Category » Service to Oregon

Avian Nations
October 15, 2014

Avian Nations

Across Oregon’s ecoregions, birds struggle to survive

“(Animals) are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” – Henry Beston, The Outermost House Birdlife in Oregon is as diverse as its landscape. Species range from tiny and whimsical (such as […]


Blue Carbon
October 15, 2014

Blue Carbon

Tropical mangroves are supersinks for greenhouse gasses

Looking through J. Boone Kauffman’s photo collection is like thumbing a tropical bestiary. There’s a proboscis monkey from Borneo, its long, lumpy nose resembling an over-ripe mango. A gibbon and an orangutan from Kalimantan. A green python coiled around a tree. A herd of bristle-nosed pigs. A 15-foot saltwater crocodile whose jaw could crush a […]


The Most Dangerous Thing — “It’s not the large carnivores”
October 15, 2014

The Most Dangerous Thing — “It’s not the large carnivores”

“You asked me what’s the most dangerous thing I encounter in my work. It’s not the large carnivores such as crocodiles or tigers or poisonous snakes. It’s the little things. In the last few years, I have had two students come down with Dengue fever. This is a huge concern of ours. “In our years […]


Accidentally Blue
October 15, 2014

Accidentally Blue

Patented OSU pigment draws interest from artists, industry

Mas Subramanian didn’t expect to find a brilliant blue pigment when he was looking for new semiconductors. But the Milton Harris Chair Professor of Materials Science in the Oregon State University Department of Chemistry was shocked in 2009 when he saw a graduate student take a powder with a vibrant blue hue out of a […]


New labs focus on stormwater, floods
October 15, 2014

New labs focus on stormwater, floods

Facilities supported by Oregon BEST

When floods arrive, hydrologists scramble. They run computer models to evaluate the need for evacuation. They gather data to understand impacts on fish, soils and water quality. Now, Oregon State researchers will have access to two new labs that enable them to test theories before the downpour. A Multipurpose River Hydraulics Research Facility will be […]


Green Neighborhoods Lead to Better Birth Outcomes
October 15, 2014

Green Neighborhoods Lead to Better Birth Outcomes

Researchers gathered data on more than 64,000 births

Where the grass is greener, pregnancies tend to be fullterm, and babies tend to have higher birth weights. The findings hold up even when results are adjusted for factors such as neighborhood income, exposure to air pollution, noise and neighborhood walkability, according to researchers at Oregon State University and the University of British Columbia. “This […]


Rewriting the Script
October 15, 2014

Rewriting the Script

A scholar gives voice to the forgotten women of Irish theater

Charlotte Headrick laughingly calls herself an “American mutt.” What she means is that she, like just about everyone else in this land of immigrants, springs from a colorfully diverse ancestry. Her Huguenot forebears — those “fierce, Calvinistic Protestants” — figured most prominently in the stories she heard growing up in Knoxville, Tennessee. But she was […]


Seven Plays
October 15, 2014

Seven Plays

The seven plays collected in the soon-to-be released anthology Irish Women Dramatists 1908 – 2001 (Syracuse University Press, November 2014), edited by Eileen Kearney and Charlotte Headrick, delve into universal themes ranging from friendship in old age to childbirth out of wedlock. They are: Lady Augusta Gregory The Workhouse Ward (1908) This one-act comedy is […]


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 […]


Back from Prehistory
October 13, 2014

Back from Prehistory

When condors soar again in Oregon, lead ammunition could undo their recovery

The “butifull Buzzard of the Columbia ” was Captain William Clark’s descriptor in 1805 for the prehistoric vultures he observed riding thermals on 9-foot wings in the Columbia River Gorge. Yet just 100 years later, the giant condors were all but gone in Oregon. Now, ornithologist Susan Haig is helping to bring them back. At […]


A Rocky Outlook
October 13, 2014

A Rocky Outlook

Seabirds suffer huge losses to opportunistic predators

A light wind froths across the headland, kicking up the churn below. Just off Yaquina Head, atop a sea stack named Colony Rock, more than 60,000 seabirds huddle in a wing-towing crush. Audible from shore is a raucous din, the collective cry of nesting females incubating eggs and raising chicks while their mates fly in […]


A Moveable Feast
October 13, 2014

A Moveable Feast

Getting fish-eaters to switch from salmon to sardines to carp takes scientific cunning

When Dan Roby floated the idea of relocating 18,000 seabirds in 1999, there was a lot of eye-rolling among wildlife experts in Oregon. “No one believed it would work,” says Roby, an ornithologist at Oregon State University specializing in marine species. But everyone agreed that something had to be done. With suitable seabird habitat shrinking […]


