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Enduring Vigil
May 19, 2016

Enduring Vigil

Buoys and gliders stand watch on the Pacific Ocean

  AT 8:46 P.M. ON A SATURDAY NIGHT LAST DECEMBER, Tully Rohrer received an SOS from a machine. It came as text messages on his cell phone and indicated that one of the ocean-monitoring buoys he had helped to deploy off the Oregon and Washington coast a few months earlier had come loose from its […]


Meadows of the Sea
May 19, 2016

Meadows of the Sea

Climate change could alter seagrass-seaweed balance

IN THE ESTUARIES of the Pacific Northwest, seagrasses grow in underwater meadows, perfect havens and nurseries for sea life. So far, seagrasses are holding their own against “macroalgaes” — large seaweeds that in some regions have bloomed wildly, smothering native species like eelgrass. A study of four Oregon and Washington estuaries (Coos, Yaquina, Netarts and […]


Bloom of the  Jellyfish
May 19, 2016

Bloom of the Jellyfish

Gelatinous “jellies” compete with sardines and other forage fish

HUGE SPIKES IN JELLYFISH NUMBERS cause mayhem for fishermen, clogging their nets and wasting their effort. These “blooms” may stem from changing climate and ocean conditions, as well as overfishing of forage fish (sardines, anchovies, herring and the like). These tiny fish normally keep jellies in check by competing for the same food. When jellyfish […]


Zooplankton Come in Wild Colors and Shapes
May 19, 2016

Zooplankton Come in Wild Colors and Shapes

TINY ZOOPLANKTON, often juvenile fish, feed on their plantlike cousins, the phytoplankton, at the base of the vast marine food web. Photos from the Cowen Lab show them in their wild and whimsical colorfulness, common names from left:  sea butterfly, blue button jellyfish, lookdown, armored searobin, octopus and surgeon-fish. (Photos: Cedric Guigand)     , […]


At the Apex
February 3, 2016

At the Apex

The return of wolves to Oregon sparks old conflicts and prompts new science about top predators

A cougar, silent and unseen in the thick understory, is emitting a beacon from its tracking collar. “She’s close, about a hundred meters to the north,” says Beth Orning, a Ph.D. student at Oregon State University. Orning has evidence that cougar No. C216 is raising a litter in this hidden ravine.


In a Forest with Wolves
February 3, 2016

In a Forest with Wolves

When the wind nudges the sugar maples, branches rub together and creak, your head snaps to the right, scanning the downed log, the hillside, the horizon line, hovering at the edges of fear and excitement and hope. Relief for a moment, then another creak-snap-scan. A scat or a print on the trail is a drop […]


Grass-Fed Restoration
February 3, 2016

Grass-Fed Restoration

Ranchers, scientists and wildlife share a home on the range

John O’Keeffe’s pick-up truck bumps through a landscape of gnarled sagebrush and bunchgrasses near the Nevada border in southeastern Oregon. “This is good sage-grouse habitat,” O’Keeffe tells me, gesturing across a broad horizon toward the Warner Mountains. He should know. O’Keeffe is a leader in sage-grouse conservation, helping to restore the bird’s habitat of native […]


Taking Stock of Recovery
February 3, 2016

Taking Stock of Recovery

Digital photos become a research tool

Grazing helps to shape ecosystems, but the effects depend on management and the environment. Stream bank or upland meadow? Willow or sagebrush? Over much of the 20th century, cattle grazed in the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in southeastern Oregon. In riparian areas where animals had congregated, channels were eroded and vegetation was sparse. Cattle […]


Forecast for Africa
February 3, 2016

Forecast for Africa

Weather stations serve schools, farmers and fishermen

In the summer of 2012, Zachary Dunn climbed onto the roof of a red-brick schoolhouse in Lela, a small village in southwestern Kenya. A crowd of children milled about on the ground, watching him attach a small weather station to the peak. It was the rainy season, overcast and cool enough for a long-sleeved shirt. […]


School to School
February 3, 2016

School to School

How's the Weather in Your Country?

