Terra in Print: Summer 2006

Summer 2006 Cover

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Sustainability can mean different things to different people. Some think energy, replacing fossil fuels with biodiesel, wind or other renewables. To others it’s about managing natural resources — forests, fisheries, agricultural lands — for long-term health and productivity. To people in business, it’s also about staying afloat financially. Take farms for example. Whether or not an eastern Oregon ranch or a Willamette Valley vegetable farm is sustainable depends on the cost of fuel, water, fertilizers and other factors.

Across the board, three themes define sustainability: economy, environment and community. Becoming more efficient, reducing waste and providing jobs all contribute to sustainability goals. They are also the hallmarks of businesses that have weathered the vagaries of natural, economic and political cycles to continue producing food and fiber year-in and year-out. That’s no small feat in a rapidly changing world. New hurdles appear regularly: higher energy prices, changing regulations, increasing competition for water.

OSU research is helping to create the foundation for new sustainable practices. For example, OSU’s Institute for Water and Watersheds and the OSU Extension Service are working with communities in the Umatilla and Klamath basins to solve water problems. This issue of Terra describes how Bruce Mate’s marine mammal studies are helping to maintain whale populations around the globe. Work on renewable energy sources is expanding alternatives to petroleum and coal, benefiting rural communities as well as the environment. On the social side, a study of adolescent stress aims to ease that often turbulent time of transition for our youth.

More information about sustainability at OSU is available at oregonstate.edu/sustainability/

Nick Houtman, Editor

New Life from Black Water

Departments, Summer 2006, Vitality

Forget about clear, pristine waters. The real action for some scientists is in dark swamps where black stained water has the acidity of vinegar.

Genome Explorer

Departments, Summer 2006, Vitality

Larry Wilhelm knows computers, but they weren’t his first love.

Coastal Winds, Changing Seas

Departments, Healthy Planet, Multimedia, Stewardship, Summer 2006

The winds were late last year, but when they did arrive, they blew harder and longer than normal. The result: a series of “bizarre events” in Oregon’s normally productive coastal waters.

After the Fire

Departments, Healthy Planet, Stewardship, Summer 2006

On a winter day last February, it was standing room only in the Medford, Oregon, city hall.

The Weight of Wine

Departments, Healthy Economy, Innovation, Inquiry, Summer 2006

For Jim Kennedy, it’s all about mouth feel. The sensation of wine on the palate can be silky and smooth or coarse and hard. Wine experts call it texture.

Greening the Bottom Line

Departments, Healthy Economy, Innovation, Summer 2006

In the business world, profit has long been the standard for performance. Red ink on the bottom line raises red flags with investors. However, companies are increasingly judged on their social and environmental behavior as well as economics.

Training for a Science-Smart Workforce

Departments, Healthy Economy, Innovation, Summer 2006

Innovative businesses need savvy employees, people who know science and understand commerce, people like Bill Becker and Akihide Takagi.

Maps Help Plow New Ground for Oregon Grass

Departments, Healthy Economy, Innovation, Stewardship, Summer 2006

Two OSU scientists have produced the first collection of maps that show climate, soil characteristics and plant species suitability for the People’s Republic of China.

Green Power

Green Power

Features, Healthy Planet, Innovation, Multimedia, Summer 2006

Oil addicition — how can we kick it? OSU scientists and engineers have new ideas that hold promise and well-developed technologies that are already replacing fossil fuels. Here are five projects leading to our energy future.

Tense Times

Tense Times

Features, Healthy People, Student Research, Summer 2006

Remember middle school? No stress, right? Psychologist Jennifer Connor-Smith knows firsthand how difficult that transition can be. She and her students are looking at how personality helps or hinders teens’ ability to deal with the crisis of the day.

Undergrads in the Lab

Features, Healthy People, Student Research, Summer 2006

Undergraduate researchers Janelle Quest and Kathryn Cellerini have been working shoulder-to-shoulder with their professor Jennifer Connor-Smith to identify and isolate the factors that influence adolescent stress management. As part of a cadre of research assistants in OSU’s Department of Psychology, they are getting the kind of nuts-and-bolts experience in social science that typically comes along […]

To Conquer Vitamin E

To Conquer Vitamin E

Features, Healthy People, Summer 2006, Vitality

Taking a vitamin E supplement? There’s more to it than just popping a pill. Maret Traber of OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute is revealing E’s secrets, including its cozy partnerships with vitamin C and fat.

Views from the Lagoon

Views from the Lagoon

Summer 2006

Passengers on OSU’s 2006 Gray Whale Expedition to Baja came from places as far-flung as Ypsilanti, North Dakota; Oakland, Iowa; and Tucson, Arizona. Most, however, live in Oregon. Here are a few impressions from San Ignacio Lagoon. Julie Brinck, a retired registered nurse from Florence, Oregon, said: “Entering the lagoon gave me sort of a […]

A Primordial Commonality

Features, Summer 2006

  ONE BREEZY AFTERNOON while we were anchored in San Ignacio Lagoon, a passenger came out on deck, asking if anyone had seen her jacket. After she decided it must have blown overboard, one guy gazed across the chop and remarked, “Somewhere out there is a whale wearing a lime-green windbreaker.” Added another, “Yeah, and […]

To Hear Whales Breathe

Features, Summer 2006

“There is magic in the air.” Not a sentence one would expect to see in association with research and field science, is it? But the great thing about science is that it so often skates along the edge of understanding; and just past that edge are mysteries that sometimes seem like magic. It’s the pursuit […]

Tracking the Great Whales

Tracking the Great Whales

Features, Healthy Planet, Marine Studies Initiative, Summer 2006

Some whale species and other marine mammals are still not in the clear. Research by Bruce Mate and colleagues in the Marine Mammal Program is revealing new details about ocean ecosystems and helping to address new threats.

Anatomy of a Career

Features, Marine Studies Initiative, Summer 2006

Bruce Mate, OSU Professor of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oceanography Hatfield Marine Science Center He was a Midwest kid, a self-described “technical nerd” who hung out with ham-radio buffs and fell in love with a girl who played flute to his percussion in the school band. Before he headed to Oregon with his bride, Mary Lou, […]