A Delicate Balance
October 11, 2014

A Delicate Balance

Songbirds, cows, bugs and Buteos live in precarious harmony on the prairie

Nothing looks more vulnerable than a meadowlark hatchling: a scrap of fluff, a fraction of an ounce, blind, immobile except for its gaping mouth. As if that’s not enough fragility, the baby bird’s bowl-shaped nest sits on the ground — the same ground where herds of 800-pound cattle may graze. But the threat implied by […]


Small-Scale Science
October 11, 2014

Small-Scale Science

Pint-sized humans study tiny birds facing big problems

Little kids have a lot in common with hummingbirds. Both are small in size, quick in motion and fond of sugar. Plus, kids think hummingbirds are cool. So pairing Oregon schoolchildren with the feisty, orange-throated hummers that share their Willamette Valley habitat seemed like a scientific and educational slam-dunk to ornithologist Matt Betts, a researcher […]


Innovation: Smart Bike Helmet
October 10, 2014

Innovation: Smart Bike Helmet

Alert is sent after an accident

Bike helmets have long proven their worth by helping to prevent head injuries. Now a team of OSU student interns who worked at Intel last summer has turned the durable plastic shells into an emergency beacon, communicator and diagnostic tool in the event of an accident. Equipped with electronics that can detect and analyze a […]


Technical Assistance
October 10, 2014

Technical Assistance

Students develop robots to empower people

Last summer, Ben Arvey took an electric wheelchair for a test drive. He blinked his eyes, and as the Google Glass on his head relayed those small movements through the Internet, the chair moved forward. With no assistance from Arvey, it swerved to avoid a table and then straightened out as though traveling down a […]


Success in STEM fields
October 10, 2014

Success in STEM fields

NSF grants aim to diversify the workforce

Two five-year grants from the National Science Foundation aim to increase the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines, or STEM, at Oregon State University. Through a program known as ADVANCE, OSU will recruit and promote women in STEM fields and implement policies to address needs across race, sexual […]


The GMO Conundrum
October 10, 2014

The GMO Conundrum

We could lose an important crop-improvement tool to politics and fear

Oregonians will go to the polls on November 4 to decide whether or not to require prominent labels on food containing ingredients made from genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The issue of labeling has been around for years, and — déjà vu! — Oregonians have even voted on it before. But the rhetoric has heated […]


Arrested Development
October 10, 2014

Arrested Development

Intellectual property and regulations hinder research

Genetic engineering has become a valuable scientific tool. It has enabled us to gain tremendous insight into the mechanisms of plant reproduction, disease resistance and other useful traits. However, commercial use of this technology has not lived up to expectations and has created serious hurdles for plant breeders. That in turn hampers genetic progress and […]


University of Alaska Joins Wave Energy Partnership
October 7, 2014

University of Alaska Joins Wave Energy Partnership

Wave energy researchers will focus on the tidal inlets and coastal waves of Alaska as a result of a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Until now, the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center has been a partnership of Oregon State University and the University of Washington. “Alaska has an enormous energy […]


Small Stressors May Reduce Longevity for Men
October 6, 2014

Small Stressors May Reduce Longevity for Men

Older men who lead high-stress lives, either from chronic everyday hassles or because of a series of significant life events, are likely to die earlier than the average for their peers. “We’re looking at long-term patterns of stress — if your stress level is chronically high, it could impact your mortality, or if you have […]


Aspen Recovery in Yellowstone Spurred by Wildlife Shifts
October 6, 2014

Aspen Recovery in Yellowstone Spurred by Wildlife Shifts

Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park is undergoing dramatic shifts with consequences that are beginning to return the landscape to conditions not seen in nearly a century. In the park’s northeast section, elk have decreased in number in their historic winter range in the Lamar Valley and are now more numerous outside the park. Aspen recovery […]


Partnership Advances the Cutting Edge
October 3, 2014

Partnership Advances the Cutting Edge

Blount International and OSU collaborate on saw technologies

You might expect that the state that produces the country’s largest amount of softwood timber would also host leaders in the chainsaw industry. One of those firms, Blount International in Portland, has increased its focus on new approaches to power systems, production efficiency and consumer safety. As partners in Oregon State’s Advantage program, the company […]


Running with Robots
October 2, 2014

Running with Robots

To understand animal locomotion, engineers look to birds

Hollywood has come a long way since R2-D2 rolled about in Star Wars (1977) with the turn-on-a-dime sophistication of a self-propelled lawn mower. Its companion C-3PO wasn’t much more advanced. It moved with a mechanical grace reminiscent of the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. Fast forward to the Isaac Asimov inspired sci-fi thriller […]


Oceanography Boot Camp
August 14, 2014

Oceanography Boot Camp

Students take the science helm in Oregon coast research cruise

If they had come home early, you wouldn’t have been surprised. Half of them got seasick. Equipment failed. And the weather changed unexpectedly. But last April, 11 Oregon college students from three institutions — Oregon State University, the University of Oregon and Clatsop Community College — stuck it out for four days at sea on […]