was as easy as taking a Tootsie Roll from a toddler. “They’re so mellow and laid-back,” the ornithologist says. “If the owl is sitting low enough in a tree, as is often the case, you […]


August 8, 2014

Living Well on an Altered Planet

"Transformation Without Apocalypse" inspires new narratives on climate change

With reports of climate doomsday on the horizon, many people seek a brighter outlook on the future but aren’t sure where to turn. In February 2014, the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature and the Written Word at Oregon State University hosted a two-day symposium to highlight strategies for coping — and even thriving — […]


Survivors from the Depths of Time
January 24, 2014

Survivors from the Depths of Time

Scientists and tribes work urgently to save the ancient Pacific lamprey

As one of the “first foods” of Northwest Indians (along with salmon, elk, huckleberries and camas bulbs) lamprey hold a place of high honor in tribal culture. But outside Indian culture, Pacific lamprey have a PR problem.


Partners Raise $1.5 Million for Earthquake Research
January 23, 2014

Partners Raise $1.5 Million for Earthquake Research

Resilience and safety are top priorities

Looming in Oregon’s future is a massive 9.0 earthquake. Roads, bridges, buildings, sewers, gas and water lines and lives are at risk. To meet the threat, Oregon State University and partners from government and industry have created a research initiative known as the Cascadia Lifelines Program. They have raised $1.5 million to support studies of […]


Carnivores in Retreat
January 23, 2014

Carnivores in Retreat

Researchers call for global conservation initiative

In ecosystems around the world, the decline of large predators such as lions, wolves and cougars is changing the face of landscapes from the tropics to the Arctic. An analysis of 31 carnivore species shows how threats such as habitat loss, persecution by humans and reductions in prey combine to create global hotspots of carnivore […]


Shoring Up Our Coasts
January 22, 2014

Shoring Up Our Coasts

Ocean communities plan for climate change by building trust

As a scholar in environmental communications, Miriah Russo Kelly is digging into the interpersonal dynamics of collaboration and cooperation among people who may share little in common except locale — fishermen and hotel managers, loggers and grocers, political leaders and homeowners, climate scientists and climate skeptics.


To Bring Back a Native Fish
January 22, 2014

To Bring Back a Native Fish

February events promote lamprey awareness

Pacific lamprey, Entosphenus tridentatus, after many years of flying under the radar, have just recently received increased attention and awareness. Three events are planned for February, “Lamprey Awareness Month,” as christened by Jeremy Monroe of Freshwaters Illustrated, to give one of the oldest vertebrates some due. On February 10, the Corvallis Science Pub (Old World […]


Flight of the Bumblebees
January 10, 2014

Flight of the Bumblebees

Scientists will follow bumblebees with tiny sensors

Responding to the sting of declining honeybee populations, Oregon State University entomologists and engineers are planning to track native bumblebees with tiny sensors. Many aspects of bumblebee behavior are unknown, but better understanding may lead to bee-friendly agricultural practices, says Sujaya Rao, an entomologist in the College of Agricultural Sciences. “Lack of pollination is a […]


High Noon for Forest Fires
January 10, 2014

High Noon for Forest Fires

Modelers aim to assist policymakers

Decades of fire suppression have put the Ponderosa pine forests of Eastern Oregon at risk. Despite being adapted to frequent low-intensity fire, they have accumulated high fuel loads. Forest managers must decide when to let low-intensity fires burn and where to invest in costly fuel reduction treatments. With a $1.2 million grant from the National […]


Where the Wild Whales Are
January 9, 2014

Where the Wild Whales Are

Researchers map genetic variation across the seascape

Some researchers are gene hunters. They track wildlife populations by following differences and similarities in genetic profiles. Now a research team led by Scott Baker, associate director of OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute, is helping scientists visualize genetic information from individual whales across the ocean. A member of Baker’s team, Ph.D. student Dori Dick in the […]


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.


Mapping the Columbia
July 30, 2013

Mapping the Columbia

Cartography students create atlas for iBooks

The Columbia River Basin comes to life in a new digital atlas produced by Oregon State University cartography students. They have created an iBook — accessible via Apple’s iPad — which combines the look and feel of a traditional paper book with the touch-screen features of a tablet computer. Through colorful maps, animations, photos and […]


“eButterfly” Can Change a Summer Hobby into a Scientific Venture
July 25, 2013

“eButterfly” Can Change a Summer Hobby into a Scientific Venture

Build a virtual butterfly collection

With the arrival of sunny summer days and creation of a new “citizen science” project called eButterfly, every 7-year-old child in the United States and Canada just gained the ability to become a working scientist. This project, which is now online at e-butterfly.org, is one of the first of its type, and will allow everyone […]


Like Birds? Project Seeks Citizen Scientists for Bird Surveys
July 25, 2013

Like Birds? Project Seeks Citizen Scientists for Bird Surveys

Volunteer birders can learn to contribute sitings to national database

Oregon State University researchers are hoping to tap into the state’s growing population of bird-watching enthusiasts to create a volunteer team of “citizen scientists” to gather data on Oregon’s resident and visiting birds. Their project, called Oregon 2020, is seeking to fill some of the large gaps in data about Oregon birds, organizers say. Information […]


da Vinci Days 2013: Stories from the Edge of Science
July 25, 2013

da Vinci Days 2013: Stories from the Edge of Science

Oregon State scientists take audiences on a planetary journey

Leonardo da Vinci combined the practical and the beautiful, the mechanical and artistic. At the 2013 da Vinci Days festival in Corvallis, Oregon State University scientists, engineers and mathematicians shared their journeys under Antarctic sea ice, to an African village, to Mars and through a mathematical landscape.


