Category » Features

July 19, 2008

From Risk to Relationship

Youth development focuses on the positive, but the most vulnerable still face long odds

Youth development focuses on the positive, but the most vulnerable still face long odds In 1998, Michelle Inderbitzin decided to conduct a study of youth in a detention center for violent offenders. Almost every Saturday morning for 15 months, the University of Washington graduate student in sociology made the 90-minute drive from Seattle to an […]


From Risk to Relationship
July 19, 2008

From Risk to Relationship

Youth development focuses on the positive, but the most vulnerable still face long odds

In 1998, Michelle Inderbitzin decided to conduct a study of youth in a detention center for violent offenders. Almost every Saturday morning for 15 months, the University of Washington graduate student in sociology made the 90-minute drive from Seattle to an “end-of-the-line training school” for boys convicted of multiple property crimes, armed robberies, violent and/or […]


Out of the Depths
June 30, 2008

Out of the Depths

Voracious “red devil” squid are on the move

It was like a scene from a grade-B horror film. On a gently rocking vessel in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez, a young oceanographer earnestly watches her computer screen while colleagues lower a cable into the water.


Sacred Landscape
May 23, 2008

Sacred Landscape

Tribes confront the cultural risks of contaminant exposure

The traditions of native cultures — making reed baskets, eating wild foods, participating in sweat lodges — sustained people for centuries. Now those cultures are threatened by contamination. Researchers from the Umatilla reservation and OSU show why.


Expedition to the Edge
May 23, 2008

Expedition to the Edge

An OSU scientist braves an uncharted rainforest in a search for rare and endangered species

A love of bugs led Chris Marshall to take a white-knuckle flight into a remote South American rainforest. With an eye on cataloging the diversity of these rich ecosystems before they vanish, he returned with species never seen by scientists.


May 23, 2008

The Proboscis Hypothesis

Were dinosaurs bugged to death?

Was the mighty dinosaur done in by a midge? Very likely, argues OSU zoologist George Poinar in his new book, What Bugged the Dinosaurs? Insects, Disease and Death in the Cretaceous. Midges, together with millions of other Cretaceous insect species, may well have landed the “final knockout blow” to the giant reptiles by infecting them […]


Musical Panache
April 30, 2008

Musical Panache

OSU steel drum ensemble taps into Caribbean rhythms

OSU percussionist Bob Brudvig is leading a five-person ensemble in a practice session on the second floor of historic Benton Hall. It may be winter in Corvallis, but the music makes you forget the drizzle outside. It evokes palm trees, Caribbean sun and pre-Lenten carnivals. Brudvig works the melody on his chrome-plated steel drum, tapping […]


Windows on Watersheds
April 23, 2008

Windows on Watersheds

A clear look at industrial forests

Old-style logging left scars on the landscape, but nearly 40 years ago, research in Oregon changed tree-cutting practices. Now researchers are joining landowners to update the science behind modern forest management.


April 23, 2008

From Oppression to Religious Freedom

By Renée Roman Nose

It took centuries for religious practices of American Indians to receive full protection under U.S. law. Until 1994, when President Clinton signed legislation granting Native Americans the right to use peyote for ceremonies without fear of losing their jobs, tribes suffered oppression and even death for their spiritual beliefs. Most notorious was the massacre at […]


April 23, 2008

Baskets of Concern

Food is only the most obvious way contaminants enter the human body. Poisons also come in through the pores of the skin and the lobes of the lungs. Living in intimate contact with the landscape, as many indigenous peoples do, raises the risks of exposure. Traditional practices of the Umatilla members of the Columbia Basin […]


April 23, 2008

Born To Love Bugs

Living a boyhood obsession

There are two kinds of entomologists: those who love insects intellectually and those who love them viscerally. Without a doubt, Chris Marshall fits into the second category. The love of bugs smote him early, and it smote him hard. He grew up combing the fields and woodlands of his New England neighborhood with a glass […]


April 23, 2008

“Bug Poop Grows Trees” (BPGT)

Insect collection aids ecological research

In Andrew Moldenke’s forest ecology course, students get the BPGT acronym drilled into their heads from Day One. Oregon’s fabled old-growth forests owe their existence to insect digestion, and the professor wants to make sure nobody forgets it. “Old, decayed, and decaying logs and other detritus,” Moldenke explains to author Jon Luoma in the 1999 […]


Deep Ecology
April 4, 2008

Deep Ecology

From coral reefs in the tropics to Oregon’s rocky banks, Mark Hixon investigates coastal marine fishes

When talk turns to the mud-dwelling creatures of the deep seafloor, Mark Hixon jumps up from his swivel chair, strides to a cabinet in his office and swings open the door. Taking out a long cardboard box, he gently lays it on his desk. “This,” he says, reaching inside, “is a sponge from just off […]


Coastlines and Cultures
April 4, 2008

Coastlines and Cultures

Robbie Lamb’s international work with sustainable fisheries has earned him a Fulbright grant.

