Category » Features

Optimizing Energy
April 26, 2011

Optimizing Energy

Simulations and modeling help to boost a fuel cell's energy output

Imagine a black box with knobs on the outside that you can turn. If you add fuel, the box produces electricity. By adjusting the knobs, you can change the power output, but there’s a catch — you’re not sure how far to turn the knobs to produce the most power. For researchers at Oregon State […]


A Slippery Slope
April 22, 2011

A Slippery Slope

Warm rains and glacial melting trigger dangerous debris flows

Grinding over ancient layers of lava and ash, the glaciers of the Cascade Range act like supersized sheets of shrinkwrap. Stretched taut across tons of pulverized rock, these blankets of frozen snow hold sand, gravel and boulders in place — that is, until they start to melt. Then the sediments, unlocked from the glaciers’ icy […]


Lines in the Water
February 1, 2011

Lines in the Water

Communities and scientists explore proposed marine reserves

As fishermen, scientists and coastal communities spar over Oregon’s system of marine reserves, OSU researchers and their partners are developing the science. One of their first testing grounds is Port Orford’s Redfish Rocks.


Down to the Gulf
February 1, 2011

Down to the Gulf

In the wake of the largest oil spill in U.S. waters, OSU scientists are monitoring whales, chemical pollution and fish.

Bruce Mate didn’t wait long. Within days of the April 20 Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, he was on the phone with officials from the U.S. Minerals Management Service. He and other OSU researchers are analyzing consequences of the largest spill in U.S. waters. Meanwhile, Oregon photographer Justin Bailie was on the scene in Terrebonne Parish.


Plankton Planet
February 1, 2011

Plankton Planet

Ocean microbes hold the key to marine ecosystems.

On a South Pacific research expedition, Angelicque White and Ricardo Letelier encountered a surprise: An intense red tide surrounded the ship. (Photo: Angelicque White)


Tipping Point
February 1, 2011

Tipping Point

West Coast research consortium tackles ocean acidification

In the summer, you may have to go 20 miles out to sea to find it, but close to the seafloor, near the edge of Oregon’s continental shelf, is a preview of the future: water as acidic as what the world’s oceans may be like in 50 to 100 years. “The future of ocean acidification […]


Cascadia Roulette
January 25, 2011

Cascadia Roulette

The odds are good that a major earthquake will strike the Pacific Northwest in the near future. We're overdue, says Robert Yeats.

Bob Yeats has spent his career preparing people for the possible: a catastrophic earthquake


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.


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.


Quest for the perfect Christmas tree
December 7, 2010

Quest for the perfect Christmas tree

Christmas trees of the future will soon be growing in research greenhouses. (Photo: Lynn Ketchum)


In Earth’s deep crust, microbes abound
November 30, 2010

In Earth’s deep crust, microbes abound

Near a mid-Atlantic Ocean ridge called Atlantis, scientists have discovered a rich microbial ecosystem in the deepest crustal rocks ever explored.


Light on Leaves
October 20, 2010

Light on Leaves

Lasers reveal forest structure in HD

Not long ago if you wanted to measure the height of a tree, you had to do trigonometry on the ground — or gear up for a climb. But these days you have a more sophisticated option: beaming lasers from the sky. A revolutionary airborne technology called LiDAR (“light detection and ranging”) is making it […]


Countdown on the Columbia
October 2, 2010

Countdown on the Columbia

Deadline looms for the river that turned darkness to dawn

More than 400 dams produce power and control floods in the nation’s fourth largest river basin. The U.S./Canada treaty that established responsibilities for water flow and power sharing is due for renewal.


A World Apart
July 23, 2010

A World Apart

Jennifer Kue was just a little girl when she began assisting Portland’s Hmong community.


Teeny Little Steps
July 17, 2010

Teeny Little Steps

Small changes can pay big dividends for overweight kids

Romping in the backyard at Cozy Corners family childcare home, Avery and Lauryn are boosting their health by doing what kids do naturally – running, jumping and playing.


From Problem to Profit
July 17, 2010

From Problem to Profit

Western juniper could benefit Oregon's "green" economy

Which of Oregon’s abundant tree species can provide not only logs for your vacation cabin but scented oil for your afternoon massage and flavor for your evening cocktail? Juniperus occidentalis, western juniper. This hardy species – which is endemic to the dry, rocky grasslands east of the Cascades – has heartwood that is both beautiful […]


On Track
July 17, 2010

On Track

OSU undergraduate accepted into summer biomedical program in Switzerland

By Nick Houtman and Darryl Lai Marsha Lampi runs for distance – 5,000 or 10,000 meters in track, 5,000 or 6,000 meters in cross-country. The former Lincoln High School student from Portland enjoys pacing herself but is always looking to improve. “I usually think, if only I had done this or that differently, I could […]


Summer of Science
July 17, 2010

Summer of Science

Experience Oregon's beauty and bounty through OSU research

Take a hike! Summer may have arrived a bit late in the Pacific Northwest, but you can make up for lost time by exploring Oregon through OSU’s Summer of Science Google map.