In the western Kenya city of Kisumo last spring, Leah Tai expected to meet with a few teachers from only three schools. The Oregon State graduate student in Water Resources Engineering was serving as a school program coordinator for TAHMO. In short order, she found herself at a workshop having lunch with 60 teachers. “They […]


Looking for Trouble
February 3, 2016

Looking for Trouble

When weather stations go bad

The reliability of a weather station is subject to the wanderings of wildlife. Frogs crawl into rainfall collection buckets. Insects build nests in air tubes. Rodents chew through wires. And that’s on top of damage from dust, high winds, ice and hail — or simple equipment failure. Maintaining weather station networks is a labor-intensive enterprise, […]


Curious Romps Through Reality
February 3, 2016

Curious Romps Through Reality

Animal icons are Elena Passarello’s latest journey

When Elena Passarello was growing up in Atlanta, she began to write as a way to have “company.” Brought up in a house where she was the only child, she made magazines and newspapers for her imaginary friends to read, she says, smiling at the memory of her earliest literary steps. She found her first […]


Capsules of Chemicals
February 3, 2016

Capsules of Chemicals

Insecticides show more toxicity inside tiny pellets

Packaging certain insecticides inside tiny plastic pellets may amplify their toxicity in the environment, a new study suggests. The same chemical used naked — suspended only in water — was significantly less toxic than its capsulated counterpart, researcher Stacy Harper reported recently in the journal Environment International. The chemical in question (a “pyrethroid” whose active […]


Fat and Bones
February 3, 2016

Fat and Bones

Gene therapy shows promise for saving bone during weight loss

“Yo-yo” dieting isn’t just a problem for your clothing budget as you try to keep up with your fluctuating jean size. It’s also bad for your bones. As unwanted pounds melt away, a dieter’s skeleton typically loses mass and strength. When the pounds come back, the lost bone doesn’t. That conundrum is the focus of […]


February 3, 2016

New Muscular Dystrophy Drug

Advance in personalized medicine

A drug developed in Corvallis and Perth, Australia, to treat a genetic disorder may also represent a promising advance in personalized medicine. Eteplirsen targets Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which leads to muscle degeneration and weakness. The pharmaceutical emerged from research by Patrick Iversen at Oregon State and is now being developed by Sarepta Therapeutics. Duchenne arises […]


Driving on Natural Gas
February 3, 2016

Driving on Natural Gas

New technology can fill up in 15 minutes

A recent graduate of the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator/RAIN Corvallis continues to drive its business forward — including all the way to the White House. Bend-based Onboard Dynamics, which is commercializing research by OSUCascades energy systems engineering professor Chris Hagen, was one of the 32 startup businesses nationwide invited to the first-ever White House […]


Book Notes
February 3, 2016

Book Notes

Recent publications by Oregon State faculty

The Last Love Song Tracy Daugherty This work by professor emeritus Tracy Daugherty is the first printed biography of American writer Joan Didion. The narrative traces her life from her youth in Sacramento to her marriage and partnership with her late husband, writer John Gregory Dunne, and beyond.   The Spark and the Drive Wayne […]


Swimming Through Science
February 3, 2016

Swimming Through Science

Culture and biology connect for an undergraduate from Bend

If science were the Pacific Ocean, Kylie Welch would be halfway to Japan by now. With the persistence of a long-distance swimmer, she has plunged through a double major in biochemistry and anthropology, worked in an oceanography lab and traveled abroad. Still amazed by new experiences, the Oregon State University senior sees herself as a […]


Mediating Scientific Conflicts
February 3, 2016

Mediating Scientific Conflicts

A facilitated process for discovery and solution

Conflicts over the management of water, timber, climate change, endangered species and grazing can tear apart communities and have real impacts on local economies. And when scientists are invited to settle the issues, experts can become mired in their own conflicts. Even large multidisciplinary research projects can fall into divisions that threaten the scientific process […]