Robbie Lamb’s love of marine biology started with his mother’s pre-dawn knocks on his door when he was a child. She woke him so the two could drive from their Portland home to see the Oregon coast’s well-known tide pools. He hated getting up early, but once there, Robbie managed to shake off his drowsiness. […]


July 4, 2007

Salmon Survival

Ocean conditions play a key role in the health of Northwest salmon runs, and scientists at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center are trying to pinpoint why. Clearly there are more salmon during cold-water regimes, when strong and persistent upwelling fertilizes the marine food web. Bill Peterson, a federal biologist at the Hatfield Center, says one […]


June 4, 2007

Feast or Famine

Gray whales have roamed the world’s oceans for some 30 million years. The species hasn’t survived that long without adapting to changes, such as those in the California Current over the past decade. 2006 was a banner year for the whales and whale watching on the central Oregon coast. In kelp beds a mere quarter-mile […]


April 25, 2007

On Red Owl Mountain

By Cristina Eisenberg In the rural West, geography defines us. I live with my husband and teenage daughters on the shoulder of Red Owl Mountain, one of the many mountains that make up the Swan Range, which is part of the crazy quilt of ranges that forms the Rocky Mountains in northwest Montana. Our cabin […]


April 1, 2007

Minding the Dairy

Scientists reveal a killer’s M.O.

Little matters more to dairy farmers than the purity of their product and the health of their animals. So when Warren “Buzz” Gibson, co-owner and herd manager at the Lochmead Dairy in Junction City, Oregon, heard six years ago that an incurable cattle disease called Johne’s (pronounced “yo-knees”) could threaten his reputation for quality, he […]


April 1, 2007

Paratuberculosis (MAP) and a host cell


April 1, 2007

Stories That Heal

Once upon a time in an Oregon river valley, there lived a woman named Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson. At the big university where she was a teacher and researcher, her students called her Dr. Dale. When visitors walked into Dr. Dale’s office at the College of Education, they noticed something very important about her: She loved working […]


April 1, 2007

Bibliotherapy in Kenya

It was at the bedside of a dying relative that the idea for Daphne Kagume’s doctoral dissertation took hold. As her beloved uncle succumbed to AIDS in a Kenya hospital, the OSU graduate student witnessed the heartbreaking isolation that so often afflicts AIDS patients in her native country. She resolved to help. With guidance from […]


April 1, 2007

Forged in Fire

Scientists want to know how fire shapes the region’s forests

In the life of a forest, fire can be a frequent and demanding companion. How often the flames visit and whether they stay low, licking the tree trunks, or flare into the canopy, becoming what foresters call a “stand replacement fire,” can determine the character of the forest for centuries. Or until the next fire. […]


April 1, 2007

Fire Cores


April 1, 2007

Nature’s Glue

Kaichang Li teaches soybeans to act like shellfish.

Soy may help prevent cancer not only on your kitchen table but also in your kitchen table. Across campus from OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute, where nutrition scientists have been studying soybeans’ place in a healthful diet (see “The Zinc Link,” page 22), another OSU scientist has found a way to use those same protein-rich beans […]


April 1, 2007

Growing Technology

From microbes to plants, OSU researchers are leveraging biological materials to develop a variety of new products. Here are some highlights: Cellulose Power Professor Michael Penner in the Department of Food Science and Technology is studying one of the holy grails of the bio-based fuel industry: the economical conversion of woody plant materials into ethanol […]


High Alert
April 1, 2007

High Alert

Large carnivores promote healthy ecosystems by keeping browsers on edge

In a remote corner of Zion National Park, a small herd of mule deer browse quietly. Through the sun-dappled canyon burbles North Creek, its waters cool and clear, its banks green and reedy, alive with frogs, butterflies and bird-song. But this pastoral scene in southern Utah has a dark subtext, subtle yet unmistakable in the […]


February 1, 2007

Across the Divide

Parting the Waters.

In the summer of 1997, Aaron Wolf and a Berber guide trekked up narrow mountain paths to a village high in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Despite the steep terrain, they walked lightly. A donkey carried their gear. As they moved toward snowcapped peaks, they crossed one dry, rocky ridge after another. It took four […]


February 1, 2007

Medical Pioneer

At one time, Erin Rieke might have been hesitant to take risks, glad to let someone else step up. Hard to tell now. The 22-year-old senior in bioengineering from Tualatin, Oregon, has been doing extraordinary things for an undergraduate: culturing breast cancer cells, exposing them to controlled doses of radiation, learning how to make nanoparticles […]


February 1, 2007

Small Miracles

Harnessing nanotechnology

Nanotechnology has arrived. No longer do we just have to imagine the benefits. Advertisers tout them in cosmetics, clothing, batteries, dental adhesives, paint and golf clubs. In 2004, nanotech consultant Lux Research, Inc., estimated the worldwide sale of products containing nanomaterials at $158 billion. And new products are on the horizon: medicines, sensors, filters and […]


Green Power
July 23, 2006

Green Power

Plugging into Nature

Oil addicition — how can we kick it? OSU scientists and engineers have new ideas that hold promise and well-developed technologies that are already replacing fossil fuels. Here are five projects leading to our energy future.