Category » Stewardship

The Biscuit Fire 10 Years Later
October 10, 2012

The Biscuit Fire 10 Years Later

What will the long-term data show?

The 2002 Biscuit Fire not only torched a half-million acres in Southern Oregon, it became a poster child for the debate over post-fire management and forest recovery. When the journal Science accepted a paper on the fire’s aftermath by then-graduate student Daniel Donato, it ignited a long-smoldering debate over what, if anything, should be done […]


Eco-roofs and Earthquakes
October 10, 2012

Eco-roofs and Earthquakes

Research will guide new structural standards

Growing greenery on roofs brings many benefits. Buildings stay cooler, saving energy. Roofs last longer, saving money and materials. Birds and insects find new habitat, helping ecosystems. And green roofs make urban spaces more aesthetically and spiritually pleasing, as well as reducing heat-island effects for city dwellers. But there are some costs that need to […]


Degrees of Separation
September 26, 2012

Degrees of Separation

Scientists weigh in on biodiversity quest through Facebook

Facebook may be great for cute kitty videos and baby pictures, but who knew it could play a role in science? Brian Sidlauskas, an Oregon State University fish biologist, and his team used the popular social network to advance their study of biodiversity in a South American rain forest. This video produced by Facebook, Degrees […]


Bug Problems? Call in the Chickens
July 25, 2012

Bug Problems? Call in the Chickens

Oregon State Extension experiments with pest control in organic apple orchard

“Aw, no bugs!” exclaims Betsey Miller after meticulously pouring over a wheelbarrow’s worth of decomposing leaf litter and manure. “The chickens are doing a great job, but it’s still fun for us entomologists to find insects once in a while!” A pen of praiseworthy red-ranger chickens peck away at the grass a few yards away, […]


Horns of Africa
July 11, 2012

Horns of Africa

Dylan McDowell studies endangered rhinos in Tanzanian reserves

In the place where Dylan McDowell grew up, wildlife meant sea lions, sandpipers, salmon and passing pods of spouting whales. Where he’s going this summer, wildlife means something else entirely, something reminiscent of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, exotic and fearsome: wildebeests, jackals, baboons, leopards, warthogs. And rhinos that have been poached nearly […]


Sea Urchin
July 11, 2012

Sea Urchin

Caitlyn Clark takes her love of ecology to Ireland's first marine reserve

On her first-ever research trip, Caitlyn Clark trudged up and down hundreds of spongy hummocks spanning miles of arctic tundra, all the while swatting at giant mosquitoes and scanning for hungry polar bears. She was in Manitoba to collect data about the habitats of boreal frogs and stickleback fish for Earthwatch Institute Student Challenge Awards […]


Legacy of a Whale
July 11, 2012

Legacy of a Whale

Renee Albertson’s childhood encounter led her, decades later, to French Polynesia

Rain was pouring hard the day Renee Albertson first connected, face-to-face, with a marine mammal. She was a 7-year-old visiting British Columbia’s Sealand aquarium (Canada’s now-defunct answer to California’s SeaWorld) with her mom and dad. The daily show had been cancelled because of the downpour. The usual crowds were absent. As the soggy trio from […]


Relay for Wheat
June 20, 2012

Relay for Wheat

If wheat breeding were a relay race, the land grant all-star team would include Foote, Kronstad, Peterson and now Zemetra

When he was a college student, Bob Zemetra found the perfect career. “I liked working with plants, and I realized that in plant breeding — in theory — I could be outside in the good part of the year and inside in the bad part of the year.” Things didn’t turn out that way, he […]


Floating Dock from Japan Carries Potential Invasive Species
June 7, 2012

Floating Dock from Japan Carries Potential Invasive Species

Starfish, crabs, oysters and algae are among the Asian hitchhikers

When debris from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan began making its way toward the West Coast of the United States, there were fears of possible radiation and chemical contamination as well as costly cleanup. But a floating dock that unexpectedly washed ashore in Newport this week and has been traced back to the […]


Wheat for the West
June 7, 2012

Wheat for the West

Land grant research catapulted wheat farming into an economic power that feeds the world

It is arguably the plant that made the West. Pioneers brought wheat in practically every wagon on the Oregon Trail. It fed farm families in the Willamette Valley and miners in the John Day and California gold-rush towns. It was currency and foreign exchange. As the nation grew, scientists developed dryland and irrigated growing techniques. […]


Fisher of Rivers
June 6, 2012

Fisher of Rivers

Haley Ohms wades into Dolly Varden research in Japanese streams

A river runs through Haley Ohms’ life. Actually, a whole bunch of rivers. So spending the summer hip-deep in fast-moving water will feel familiar to the Oregon State University graduate student — even if those cold, tumbling waters flow on the other side of the Pacific Rim. The fish will seem familiar, too. The Dolly […]


Pumped Up
June 5, 2012

Pumped Up

Zachary Dunn helps bring clean water to Kenyan farmers

How far would you go to help someone get a glass of clean water? Zachary Dunn knows exactly how far he’d go: 9,000 miles. And that’s just one trip, one way. By summer’s end, Dunn and fellow Oregon State University students had traveled almost 36,000 miles — greater than the Earth’s circumference — to help […]


From Wood to Watts
May 30, 2012

From Wood to Watts

Forest-based fuels could fire up rural development, but at what cost?

