Tag » Environment and Natural Resources

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 […]


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 […]


A History of Satellite Remote Sensing Research at Oregon State University
October 4, 2013

A History of Satellite Remote Sensing Research at Oregon State University

Satellite data have revealed fundamental features of the world's oceans

CEOAS faculty have been involved in every aspect of satellite remote sensing, including sensor and satellite mission design, development of algorithms for retrievals of the physical and biological variables of interest, and applications of satellite observations to study a host of oceanographic research questions.


Oregon 9.0
May 25, 2013

Oregon 9.0

When the next Big One comes, will we be ready?

Professor Scott Ashford has seen the consequences of “megathrust” quakes in Chile, Japan and New Zealand: buildings and bridges tilted and broken like toys, beachfront tourist towns reduced to rubble, pipelines squeezed out of the ground like toothpaste out of a tube, businesses closed or forced to relocate.


Concord Elementary School
January 31, 2013

Concord Elementary School

Where vegetables sprout (and kids, too)

Amid the chaos, the kids are learning about the art of gardening.


South Slough
January 31, 2013

South Slough

Where the waters mix

Anne and Philip Matthews have explored every twist and tangle of the South Slough, which became the nation’s first national estuarine research reserve in the 1970s.


Rimrock Ranch
January 31, 2013

Rimrock Ranch

Where steelhead will swim again

Guiding tours for the Deschutes Land Trust has been, for years, an outgrowth of Mary Crow’s passion for the land.


Documenting the Giants
January 29, 2013

Documenting the Giants

Canopy science for old-growth forests

Forest scientist and Oregon State University alumnus Steve Sillett studies and climbs the largest trees in the world. Since 1987, he’s climbed more than 1,000 of these arboreal giants, many of which reach heights greater than 200 feet tall and diameters upwards of 20 feet. Sillett’s study of old-growth forests — and in particular redwood […]


Ground Lines
November 2, 2012

Ground Lines

Maps guide us through unfamiliar terrain

I remember my first day at what’s called “baby field camp” in the Oregon State geology program. Outside Bishop, California, we mapped the area around a cinder cone, long since dead. I quickly learned that the hot sun is a never-ending force of nature, not to be underestimated. I drank at least a gallon of […]


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 […]


Risk Assessment
September 17, 2012

Risk Assessment

When Annika Swanson arrived as a freshman at Oregon State in 2010, she already had a life purpose: join the ranks of research faculty studying the causes and effects of environmental pollution. “I’ve always had a deep interest in the environment and in environmental toxins and pollution. This began when I was younger and my […]


Under the Hood
September 10, 2012

Under the Hood

Geologists reveal the steady personality of Oregon’s signature peak

Mount Hood last erupted more than 200 years ago, but at Crater Rock, not far from the summit, the signs of volcanic activity are unmistakable. Gas vents and hot springs emit sulfur fumes. Vapors rising from deep under the mountain carve snow caves, which can seem like sanctuaries for climbers but often hold deadly concentrations […]


Running Clear
May 30, 2012

Running Clear

Gary Klinkhammer turned water analysis into environmental protection

The Arctic Ocean, 1997. Gary Klinkhammer had strapped a water chemistry analyzer onto the hull of a retired U.S. Navy nuclear submarine to measure carbon. He had come to this bleak and desolate place looking for organic matter, fertile detritus dumped into the ocean by massive rivers in Siberia and North America. “The Arctic in […]


From Wood to Watts
May 30, 2012

From Wood to Watts

Forest-based fuels could fire up rural development, but at what cost?

About a million years ago in South Africa, a Homo erectus cave dweller used fire on purpose, and some charred bones at the site suggest it may have been for cooking. Thus was born the biofuels industry — and also the first known barbecue. The name of that cave, Wonderwerk, means “miracle” in the Afrikaans […]


Toward a scholarly embrace
April 11, 2012

Toward a scholarly embrace

Environmental Humanities Initiative brings science and the humanities together

Ambling along the oaky trails at Finley Wildlife Refuge last Saturday morning — one of the first days without rain in a long, long time — my two friends and I paused at the edge of a pond along Woodpecker Loop.  Just under the murky surface, several rough-skinned newts were swimming in slow motion, their […]


From concert hall to lecture hall
March 18, 2012

From concert hall to lecture hall

How music set the stage for a life in science

James Cassidy doesn’t fit the stereotypical image of a scientist. Two star-shaped earrings dangle from his left ear. A fetching fedora is perched on top of his head. He’s swapped his white lab coat for a charcoal sports jacket. A chic checkered shirt peeks out underneath. His alert grey eyes are framed by dark glasses. […]


Climate roulette
February 21, 2012

Climate roulette

If you like to gamble, you might think that nature is bluffing. With each passing year, it appears she is not.


