Stories

“It’s Nice to Say Something”
January 22, 2014

“It’s Nice to Say Something”

Universities mostly watch from the sidelines

For university researchers and students, RINGO meetings are one of the few places they get to speak out and be heard.


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 […]


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 […]


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. […]


Sustainability, Face to Face
November 11, 2013

Sustainability, Face to Face

A village on the Amazon leaves a powerful impression

Last February, when Lisa Baldinger arrived in Belém, a city of 2 million people on Brazil’s north coast, she didn’t speak a word of Portuguese. “I didn’t even know how to say ‘hello,’” she says. Baldinger had gone to Brazil to learn about grassroots environmental management in the Amazon rainforest. She came home with a […]


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 […]


On a Wing and a Dare
October 10, 2013

On a Wing and a Dare

Pilotless aircraft monitor the environment

On a warm afternoon last summer in the hills west of Corvallis, three Oregon State University students went hiking in the McDonald-Dunn Forest when they became “lost.” A few scattered belongings — a backpack, shoes, a shirt — marked their trail in an emergency response exercise. Rather than send out a full-scale operation on foot […]


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.


Forests at Risk
October 10, 2013

Forests at Risk

USDA grant fuels research on fire, drought, insects

“The margin between life and death in the forest can be rather small,” says Oregon State climate scientist Philip Mote. As wildfires widen, insects invade and drought deepens, the razor-thin margin for tree survival becomes ever thinner. A five-year, $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will speed the search for answers — […]


An Iceberg Roars
October 10, 2013

An Iceberg Roars

Listening to the frozen ocean

What is the sound of an iceberg disintegrating? Would you believe it’s as loud as a hundred supertankers plying the open seas? OSU scientists were astounded recently when they listened to recordings of an iceberg that had formed in Antarctica, floated into the open ocean, and eventually melted and broke apart. Scientists have dubbed this […]


Where Growth Meets Decay
October 10, 2013

Where Growth Meets Decay

Fungal pigments stain wood with surprising beauty

Bowls made of hardwoods like curly soft maple, sugar maple, box elder and buckeye oak are adorned with pigments made by fungi whose ecological role is, ironically, to decompose wood.


Through the Ice
October 10, 2013

Through the Ice

On the Antarctic seafloor, life thrives in surprising abundance

Andrew Thurber is a self-described “connoisseur of worms.” He finds these wriggling, sinuous creatures, many with jaws and enough legs to propel an army, to be “enticing.” In the Antarctic, where he dives through the ice in the name of science, a type of worm known as a nemertean can reach 7 feet long. Giant […]


End-of-Life Dilemma
October 10, 2013

End-of-Life Dilemma

Hospice workers struggle with assisted death

When dying people choose to hasten death with a doctor’s help, their caregivers often face a troubling dilemma. In particular, hospice — the final stop for many terminal patients — poses an overlooked problem, OSU researchers report. That’s because hospice objects to physician-assisted death, yet most patients who choose assisted death are in hospice care. […]


Biological Origami and Naked Mole Rats
October 10, 2013

Biological Origami and Naked Mole Rats

Seeking the secrets of longevity in misfolded proteins

A half-ounce flying mammal, a tiny marsupial that glides from tree limb to tree limb, and a hairless, burrowing rodent with supersize front teeth all share a trait that makes them intriguing to researcher Viviana Perez: exceptional longevity. The little brown bat (Myotis lucifungus), common across North America, has been known to live more than […]


New Flu Clues
October 10, 2013

New Flu Clues

Vaccine strategies need rethinking

When flu season rolls around, hundreds of thousands of Americans will get sick. Nearly a quarter-million will be hospitalized. Tens of thousands will die. Despite the risks, only about a third of Americans will get vaccinated. Researchers now say the nation’s vaccination priorities need to shift. That’s because the groups least likely to get the […]


A Cheaper Cell
October 10, 2013

A Cheaper Cell

Antifreeze shows promise in solar cell manufacturing

Faster, cheaper, better. The conventional wisdom says you can’t get all three at the same time. But researchers at Oregon State say otherwise — at least when it comes to new materials for making solar cells. Engineers have found a less expensive, less toxic, better performing — and surprising — substance for solar cell manufacturing: […]


Peak Water
October 10, 2013

Peak Water

Global warming likely to shrink snowpack

Oregon is warming, and snow is waning. The clear, clean water that supplies many of Oregon’s cities and farms originates high in the Cascades. Stored on snowy peaks, the water feeds rivers and aquifers that supply some of the state’s most populous regions. In one key watershed, the McKenzie, snowpack is predicted to drop more […]


Deep Trouble
October 10, 2013

Deep Trouble

Lionfish get bigger, go deeper

When a submersible dove into deep waters off Florida not long ago, the scientists aboard saw an alarming sight: big lionfish, lots of them. “This was kind of an ah-ha moment,” says OSU researcher Stephanie Green. “It was immediately clear that this is a new frontier in the lionfish crisis.” Lionfish, native to the Pacific […]


“I’ve Never Been So Excited”
October 10, 2013

“I’ve Never Been So Excited”

A young scientist goes to the White House

Portland ninth-grader Meghana Rao was scouring the Web for information on biochar when she stumbled across an intriguing paper by a researcher named Markus Kleber. When she realized he was at Oregon State University, just 90 miles down the freeway from where she was a student at Jesuit High School, she emailed him with “a […]


Seedbed for Startups
October 9, 2013

Seedbed for Startups

Advantage Accelerator adds fuel to Oregon State’s entrepreneurial fire

Methane-powered engines. Autonomous helicopters. Online shopping assistants. Electricity from wastewater. These new products and the business opportunities they generate are in the pipeline at Oregon State University’s Advantage Accelerator. They are among 14 research concepts or spinoff companies selected to participate in a program that spurs the creation of new companies from university-based research. Five […]


“I Thought I Wanted to Work with Fish”
October 9, 2013

“I Thought I Wanted to Work with Fish”

Profile of an Antarctic scientist

When Andrew Thurber started his journey in marine biology at Hawaii Pacific University, he got a surprise. “I thought I wanted to work with fish,” he says. “Turns out I don’t.” Instead, in an Antarctic research lab, he became enamored with worms. “Worms are incredibly diverse. That was one of the most amazing things to […]


Creating Great Writers
August 28, 2013

Creating Great Writers

The peaks of the Wallowa Mountains in Eastern Oregon are still snow-capped in July. The lake is clear and still. The sun shines down hard, and writers at Summer Fishtrap chase shade even at breakfast. Guzzling coffee among them is Jon Ross, a creative writing graduate student at Oregon State University, who wears a tentative […]


Getting the Lead Out
August 20, 2013

Getting the Lead Out

Erik Dove investigates toxic glazes in Ecuador

An International Studies biology student delves into a health risk in rural Ecuador: lead contamination in local pottery.


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 […]