Put a Book in Your Backpack
July 17, 2010

Put a Book in Your Backpack

Summer adventures abound in the Northwest, not only across the region’s magnificent landscape but within the covers of books written by Northwesterners about the people and places that make the region unique.


Stones on Ice
June 23, 2010

Stones on Ice

Greenland streams hold clues to future sea levels

Why should the residents of Seattle, San Francisco, New York City and Boston worry about warming in Greenland, an ice-laden island in the North Atlantic? Because if all the water locked in the massive Greenland Ice Sheet flowed into the oceans, low-lying coastal cities worldwide would be inundated. “The Greenland Ice Sheet could contribute up […]


Gene Stalker
April 23, 2010

Gene Stalker

DNA fingerprints reveal clues to ancestry and illicit hunting of cetaceans

Scott Baker, an Oregon State University conservation geneticist and cetacean specialist whose work was featured in the Academy Award-winning documentary, “The Cove,” has been named one of four 2011 Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation.


April 23, 2010

Secret Slaughter

In the seaside village of Taiji, Japan, there’s a jarring juxtaposition: Jolly-looking tour buses shaped like happy dolphins putter up and down the streets by day, while by night fishermen secretly slaughter hundreds of panic-stricken dolphins in a nearby inlet and sell them as meat. This sinister irony permeates the Academy Award-winning movie, The Cove, […]


Where Chemistry Meets Compassion
April 23, 2010

Where Chemistry Meets Compassion

Examining the biological roots of empathy

You don’t think of voles as paragons of virtue. Yet one species of these drab mouse-like creatures is loyal to its mate for life, helps around the den, cuddles its young, and generally exhibits what humans would call “family values.” Meet the true-blue prairie vole. Its cousin the meadow vole, however, is a cad. Despite […]


April 23, 2010

Finding a Balance: Q&A with Stewart Trost

Terra: Sometimes anti-obesity programs are viewed as placing emphasis on children’s weight rather than on their health. Stewart Trost: Yes, that’s true. Some programs have tried sending home BMI (body mass index) report cards to parents. They’ve had a lot of push-back from parents saying, “You’re telling me my child’s fat.” It’s difficult, because on […]


March 23, 2010

From Margin to Mainstream

Scientists help farmers boost organic production

“The organic movement has evolved from a fringe element associated with a lost generation to a core business strategy of the world’s largest corporations.” –Reuters News Service, September 2008 When California-based Amy’s Kitchen opened a plant in Southern Oregon in 2006, the Oregon Department of Agriculture called it “a large feather in Oregon’s organic cap.” […]


Living on Credit
February 22, 2010

Living on Credit

Forest landowners are beginning to turn carbon to cash

As Arctic ice thins, sea levels rise and glaciers recede, Ken Faulk takes stock of his trees in the Oregon Coast Range. Last summer, he began measuring his stands of Douglas fir and white oak by pounding plastic pipes into the ground to mark the centers of circles nearly 30 feet across. Working steadily in […]


February 22, 2010

The Stress Paradox

Coping with trauma can strengthen us over time

Carolyn Aldwin has been privy to countless untold secrets, heartbreaking stories from war zones, hospital wards and prisoner-of-war camps. People from all walks of life have confided their everyday problems and their worst nightmares to her. “I talked to someone who was a lawyer at the Nuremberg Trials,” she says. “I’ve talked to people who’ve […]


February 22, 2010

Girl GIRL Boy Boy

Women’s stories reveal the dark side of an age-old tradition

At the “Shahargaon” community clinic near Delhi in 2008, Sunil Khanna worked with doctors and community workers to learn about women’s reproductive heath-care needs and their views on son preference. Khanna’s interviews helped him develop community-based intervention programs. (Photo: Lakshman Anand)


November 23, 2009

The Littlest Among Us

Research points the way to high-quality childcare

Clutching a book about Clifford the Big Red Dog, 4-year-old Allexis clambers onto a sofa in the Library Corner. Her mom, Tiffani Bowen, jots the child’s name on a sign-in sheet at the Child Development Laboratory in OSU’s Hallie Ford Center and then sits down beside her. Bowen’s sheltering arm, sun-bronzed and tattooed with a […]


November 23, 2009

Leading Man

Jon Lewis explores the art and business of American film

Moreland Hall faces the picturesque Memorial Union in the heart of a historic college campus straight out of central casting. Rounding a corner on the way to film professor Jon Lewis’ modest office, you’d encounter a poster that makes it clear he thinks in Technicolor and speaks in terms just as vivid: “REAL SEX: The […]