Category » Summer 2013

Eco-Excellence
July 31, 2013

Eco-Excellence

Five extraordinary students shoulder the task of preserving biodiversity

They all grew up immersed in nature: catching frogs, climbing rocks, diving reefs, combing beaches, camping out. Now, they’re all committed to studying and restoring the natural world, each in his or her own way. For Justin Conner, that means investigating the chytrid fungus and other threats to amphibians. Allison Stringer’s ecosystem studies have taken […]


Mapping the Columbia
July 30, 2013

Mapping the Columbia

Cartography students create atlas for iBooks

The Columbia River Basin comes to life in a new digital atlas produced by Oregon State University cartography students. They have created an iBook — accessible via Apple’s iPad — which combines the look and feel of a traditional paper book with the touch-screen features of a tablet computer. Through colorful maps, animations, photos and […]


“eButterfly” Can Change a Summer Hobby into a Scientific Venture
July 25, 2013

“eButterfly” Can Change a Summer Hobby into a Scientific Venture

Build a virtual butterfly collection

With the arrival of sunny summer days and creation of a new “citizen science” project called eButterfly, every 7-year-old child in the United States and Canada just gained the ability to become a working scientist. This project, which is now online at e-butterfly.org, is one of the first of its type, and will allow everyone […]


Like Birds? Project Seeks Citizen Scientists for Bird Surveys
July 25, 2013

Like Birds? Project Seeks Citizen Scientists for Bird Surveys

Volunteer birders can learn to contribute sitings to national database

Oregon State University researchers are hoping to tap into the state’s growing population of bird-watching enthusiasts to create a volunteer team of “citizen scientists” to gather data on Oregon’s resident and visiting birds. Their project, called Oregon 2020, is seeking to fill some of the large gaps in data about Oregon birds, organizers say. Information […]


da Vinci Days 2013: Stories from the Edge of Science
July 25, 2013

da Vinci Days 2013: Stories from the Edge of Science

Oregon State scientists take audiences on a planetary journey

Leonardo da Vinci combined the practical and the beautiful, the mechanical and artistic. At the 2013 da Vinci Days festival in Corvallis, Oregon State University scientists, engineers and mathematicians shared their journeys under Antarctic sea ice, to an African village, to Mars and through a mathematical landscape.


Singing His Story
July 19, 2013

Singing His Story

OSU master’s student explores deep questions through music

When Joshua Rist walked into the music department’s audition room at Oregon State University in 2009, he aimed to impress the faculty with a composition combining the driving energy of rock ‘n’ roll with the emotional power of a classical symphony. “I had written this piano concerto that was exciting to me, and I thought […]


From Zebrafish to You
July 2, 2013

From Zebrafish to You

Popular aquarium fish provides a window on environmental chemicals

On average, an individual encounters about 80,000 synthetic chemicals every day. So says Robert Tanguay, a toxicologist at Oregon State University. Many of those chemicals — from fire retardants in fabrics to drying agents in paint — are untested for toxicity to people. Tanguay and his research team are working to change that. Their results […]


July 1, 2013

Designing an Experiment from Scratch

A neophyte learns the ropes of doing science

Designing an experiment from scratch is hard enough. Doing it in six months is a staggering feat. But Oregon State University graduate Kristin Jones pulled it off, immersing herself in scholarly papers, writing a detailed proposal, acquiring materials and constructing equipment in preparation for an intensive period of fieldwork — all while working as a […]


Threshold for Thriving
July 1, 2013

Threshold for Thriving

How much forest management is too much for northern house wrens?

Kristin Jones’ research aims to discover whether intensive forestry practices, such as herbicide use, interfere with wrens’ habitat.


A Bird’s-Eye View
June 28, 2013

A Bird’s-Eye View

Planners are looking at landscapes through a wider lens

Miles Hemstrom was a young boy when he began looking at the landscape from a bird’s-eye view. It started when he went fishing with his dad on the Grand Mesa in Colorado. He recalls driving up an old dirt road that wound along the side of a mountain through aspen and spruce-fir forest. “We could […]


Purrs, Moans and Shrieks from the Deep
June 28, 2013

Purrs, Moans and Shrieks from the Deep

“Rapunzel Project” studies humpback vocalizations in Alaska

In their foraging grounds of the dark, frigid waters in southeast Alaska’s Fredrick Sound, humpback whales are calling to one another with “purrs,” “shrieks,” “wops” and “moans.” To find out why they speak and what they might be saying, Oregon State University graduate student Michelle Fournet is listening.


Jake Tepper: “Coral reefs are dying.”
June 18, 2013

Jake Tepper: “Coral reefs are dying.”

When Jacob (Jake) Tepper was an eighth-grader, he and his dad traded in their 20-gallon saltwater aquarium and transferred its inhabitants — an anemone and a pair of clownfish — to a spacious 50-gallon reef tank. They added corals and a porcupine pufferfish who begged for food by squirting water at passersby. And then there […]


Katlyn Taylor: “OMG, so much science!”
June 18, 2013

Katlyn Taylor: “OMG, so much science!”

Katlyn Taylor’s life has bumped into practically every phylum of the Animal Kingdom. Ask her how she got into science, and she’ll spin a narrative that spans sea lemons, orphaned chickens, 4-H rabbits, endangered Asian elephants, gray whale migration, sea lion pups, the genetics of microbacterial phages and the coloration of sea stars. And she’s […]


Elliott Finn: “Blanket solutions aren’t the answer.”
June 18, 2013

Elliott Finn: “Blanket solutions aren’t the answer.”

What runs through the life of author Norman McLean is a river. In the life of Elliott Finn, it’s a plant. Vegetation, wild and domestic, wends through every childhood memory: playing hide-and-seek among fruit trees in his parents’ sprawling Soap Creek garden near Corvallis. Dashing through botanical gardens and greenhouses with his little brother Ian. […]


Allison Stringer: “There’s still hope.”
June 18, 2013

Allison Stringer: “There’s still hope.”

Siberia seldom tempts Western travelers to explore its vast taiga forests and endless permafrost  — unless that traveler happens to be Allison Stringer. For the OSU biology student, nothing could be more enticing than spending a summer month “out in the middle of nowhere”— living on a barge at the Northeast Science Station near a […]


Justin Conner: “Amphibians are crashing.”
June 18, 2013

Justin Conner: “Amphibians are crashing.”

When manatees and alligators are members of your backyard ecosystem, it’s like living with a ready-made science project. Justin Conner took full advantage of the biodiversity bursting in and around the Florida canal that linked his childhood home to the ocean. There were peacock bass and cichlids to hook. There were frogs and toads to […]