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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 […]


Learning to Dive
May 28, 2014

Learning to Dive

OSU’s scientific diving course opens underwater opportunities

It seemed that Kyle Neumann had a dream job: video broadcasting for the Portland Timbers. But something kept nagging at him. “For me, it just wasn’t fulfilling a higher purpose,” says the Oregon State University senior. He wanted to use his video storytelling skills, he decided, not for professional sports but for Planet Earth. First, […]


Trial by Fire
May 28, 2014

Trial by Fire

Cracking molecules in the W. M. Keck Collaboratory

Few places are as hot as 6,000 degrees Centigrade: the surface of the sun, the center of the Earth, the heart of a laboratory device at Oregon State University. In the lab, this is the temperature of a kind of flame produced when argon gas flows through an intense electromagnetic field. Appropriately, the part of […]


Cows Show Stress
May 24, 2014

Cows Show Stress

Simulated wolf attacks produce trauma

Livestock that have encountered wolves experience stress that may affect their health and productivity.


Taking the Measure of Seals and Those Who Study Them
April 18, 2014

Taking the Measure of Seals and Those Who Study Them

An undergrad tests her stamina on a frozen continent

In Antarctica, when you sedate a 1,000-pound Weddell seal, it can take a while for the animal to settle down.


Survivors from the Depths of Time
January 24, 2014

Survivors from the Depths of Time

Scientists and tribes work urgently to save the ancient Pacific lamprey

As one of the “first foods” of Northwest Indians (along with salmon, elk, huckleberries and camas bulbs) lamprey hold a place of high honor in tribal culture. But outside Indian culture, Pacific lamprey have a PR problem.


The Warsaw Discourses
January 24, 2014

The Warsaw Discourses

When the world convened in Poland for climate talks, Gregg Walker was there

Gregg Walker is making his way toward the University of Warsaw where the Global Landscapes Forum is being held as part of the United Nations climate change negotiations for 2013. The Oregon State University professor has been attending these international climate conferences for half a decade.


High Beams
January 24, 2014

High Beams

Electron microscopes light up the world of the small

For a place that takes pictures with what amounts to controlled bursts of lightning, the lab is quiet, almost hushed. Standing in the entrance to Oregon State University’s Electron Microscopy Facility (EMF), you might hear researchers’ soft voices as they discuss the best way to see pollen on a bee’s tongue or to look at […]


Carnivores in Retreat
January 23, 2014

Carnivores in Retreat

Researchers call for global conservation initiative

In ecosystems around the world, the decline of large predators such as lions, wolves and cougars is changing the face of landscapes from the tropics to the Arctic. An analysis of 31 carnivore species shows how threats such as habitat loss, persecution by humans and reductions in prey combine to create global hotspots of carnivore […]


Viral Diagnostics
January 23, 2014

Viral Diagnostics

Electron microscope helps pinpoint a disease-causing virus

Rocky Baker, supervisor of the virology lab in the Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, identified this influenza virus in pet ferrets whose owner had come down with the flu. Ferrets are susceptible, he says, and the owner was concerned that his animals became sick after contact with a family member who had influenza symptoms. […]


Through the Needle
January 23, 2014

Through the Needle

Disease reduces Douglas-fir growth, costs more than $200 million annually

On the surface of a Douglas-fir needle, the spore of a fungal pathogen, Phaeocryptopus gaeumannii, germinates and sends forth threads (hyphae). It matures into an organism that will grow inside the needle and reproduce. By interfering with the tree’s ability to exchange air and water, it shuts down photosynthesis. Thus starts a disease known as […]


Oysters on Acid
January 23, 2014

Oysters on Acid

Ocean acidification dooms young oysters

The oceans are about 30 percent more acidic than they were a century ago, and scientists are beginning to understand the consequences for marine ecosystems. Oysters may provide an early warning of what’s to come. George Waldbusser, a biogeochemist in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, and Elizabeth Brunner, a master’s student, conducted […]


Nanocrystals for Solar
January 23, 2014

Nanocrystals for Solar

Function follows form in molecular structure

In Alex Chang’s lab in the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering, researchers arrange atoms in precise patterns to create materials with novel electrical and heat-transfer properties. Chang and his colleagues use electron microscopy to visualize and analyze structures that are often only a few atoms thick. “The EM facility is very important for […]


Illuminating Plankton
January 23, 2014

Illuminating Plankton

Consuelo Carbonell-Moore has made it her life’s work to document the diversity of one of the ocean’s most abundant life forms: dinoflagellates, a type of plankton. These organisms are no mere bystanders in marine ecosystems. Some produce life-giving oxygen. Others influence the formation of coral reefs. In coastal waters, they can bloom as “red tides” […]


Proof of Pollination
January 23, 2014

Proof of Pollination

As honeybees pick up pollen and nectar, they pollinate about one-third of the plants in the human diet. “Growers rent honeybees to pollinate their crops, and we are taking a close look to see what kinds of pollen the bees are actually collecting,” says Sujaya Rao, entomologist in Crop and Soil Science. Using a scanning […]


International Imperative in Science
January 22, 2014

International Imperative in Science

Research builds trust, mutual respect

My research career took me to the waters off Africa, South America and Central America. I found the experience of working with colleagues from many nations to be exciting, and I learned a lot about the scientific challenges we were addressing. In retrospect, I realize I learned a lot more about being a good citizen […]


Shoring Up Our Coasts
January 22, 2014

Shoring Up Our Coasts

Ocean communities plan for climate change by building trust

As a scholar in environmental communications, Miriah Russo Kelly is digging into the interpersonal dynamics of collaboration and cooperation among people who may share little in common except locale — fishermen and hotel managers, loggers and grocers, political leaders and homeowners, climate scientists and climate skeptics.


