Category » Stewardship

Leave it to the beavers
February 15, 2012

Leave it to the beavers

Vanessa Petro wants to find out if these "nuisance" animals will create valuable salmon habitat

It’s on the Oregon state flag and a symbol for Oregon State University: the North American beaver (Castor canadensis). But how much do you really know about these semi-aquatic mammals? Likely, not a lot. It turns out that not even scientists have a firm grasp on beaver ecology, despite the animal’s prominence in the Northwest. […]


Surf’s Up!
January 19, 2012

Surf’s Up!

Scientists help coastal communities plan for an uncertain future

If you love big surf, go to Depoe Bay on the Oregon coast during a winter storm. As swells rise and break offshore, winds whip ocean spray high into the air, but the waves move inexorably toward the harbor (the “world’s smallest navigable harbor,” reads a road sign), channel through rocks and, with a resounding […]


Botanist leads international fungal genome project
December 22, 2011

Botanist leads international fungal genome project

Joey Spatafora's goal: 1,000 fungal genomes in five years

Fungi are master recyclers, turning waste into nutrients and providing humankind with everything from penicillin to pale ale. Although fungi are members of one of the world’s most diverse kingdoms, we know relatively little about them. That is about to change. A new study headed by Joseph Spatafora, an Oregon State University professor of botany […]


Advocate for the planet
December 14, 2011

Advocate for the planet

Bill McKibben travels the Earth to save it

What we’ve come to understand in recent years is the scale of change and the pace of change that we’re now kicking off. We’re not going to be able to adapt past a certain point.


Contraceptive vaccine under study for elephants and horses
November 21, 2011

Contraceptive vaccine under study for elephants and horses

For Ursula Bechert, reducing conflicts between wild animals and people comes down to good birth control.

The first lesson the elephants taught Ursula Bechert was that they had a sense of humor.


Chasing the canine connection
November 16, 2011

Chasing the canine connection

When Cristina Eisenberg first heard a wolf howl, she felt comforted and curious.

[Editor's note: Ingrid Ockert is senior pursuing a liberal arts degree with a focus in the history of science ] When Cristina Eisenberg and her family moved to Montana in 1994, they received a warm welcome from their neighbors. On the first night in their new log cabin, they were greeted by the sonorous howls […]


Love of Language
October 27, 2011

Love of Language

As a college student, Bryan Tilt spent three years in South Korea and returned with a love for a new culture and its language. “I don’t know that I would have gotten into anthropology without that experience. It just opened up doors for me that I didn’t even know existed, let alone knew how to […]


On Call in Earthquake Country
September 23, 2011

On Call in Earthquake Country

Learning from devastation takes rapid response

When a severe earthquake strikes a distant community, Scott Ashford gets on a plane. He travels light but packs enough to be self-sufficient. He is, after all, going into a disaster zone where emergency personnel don’t need another mouth to feed. The head of the Oregon State University School of Civil and Construction Engineering is […]


The Secret Life of Honeybees
July 5, 2011

The Secret Life of Honeybees

Ramesh Sagili investigates the causes of honeybee decline

Strapped into a small holding device, the honeybee amiably wiggles its antennae. Like a toddler in a highchair, it seems to reach greedily for the dropper with sugar water that appears over its head. As its mouth opens, its tongue darts out for a taste of the sweet liquid.


Sea Lions Star in the Center Ring
May 11, 2011

Sea Lions Star in the Center Ring

[Editor's note: Amy Schneider, a junior in zoology from Roseburg, Ore., is an intern with Terra magazine. She wants to write and do science and combines them whenever she can. Her interest in animals started at age three when she told her parents she would die if she didn't get a pet guinea pig.]   […]


February 16, 2011

Salmon diets are skin deep

Health clues may be revealed in what fish are eating

Scientists at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center look for clues to what salmon eat in an unlikely place: the mucus that fish produce on their skin. In this video, David Noakes, professor in the OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and Senior Scientist, Oregon Hatchery Research Center; and Robbins Church, an Environmental Research Scientist with […]


Green Tower
February 10, 2011

Green Tower

A solution for the space-challenged gardener

If your taste buds yearn for home-grown tomatoes, spinach, onions, garlic, lettuce, potatoes and cukes, but your garden is the size of a postage stamp, Al Shay has an idea for you. The instructor in OSU’s Dept. of Horticulture has built a “green tower” that creates nearly 90 square feet of usable plant growing space […]


Shellfish on Acid
February 1, 2011

Shellfish on Acid

How will acidic water affect Oregon's shellfish industry?