A Bird’s-Eye View
June 28, 2013

A Bird’s-Eye View

Planners are looking at landscapes through a wider lens

Miles Hemstrom was a young boy when he began looking at the landscape from a bird’s-eye view. It started when he went fishing with his dad on the Grand Mesa in Colorado. He recalls driving up an old dirt road that wound along the side of a mountain through aspen and spruce-fir forest. “We could […]


Aquatic Vigil
May 23, 2013

Aquatic Vigil

Labs go to extraordinary lengths for fish and other water dwellers

It boils down to a centuries-old debate among philosophers, scientists, veterinarians, farmers, ranchers, aquarists, and pet owners: What is our obligation to captive animals?


On the Beach
May 22, 2013

On the Beach

Stranded whales are not always related

The mothers of beached whale calves often were missing entirely from the beach, a study found.


Connective Tissue
May 22, 2013

Connective Tissue

Hope grows where facts and values intersect

When Michael P. Nelson talks about his work, he mentions carcasses and cadavers to a startling degree — startling because Nelson is not a physician or a veterinarian or even a biologist. He’s a philosopher. So at first glance, necropsy seems an odd topic of discourse.  But it starts to make sense when you notice […]


Ethical Evolution
May 22, 2013

Ethical Evolution

The history of medicine owes a debt to animals

Barely a century has passed since Louis Pasteur developed a vaccination for rabies. Since then, scientists have discovered treatments for some of the worst human scourges: smallpox, tuberculosis, polio and influenza. Much of their success can be traced to experiments on animals under circumstances that would shock us today. Pasteur learned about rabies by infecting […]


From Data to Doing
May 21, 2013

From Data to Doing

Climate science leads to community action

Adapting to climate change requires two key things: good data and boots on the ground. As oceans rise, icecaps melt, snowpack diminishes, wildfires rage and aquifers dry up, coupling science to action becomes ever more urgent. But the barriers to linking science to practical action are formidable, often springing from deep disparities in worldview among […]


Nomads No More
May 21, 2013

Nomads No More

Anthropology student listens to the voices of Mongolian herders

Pressure from encroaching modernization threatens traditional patterns of migration and collaboration in Inner Mongolia. Tom Conte, master’s student in anthropology, traveled there to learn about impacts on the grasslands and Mongolian culture.


Biochar video
May 3, 2013

Biochar video

Learn how biochar is made, sequesters carbon and protects water quality

Perry Morrow, student in the Oregon State University Water Resources Graduate Program, produced this video on biochar, the carbonized remains of plants. Turning low-value wood and other biomass into biochar sequesters carbon from the atmosphere for hundreds of years. The resulting material may also benefit water quality by absorbing pollutants such as copper, lead, zinc […]


Corps of Discovery
February 1, 2013

Corps of Discovery

Mastering the natural history of Oregon's storied lands and waters - and passing it on

Just as some babies are born with special gifts for music or math, Harvard’s Howard Gardner argues, others come into the world with an exceptional sensitivity to nature. The Oregon Master Naturalist program was designed to tap into this devotion to the land and build a statewide corps of expert volunteers.


Concord Elementary School
January 31, 2013

Concord Elementary School

Where vegetables sprout (and kids, too)

Amid the chaos, the kids are learning about the art of gardening.


Lake of the Woods
January 31, 2013

Lake of the Woods

Where the wild things are

“The three key words in the mission of Oregon Master Naturalists are explore, connect, contribute.”


An Ethical Tightrope
January 30, 2013

An Ethical Tightrope

Learning to make delicate choices

Making ethical choices about animals can be a philosophical high-wire act — a precarious balance of practicality and principle. Weighing practical needs against “normative ethics” — right or wrong, good or bad, just or unjust — requires more than a handbook of do’s and don’ts. “The institutional protocols — the laws, regulations, policies — provide […]


Documenting the Giants
January 29, 2013

Documenting the Giants

Canopy science for old-growth forests

Forest scientist and Oregon State University alumnus Steve Sillett studies and climbs the largest trees in the world. Since 1987, he’s climbed more than 1,000 of these arboreal giants, many of which reach heights greater than 200 feet tall and diameters upwards of 20 feet. Sillett’s study of old-growth forests — and in particular redwood […]


The Ethic of Care
October 12, 2012

The Ethic of Care

Respect for animals guides their treatment in teaching and research

The three rats snoozing in Cage 57 don’t know it, but they could someday help save thousands of human lives. Snuggled in their EcoFresh bedding, the rodents are digesting a meal that may hold clues to preventing colon cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. On their cage, equipped with HEPA […]