Tag » College of Agricultural Sciences

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.


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 […]


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. […]


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 […]


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.”


Supersinks for Carbon
October 15, 2015

Supersinks for Carbon

Saving mangroves can mitigate climate change

Keeping greenhouse gases sequestered in the tangled roots and soggy detritus of mangrove forests could be vital to keeping the planet cool enough for habitation, scientists say.


The Mystery of the Disappearing Birds
October 13, 2015

The Mystery of the Disappearing Birds

How a mountaintop became an island and what it teaches us about biogeography and fragmentation

Once upon a time Barro Colorado Island was a mountaintop, rising from the trackless rainforest that carpeted the Isthmus of Panama. Its deep-green slopes hosted pumas and jaguars and more than 200 species of birds.


Anatomy of a Climate Tool
May 11, 2015

Anatomy of a Climate Tool

A scientist and a student achieve mind-meld with sagebrush managers

A climate scientist and a student surveyed land managers in sagebrush country to create a blueprint for a practical, nimble, accessible computer tool for helping manage fires, protect wildlife, reseed vegetation and control invasives in a shifting landscape.


Natural Determination
April 27, 2015

Natural Determination

Documenting women’s fight for equity in wildlife biology

To be a wildlife biologist, it helps to have skills: to climb 30 feet up a tree to reach an eagle’s nest, to monitor a tranquilized wolf before it wakes or to track a wolverine in the high country. And in years past, it would have helped to be a man. For much of the […]


Public Exposure
February 13, 2015

Public Exposure

Tracking the Wind

“Except for the original blueprint of our chromosomes, all the material that is us — from bone to blood to breast tissue — has come to us from the environment.” — Sandra Steingraber,  Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment In 2010, the President’s Panel on Cancer reported that, in the course […]


Wristbands for Health
May 23, 2014

Wristbands for Health

Citizen scientists can propose projects

Pollutants can be undetectable to our senses, but an Oregon State researcher has come up with a simple way to monitor chemicals in the environment. A team led by Kim Anderson, professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences, has created a silicone wristband that absorbs chemicals in the air 24/7. “The wristbands show us the […]


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 […]


Degrees of Separation
September 26, 2012

Degrees of Separation

Scientists weigh in on biodiversity quest through Facebook

Facebook may be great for cute kitty videos and baby pictures, but who knew it could play a role in science? Brian Sidlauskas, an Oregon State University fish biologist, and his team used the popular social network to advance their study of biodiversity in a South American rain forest. This video produced by Facebook, Degrees […]


Relay for Wheat
June 20, 2012

Relay for Wheat

If wheat breeding were a relay race, the land grant all-star team would include Foote, Kronstad, Peterson and now Zemetra

When he was a college student, Bob Zemetra found the perfect career. “I liked working with plants, and I realized that in plant breeding — in theory — I could be outside in the good part of the year and inside in the bad part of the year.” Things didn’t turn out that way, he […]


Green mulch
May 25, 2012

Green mulch

More veggies and more fruit = more plastic mulch on farms. Oregon State students look for alternatives.

Bear with me; here’s the problem. Plastic mulch — those shiny sheets spread across row upon row of veggies, strawberries and other crops — enables farmers to produce more types and greater quantities of food. It makes farming more profitable, preserves soil moisture, reduces weeds and saves on labor costs. But this type of mulch […]


Lines in the Water
February 1, 2011

Lines in the Water

Communities and scientists explore proposed marine reserves

As fishermen, scientists and coastal communities spar over Oregon’s system of marine reserves, OSU researchers and their partners are developing the science. One of their first testing grounds is Port Orford’s Redfish Rocks.


April 1, 2007

Fishing for Life

Every spring, the Umatilla people of northeastern Oregon join other Columbia River tribes in celebrating the return of the salmon. Growing up on the reservation in the foothills of the Blue Mountains east of Pendleton, Patrick Luke learned to appreciate the bond between fish and people. When he wasn’t helping to tend the family’s horses, […]