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter, “You’ve had a pleasant run! Shall we be trotting home again?” But answer came there none — And this was scarcely odd, because They’d eaten every one. — Lewis Carroll The Walrus and the Carpenter Whether or not you’re a fan of gulping down raw oysters doused with Tabasco, recent […]


Raised Voices
February 1, 2011

Raised Voices

Sea Grant Extension helps communities address problems

Fishing is hard enough. The weather, changing ocean conditions and the fickleness of fish make it tough to track your quarry let alone catch them. Now competition for space in the ocean — an oxymoron in an environment defined by its seemingly limitless expanse — poses new concerns along the West Coast. In the future, […]


Smooth Sailing
February 1, 2011

Smooth Sailing

Oregon has become an international center for ocean research

For the past decade, Oregon State University has boasted an oceanography program ranked among the top five in the nation, and its broad spectrum of marine and coastal research has an international reputation that few institutions can match. OSU Marine Science by the Numbers 350 OSU faculty, nearly $100 million in research, more than 150,000 […]


From Research to Retail
February 1, 2011

From Research to Retail

Bringing science and business together for Oregon seafood

Gilbert “Gil” Sylvia spent childhood summers riding a bus through the lake-studded military base where he lived, hauling buckets of live fish from pond to pond. He and his buddies were trying to alter the balance of species for one reason: to boost their own catches. They never guessed that by dumping sunfish, bass and […]


First Oregon ShakeOut
January 25, 2011

First Oregon ShakeOut

On January 26, Oregonians will participate in the state’s first Oregon ShakeOut to raise earthquake awareness. What they learn could save lives when the next Big One hits.


After the Spill
January 5, 2011

After the Spill

Sarah Allan is tracking toxins in the Gulf of Mexico

The 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico brought up bad memories for Sarah Allan. The Oregon State University Ph.D. student, who grew up in southeast Alaska, was a child in 1988, when the Exxon Valdez struck a reef and dumped millions of gallons of crude into another rich marine ecosystem, Prince William Sound. […]


Yellow tang study shows marine reserve benefit
December 22, 2010

Yellow tang study shows marine reserve benefit

The popular aquarium fish are rebounding after being nearly wiped out

Marine ecologists at Oregon State University have shown for the first time that tiny fish larvae can drift with ocean currents and “re-seed” fish stocks significant distances away – more than 100 miles in a new study from Hawaii.


Linking Climate Sciences and Society
November 20, 2010

Linking Climate Sciences and Society

Northwest universities team up to serve regional needs

The Oregon Climate Change Research Institute will lead efforts to assist government agencies and the public.


Neil Shay to Lead OSU’s Wine Institute
November 20, 2010

Neil Shay to Lead OSU’s Wine Institute

A molecular biologist who makes wine from his own grapes will lead research to support Oregon’s wine industry.


Farming on the Fringe
November 19, 2010

Farming on the Fringe

Urbanization can bring benefits to farmers

Urban homeowners and farmers don’t always see eye-to-eye, but along with new neighbors come opportunities.


Earth Ethics
November 19, 2010

Earth Ethics

Extension’s National Network for Sustainable Living Education has grown from the work of OSU professor Viviane Simon-Brown. Starting with 12 colleagues in five states in 2004, more than 80 people at 30 land grant universities now collaborate to promote planet-friendly lifestyles.


A Way Forward for Oregon’s O&C Forests
October 19, 2010

A Way Forward for Oregon’s O&C Forests

Any fair-minded reading of the history of the O&C (Oregon and California Railroad) lands in Western Oregon would conclude that they were intended to provide economic support for the 18 counties in which they reside.


October 12, 2010

Talking About Water

Lest we forget that environmental and human health are intimately connected, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill delivered that message in spades. Dead birds and seaturtles were the poster animals for an event that closed fisheries and elevated health risks from volatile oil-based compounds in the air and water. Oregon State University researchers are working […]


Birding by Ear Online
July 23, 2010

Birding by Ear Online

Volunteers help teach computers to ID birds by song

Recording the subtle syllables, notes and motifs that distinguish one bird species from another requires some pretty sophisticated gear. But for OSU researchers, collecting audio data in an old-growth forest last summer was a walk in the park compared with analyzing it. “It’s a lot of data,” reports Jed Irvine, a faculty research assistant in […]


Summer of Opportunity
June 23, 2009

Summer of Opportunity

Students plug into research experiences at home and abroad

Ah, summer vacation. Time to kick back, right? Not so much for OSU students who are discovering opportunities to expand their horizons. They’re modeling blood flow, studying wildlife conservation in Africa, surveying Oregon’s old-growth forests and teaching entrepreneurship.


April 24, 2009

Where Grass Seed Is King

Oregon’s Willamette Valley is the undisputed “grass-seed capital of the world.” In close partnership with growers and scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, OSU researchers and agronomists have been at the forefront of an industry worth $500 million. Here are some of the milestones. 1909 Seed lab starts up on campus for research and […]


April 24, 2009

Buzz About New Honeybee Specialist

Ramesh Sagili arrived in Corvallis in February to start a honeybee research program targeting mites, pesticides, stress and nutrition. The new OSU bee specialist is part of an initiative to help ensure that there are enough healthy honeybees to pollinate Oregon’s crops. Sagili says Varroa mites, nutritional deficiencies or other factors might be the cause […]


April 24, 2009

Envisioning the Forest

Computer Models Combine Ecology and Economy

John Sessions likes to refer to forestry as “a bio-energy puzzle.” Like a lot of 21st-century puzzles, its solutions are digital 
and mathematical. “Forest landscape planning, as it is known today, was not possible before the advent of high-speed computers, geographic information systems, modern algorithms and graphic interfaces,” says the holder of the endowed Richard […]