About a million years ago in South Africa, a Homo erectus cave dweller used fire on purpose, and some charred bones at the site suggest it may have been for cooking. Thus was born the biofuels industry — and also the first known barbecue. The name of that cave, Wonderwerk, means “miracle” in the Afrikaans […]


Evidence for Change
May 25, 2012

Evidence for Change

Rigorous climate science trumps our senses

Some people take a dim view of the idea that Oregon, as well as the rest of the world, could be expected to continue warming in coming decades. They may cite March snowfall in the Willamette Valley or unpublished comparisons of mean temperatures over a given time period in specific places. Appealing as it is, […]


Green mulch
May 25, 2012

Green mulch

More veggies and more fruit = more plastic mulch on farms. Oregon State students look for alternatives.

Bear with me; here’s the problem. Plastic mulch — those shiny sheets spread across row upon row of veggies, strawberries and other crops — enables farmers to produce more types and greater quantities of food. It makes farming more profitable, preserves soil moisture, reduces weeds and saves on labor costs. But this type of mulch […]


From concert hall to lecture hall
March 18, 2012

From concert hall to lecture hall

How music set the stage for a life in science

James Cassidy doesn’t fit the stereotypical image of a scientist. Two star-shaped earrings dangle from his left ear. A fetching fedora is perched on top of his head. He’s swapped his white lab coat for a charcoal sports jacket. A chic checkered shirt peeks out underneath. His alert grey eyes are framed by dark glasses. […]


Fishing for Facts in Guyana
March 2, 2012

Fishing for Facts in Guyana

For two weeks in 2011, dawn signaled the beginning of another day of fish sampling for Oregon State University professor Brian Sidlauskas and his small team of colleagues and graduate students. Their camp was wedged within a mountainous area of northern South America called the Guyana Shield.


Quartet for the Earth
February 21, 2012

Quartet for the Earth

Four students bring distinct perspectives to climate change research

A mountaineer, a world traveler, an athlete and a Chinese scholar pursue answers to climate change questions.


Green Evolution
February 20, 2012

Green Evolution

Economists evaluate options for farming in a warmer world

East Africa’s farms feed millions, but production is likely to fall if temperatures rise and droughts become more common.


River of change
February 20, 2012

River of change

A resilient future for the Willamette River

Although population growth and development will add stress to the Willamette River, environmental restoration projects are already under way.


Learning to think like a planet
February 20, 2012

Learning to think like a planet

In a rapidly changing environment that will challenge human relationships, how can we maintain a respectful and ethical culture?


State of Change
February 20, 2012

State of Change

To learn how Oregon is coping with climate change, Terra magazine’s Lee Sherman and OSU Extension photographer Lynn Ketchum traveled across the state talking to stakeholders in seven sectors identified in the Oregon Climate Assessment Report. See how people from Ashland and Florence to Bend, Portland, Pendleton and Salem are using research to meet needs in public health, the environment and the economy.


State of Change: Building Our Shells
February 20, 2012

State of Change: Building Our Shells

“The attitudes of Oregonians toward climate change are somewhat unknown, but small-scale surveys indicate that many residents of our state would consider it a problem worth attention by policymakers.”
– Oregon Climate Assessment Report


State of Change: A Shuffling of Species
February 20, 2012

State of Change: A Shuffling of Species

“Resilient ecosystems on land and in the sea provide ‘stepping stones’ where species can find refuge as they shift their geographic distributions due to climate change. … Management and natural-resource policies that protect intact ecosystems are a tool for adaptation.”
– Oregon Climate Assessment Report


State of Change: A Capacity for Health
February 20, 2012

State of Change: A Capacity for Health

“The best means of fending off any changes for the worse due to climate change are similar to those already in place: ensuring that changes in disease patterns can be detected, investigating as needed, and mounting an appropriate public health response as soon as possible.”
–Oregon Climate Assessment Report


State of Change: Lifeblood of a Region
February 17, 2012

State of Change: Lifeblood of a Region

“Understanding the complex interactions among climate systems, terrestrial systems, and human systems is essential to predicting future changes in water resources and implementing sustainable water resource management in Oregon.”
–Oregon Climate Assessment Report


State of Change: Against the Grain
February 17, 2012

State of Change: Against the Grain

“Typically, agriculture producers are an adaptable group; however, increased heat and water stress, changes in pest and disease pressures, and weather extremes will pose adaptation challenges for many crop and livestock production systems.”
– Oregon Climate Assessment Report


State of Change: Nursery of the Sea
February 17, 2012

State of Change: Nursery of the Sea

“The changing climate will likely have significant impacts along the coast and estuarine shorelines of Oregon. Changes associated with global climate change include rising sea levels, storminess, rising water temperatures and ocean acidification.”
– Oregon Climate Assessment Report


State of Change: Seedlings for Evergreens
February 17, 2012

State of Change: Seedlings for Evergreens

“Adaptive management strategies may assist plants in adapting to future climate changes, but will be challenged by the long life-cycles of many Oregon tree species.”
– Oregon Climate Assessment Report


Communicating about climate change
February 17, 2012

Communicating about climate change

Knowledge of concerns and values leads to a respectful conversation on difficult topics

I remember when I felt that the climate change workshop would go well. After a period of planning and preparation, our Oregon Sea Grant team arrived in Port Orford not knowing how the diverse community group would respond to the issue of a changing local climate when we were all actually face to face. So, […]