Lamprey Brain Trust
January 22, 2014

Lamprey Brain Trust

Northwest scientists confer at research center

“The situation for Pacific lamprey is bad and getting worse,” says OSU fisheries biologist David Noakes, director of the Oregon Hatchery Research Center in Alsea. “We have enormous gaps in our knowledge of even the most basic aspects of life history, ecology and behavior of our native lamprey.” To jumpstart the filling of those gaps, […]


Friending a Fish
January 22, 2014

Friending a Fish

New curriculum brings lamprey to the classroom

One of Earth’s most ancient animals has inhabited some of the modern world’s hottest locations: Facebook and Twitter. Thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Pacific lamprey last year had a virtual life on social media in the character of “Luna,” an imaginary fish that kids could follow online as she migrated […]


To Bring Back a Native Fish
January 22, 2014

To Bring Back a Native Fish

February events promote lamprey awareness

Pacific lamprey, Entosphenus tridentatus, after many years of flying under the radar, have just recently received increased attention and awareness. Three events are planned for February, “Lamprey Awareness Month,” as christened by Jeremy Monroe of Freshwaters Illustrated, to give one of the oldest vertebrates some due. On February 10, the Corvallis Science Pub (Old World […]


January 10, 2014

Language Matters

Language matters. It frames our relationships and defines our culture. It affirms common interests and ways of seeing the world.


Oregon State Researchers Honored for Achievements
January 10, 2014

Oregon State Researchers Honored for Achievements

Award: Something conferred as a reward for merit; a prize, reward, honor (Oxford English Dictionary)

Remote Sensing of the Oceans Dudley Chelton, Distinguished Professor, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences Award: 2013 William T. Pecora Award for achievement in Earth remote sensing Sponsoring organization: NASA and the U.S. Department of the Interior For more than 30 years, Chelton as led efforts to improve satellite-derived measurements of the four primary […]


Flight of the Bumblebees
January 10, 2014

Flight of the Bumblebees

Scientists will follow bumblebees with tiny sensors

Responding to the sting of declining honeybee populations, Oregon State University entomologists and engineers are planning to track native bumblebees with tiny sensors. Many aspects of bumblebee behavior are unknown, but better understanding may lead to bee-friendly agricultural practices, says Sujaya Rao, an entomologist in the College of Agricultural Sciences. “Lack of pollination is a […]


High Noon for Forest Fires
January 10, 2014

High Noon for Forest Fires

Modelers aim to assist policymakers

Decades of fire suppression have put the Ponderosa pine forests of Eastern Oregon at risk. Despite being adapted to frequent low-intensity fire, they have accumulated high fuel loads. Forest managers must decide when to let low-intensity fires burn and where to invest in costly fuel reduction treatments. With a $1.2 million grant from the National […]


Where the Wild Whales Are
January 9, 2014

Where the Wild Whales Are

Researchers map genetic variation across the seascape

Some researchers are gene hunters. They track wildlife populations by following differences and similarities in genetic profiles. Now a research team led by Scott Baker, associate director of OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute, is helping scientists visualize genetic information from individual whales across the ocean. A member of Baker’s team, Ph.D. student Dori Dick in the […]


Wordsmithing the Climate Crisis
November 15, 2013

Wordsmithing the Climate Crisis

International dialog bogs down in linguistic nuance

[Editor's note: Terra Associate Editor Lee Sherman is reporting from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw, Poland, on research by Gregg Walker, Oregon State professor of speech communications.]   I’m sitting at a laptop that’s locked onto a long table of laptops in the vast IT space in Warsaw’s national stadium. […]


Great IDEA
November 13, 2013

Great IDEA

International Programs helps Oregon State students to study abroad

Oregon State University students increasingly use the globe as their campus. They might live with a family in the Amazon rainforest, go scuba diving in the Caribbean and hear life-changing stories in health clinics in South Africa and India. They witness wildlife management on an African safari ranch and in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal. […]


Swimming with Sharks
November 4, 2013

Swimming with Sharks

Childhood inspiration led Courtney Jackson to the ocean

For Courtney Jackson, everything began when she saw a shark swim across a television screen. She was in second grade, and the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week took her underwater and face-to-face with fearsome predators. At the end of it, she came to one conclusion: She wanted to be the scientist swimming with the sharks. A […]


Thrashing Around at the Fish Trap
November 4, 2013

Thrashing Around at the Fish Trap

A spawning Chinook salmon surprises a science writer with its strength and power

When David Noakes asks me if I want to go into the fish trap, I don’t hesitate. Of course! What science writer worth her salt wouldn’t? As I tug on a pair of waders and shrug into a rubberized jacket, I imagine myself getting a brief lesson in fisheries biology — how to net a […]


An Elegant Matrix
October 10, 2013

An Elegant Matrix

Woody waste finds new markets in biochar

In the Northwest, where tons of biomass rots in forests or burns in slash piles, the conversion of waste into biochar is an environmental and economic win-win.