Tag » Environment and Natural Resources

May 23, 2008

The Proboscis Hypothesis

Were dinosaurs bugged to death?

Was the mighty dinosaur done in by a midge? Very likely, argues OSU zoologist George Poinar in his new book, What Bugged the Dinosaurs? Insects, Disease and Death in the Cretaceous. Midges, together with millions of other Cretaceous insect species, may well have landed the “final knockout blow” to the giant reptiles by infecting them […]


April 23, 2008

Born To Love Bugs

Living a boyhood obsession

There are two kinds of entomologists: those who love insects intellectually and those who love them viscerally. Without a doubt, Chris Marshall fits into the second category. The love of bugs smote him early, and it smote him hard. He grew up combing the fields and woodlands of his New England neighborhood with a glass […]


April 23, 2008

“Bug Poop Grows Trees” (BPGT)

Insect collection aids ecological research

In Andrew Moldenke’s forest ecology course, students get the BPGT acronym drilled into their heads from Day One. Oregon’s fabled old-growth forests owe their existence to insect digestion, and the professor wants to make sure nobody forgets it. “Old, decayed, and decaying logs and other detritus,” Moldenke explains to author Jon Luoma in the 1999 […]


Invaders in the Dunes
January 23, 2008

Invaders in the Dunes

Unnoticed by most beach–goers, a showdown is under way in Oregon’s coastal dunes, and the winner could pack increased risks for coastal property, especially during winter storms. OSU scientists have documented a slow but steady takeover by American beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata), an invasive species from the East Coast and Great Lakes. They have found […]


Cyberforest Unplugged
July 23, 2007

Cyberforest Unplugged

OSU undergrad team designs wireless sensor system

The science of mountain airsheds requires a strong back as well as a sharp mind — especially when you’re lugging a 65-pound golf-cart battery in your pack. An interdisciplinary team of OSU students spent 10 weeks this summer scaling the steep slopes of H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest to enable researchers to unplug their high-tech gear […]


Dreaming of Hurricanes
July 23, 2007

Dreaming of Hurricanes

When Kim Johnson was 8 years old, she would race through her school work so she could watch the Weather Channel. Her favorite show was “Weather in the Classroom,” and Johnson was in love with the subject. Seeing weather in action gave her a thrill. Now, the OSU senior and Honors College student from Beaverton, […]


Winds of Change
July 22, 2007

Winds of Change

Scientists link air and water currents as shifting conditions take their toll on the Oregon coast

In his 32 years as a crab fisherman off the central Oregon coast, Al Pazar has pulled up a lot of strange things in his pots: wolf eels, skates, huge starfish, fossilized rocks, octopi, fish that rarely stray south of Alaska, and others that prefer the warm subtropical waters off Mexico. But until July 2002, […]


April 25, 2007

On Red Owl Mountain

By Cristina Eisenberg In the rural West, geography defines us. I live with my husband and teenage daughters on the shoulder of Red Owl Mountain, one of the many mountains that make up the Swan Range, which is part of the crazy quilt of ranges that forms the Rocky Mountains in northwest Montana. Our cabin […]


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, […]


April 1, 2007

A Student’s View

To become a research scientist and a teacher — that’s Sam VanLaningham’s goal. The OSU Ph.D. student from Ellensburg, Washington, received his master’s degree working with Andrew Meigs in the Department of Geosciences. For his Ph.D., VanLaningham walked next door to study with Bob Duncan and Nick Pisias in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric […]


April 1, 2007

Growing Technology

From microbes to plants, OSU researchers are leveraging biological materials to develop a variety of new products. Here are some highlights: Cellulose Power Professor Michael Penner in the Department of Food Science and Technology is studying one of the holy grails of the bio-based fuel industry: the economical conversion of woody plant materials into ethanol […]


High Alert
April 1, 2007

High Alert

Large carnivores promote healthy ecosystems by keeping browsers on edge

In a remote corner of Zion National Park, a small herd of mule deer browse quietly. Through the sun-dappled canyon burbles North Creek, its waters cool and clear, its banks green and reedy, alive with frogs, butterflies and bird-song. But this pastoral scene in southern Utah has a dark subtext, subtle yet unmistakable in the […]


February 1, 2007

The Ice Sages

For millennia the people of King Island have depended on the walrus hunt. But as Arctic ice recedes in response to a changing climate, hunters have to go further to reach their quarry. OSU anthropologist Deanna Paniataaq Kingston leads a team documenting the culture, language and natural history of her ancestral homeland.


February 1, 2007

Genes of Autumn

“Its leaves have been asking it from time to time, in a whisper, ‘When shall we redden?’” Henry David Thoreau Autumnal Tints, 1862 The magical transformation of autumn leaves inspires poets and awes observers. But the genetic triggers that produce those stunning colors have long baffled scientists. Until now. OSU researchers, studying aspens with scientists […]


February 1, 2007

Canola Fuels Debate, Research

In the past couple of decades, canola has catapulted from obscurity to celebrity. The oilseed made its commercial debut in margarines and cooking oils, edging out more saturated-fat-laden competitors. Now it’s gaining stature as the ideal oil for yet another consumer product: biodiesel. But canola’s rising profile has not come without controversy. A type of […]


July 23, 2006

Coastal Winds, Changing Seas

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.


July 23, 2006

After the Fire

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


Green Power
July 23, 2006

Green Power

Plugging into Nature

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.