Quartet for the Earth
February 21, 2012

Quartet for the Earth

Four students bring distinct perspectives to climate change research

A mountaineer, a world traveler, an athlete and a Chinese scholar pursue answers to climate change questions.


Green Evolution
February 20, 2012

Green Evolution

Economists evaluate options for farming in a warmer world

East Africa’s farms feed millions, but production is likely to fall if temperatures rise and droughts become more common.


River of change
February 20, 2012

River of change

A resilient future for the Willamette River

Although population growth and development will add stress to the Willamette River, environmental restoration projects are already under way.


State of Change
February 20, 2012

State of Change

To learn how Oregon is coping with climate change, Terra magazine’s Lee Sherman and OSU Extension photographer Lynn Ketchum traveled across the state talking to stakeholders in seven sectors identified in the Oregon Climate Assessment Report. See how people from Ashland and Florence to Bend, Portland, Pendleton and Salem are using research to meet needs in public health, the environment and the economy.


State of Change: Building Our Shells
February 20, 2012

State of Change: Building Our Shells

“The attitudes of Oregonians toward climate change are somewhat unknown, but small-scale surveys indicate that many residents of our state would consider it a problem worth attention by policymakers.”
– Oregon Climate Assessment Report


State of Change: A Shuffling of Species
February 20, 2012

State of Change: A Shuffling of Species

“Resilient ecosystems on land and in the sea provide ‘stepping stones’ where species can find refuge as they shift their geographic distributions due to climate change. … Management and natural-resource policies that protect intact ecosystems are a tool for adaptation.”
– Oregon Climate Assessment Report


State of Change: Lifeblood of a Region
February 17, 2012

State of Change: Lifeblood of a Region

“Understanding the complex interactions among climate systems, terrestrial systems, and human systems is essential to predicting future changes in water resources and implementing sustainable water resource management in Oregon.”
–Oregon Climate Assessment Report


State of Change: Seedlings for Evergreens
February 17, 2012

State of Change: Seedlings for Evergreens

“Adaptive management strategies may assist plants in adapting to future climate changes, but will be challenged by the long life-cycles of many Oregon tree species.”
– Oregon Climate Assessment Report


Leave it to the beavers
February 15, 2012

Leave it to the beavers

Vanessa Petro wants to find out if these "nuisance" animals will create valuable salmon habitat

It’s on the Oregon state flag and a symbol for Oregon State University: the North American beaver (Castor canadensis). But how much do you really know about these semi-aquatic mammals? Likely, not a lot. It turns out that not even scientists have a firm grasp on beaver ecology, despite the animal’s prominence in the Northwest. […]


Dirt, dung and discovery
February 14, 2012

Dirt, dung and discovery

As humans encroach on wildlife habitat, scientists scramble to identify critical travel corridors.

It was the dry season of 2006 in Tanzania, Africa. Across a landscape that varies from vast savannah to steep hillside to dense, wet forest, Clinton Epps and his science team trekked more than 400 miles on foot. He, Lauren Gwin and students from Tanzania’s Sokoine University battled intense heat and thieves who attempted to […]


Botanist leads international fungal genome project
December 22, 2011

Botanist leads international fungal genome project

Joey Spatafora's goal: 1,000 fungal genomes in five years

Fungi are master recyclers, turning waste into nutrients and providing humankind with everything from penicillin to pale ale. Although fungi are members of one of the world’s most diverse kingdoms, we know relatively little about them. That is about to change. A new study headed by Joseph Spatafora, an Oregon State University professor of botany […]


Mapmaker for the climate
December 6, 2011

Mapmaker for the climate

OSU grad student will help Web users visualize climate data

If you love 3-D graphics, the daily TV weather maps just keep getting better. With the sweep of an arm, an announcer can set winds and weather systems in motion like the master of ceremonies in a three-ring circus. We can sit back and watch clouds, rain and snow swirl over landscapes from local to […]


Contraceptive vaccine under study for elephants and horses
November 21, 2011

Contraceptive vaccine under study for elephants and horses

For Ursula Bechert, reducing conflicts between wild animals and people comes down to good birth control.

The first lesson the elephants taught Ursula Bechert was that they had a sense of humor.