The Accidental Researcher
February 3, 2016

The Accidental Researcher

How a serendipitous undergraduate research job set me on my path

I count myself an “accidental” researcher. That’s because my career would have turned out quite differently, no doubt, had I not stumbled into a college class that changed everything. I was an undergrad at the University of Iowa in the early 1980s, working in the hematology lab at the teaching hospital to support my studies, […]


Prehistoric Sampling and Futuristic Forecasting
February 3, 2016

Prehistoric Sampling and Futuristic Forecasting

Climate researchers dig into the past and model the future

For two weeks in the fall of 2015, the whole world convened in Paris to tackle the looming dangers of a warming planet. President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Microsoft mogul Bill Gates were among the luminaries who took the stage at the 21st annual UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The conference […]


Familiar Faces
February 3, 2016

Familiar Faces

For those with disabilities, a positive identity starts with community

In the midst of a conversation about disability science, student research projects and her own scholarly endeavors, Kathleen Bogart pauses. How will the world be different if she succeeds in her work, the interviewer asks. What will change? A social psychologist at Oregon State University who studies the stigma of being viewed as “disabled,” as […]


Animal Behavior
January 1, 2016

Animal Behavior

The costs of kindness

Walking the dog has been my daily ritual for the better part of 20 years. Our current mutt — a pint-sized rat terrier/blue healer mix  named Roo — loyally defends her home turf and isn’t kind to strangers. When neighbor kids ask if they can pet the cute dog with the inquisitive face, I thank […]


Swallowing the Guilt Pill
October 15, 2015

Swallowing the Guilt Pill

Tim Jensen explains how consumers are led to internalize environmental degradation

“Our emotions are being targeted by corporate interests to internalize the wrongs that have been done to the environment,” explains Tim Jensen.


A Life of Discovery
October 15, 2015

A Life of Discovery

The “contagion” of research begins with caring mentors

My first scientific experiment happened by chance during a childhood ramble in eastern Iowa. I was 7 or 8, exploring the woods around rural Maquoketa with my grandmother, who loved the outdoors. I picked up a small brown nut and asked, “Granny, is this the kind of nut that’s good to eat?” “Well,” she said […]


Biology Through Numbers
October 15, 2015

Biology Through Numbers

Hiring initiative combines science and information technologies

The generation of huge data sets in gene-sequencing and computer-modeling labs challenges scientists to develop new approaches to information. “Genomics and biocomputing are important areas for the university, and we have invested in faculty in this area in the past two hiring cycles,” says Provost Sabah Randhawa. Through the Biological Informatics and Genomics (BIG) initiative, […]


October 15, 2015

New Record for OSU Research, $308.9 Million

Private-sector growth leads the way for Oregon’s largest public research university

Oregon State University research funding reached $308.9 million, its highest level ever, in the fiscal year that ended on June 30. A near doubling of revenues from licensing patented technologies and an 8.5 percent increase in competitive federal funding fueled OSU research on a range of projects including advanced ocean-going research vessels, the health impacts […]


Diet and the Microbiome
October 15, 2015

Diet and the Microbiome

Building evidence toward dietary recommendations

The gut microbiome — a teeming mass of bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea and protozoans that live in our lower gastrointestinal tracts — has captured the attention of health-conscious consumers. Through controlled studies with mice, scientists have learned that by manipulating the microbiome, we can induce weight loss, affect pain perception and decrease hormonal responses to […]


More Microbiome Studies at Oregon State
October 15, 2015

More Microbiome Studies at Oregon State

Researchers explore impacts on cognition, disease and immune function

Your Brain on Microbes Chemicals produced by microbes in our intestines may affect the brain. In a study with laboratory mice, Kathy Magnusson and her colleagues have demonstrated that adaptability, short-term memory and learning for long-term memory are related to the microbiome and what we eat. “This suggests that it’s not just about the food […]


Cerebral Songs
October 15, 2015

Cerebral Songs

Doug Robinson never forgets a warble, chirp or twitter

Douglas Robinson has “some kind of filing system in his brain that lets him readily access bird vocalizations even when he hasn’t heard them in years.”