OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of agricultural sciences

OSU to test quinoa as Northwest crop

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers from Oregon State University are exploring the potential for quinoa to grow in the Northwest’s diverse climates.

Preliminary experiments have shown that some varieties of quinoa, harvested for its tiny grain-like seeds, can be cultivated in Oregon. To expand on those findings, OSU is a partner on a four-year, $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Growing demand for quinoa worldwide has more than doubled its price in the past decade – possibly creating an economic opportunity for Northwest farmers, according to Steve Petrie, one of the researchers on the project and the director of OSU’s Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center.

“If we can figure out that quinoa can grow well in our environment, I think it has amazing potential for growers,” Petrie said.

Few Northwest farmers grow quinoa and little is known about its commercial viability in the United States. Most quinoa sold domestically is imported from South America.

The crop is harvested for its seeds that have a nutlike flavor and fluffy texture when cooked. In addition to high levels of protein, quinoa contains higher amounts of calcium, iron, fiber and vitamin B than similar foods, like rice, wheat and barley.

Quinoa is increasingly used as a starch substitute in place of rice or potatoes. In some recipes, quinoa flour can replace wheat flour, making recipes viable for those with gluten-free diets.

“Hopefully our research can provide a locally-grown alternative food for people who are gluten sensitive,” said Stephen Machado, an OSU agronomist in Pendleton. “Quinoa fits that niche market very well.”

Starting this spring, researchers will plant quinoa in a range of locations in Oregon, including the Willamette Valley and Columbia Basin. Throughout the summer, Petrie and others will monitor how the crops react to an assortment of soils, weather conditions and levels of irrigation, rainfall and fertilizer. 

“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” said Petrie, who's also an agronomist with the OSU Extension Service. “Which varieties of quinoa will grow best? What farming practices will result in the highest yields? What are the ideal seeding dates and rates?” 

Most of OSU’s experiments will grow quinoa in organic conditions, meaning researchers will avoid the use of pesticides and other synthetic inputs. 

“When we find quinoa varieties that grow well here we will recommend those to farmers with a package of information detailing the best cultivation practices,” said Machado.

OSU will work with researchers from Brigham Young University, Washington State University and Utah State University under the USDA grant. 

Source: 

Steve Petrie, 541-278-4186

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Steve Petrie, the director of Oregon State University's Columba Basin Agricultural Research Center, stands on a field in Pendleton near where OSU will grow quinoa. Photo by Lynn Ketchum.

 

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In addition to high levels of protein, quinoa contains higher amounts of calcium, iron, fiber and vitamin B than similar foods, like rice, wheat and barley. Photo by Daniel Robison.

Registration opens for training program for new urban farmers

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is accepting applications for its eight-month training program in the Portland area for aspiring urban farmers.

Now in its third year, the Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship (BUFA) program was developed by the OSU Extension Service and Multnomah County for people with little to no farming experience.

Applications are being accepted through Jan. 13. Classes start April 3. To apply, go to http://bit.ly/10YPZ5O. Applicants do not need to be residents of Multnomah County.

Participants can enroll in two tracks: one consisting of about 550 hours of instruction and another that's about 120 hours but doesn't have in-field training. Space is limited to 20 students for track 1 and 10 for track 2.

Students in the longer track take classes on Wednesday evenings, attend field trips on Saturdays and help at a farmers market on Sundays. They also work at the Learning Gardens Laboratory in southeast Portland and Multnomah County's community farm in Troutdale. The majority of the program focuses on organic farming.

"The team farms two days per week at several farms, ensuring good-quality food and community health benefits,” said lead instructor Weston Miller, a horticulturist with OSU Extension. "It’s fun and interactive and students develop strong friendships through the course of the year."

Since its 2011 debut, 43 students have completed the course. Some have gone on to intern or work on farms or start small farms that sell produce to members.

In the upcoming season, 13 graduates will help develop a small-scale farm on a vacant lot in northeast Portland that will grow produce for school meals. It's a new partnership with Portland Public Schools and the city of Portland.

Graduate Karen Flowers will be a part of that effort. New to farming, she completed the program in 2012 and said she came away with experience and confidence.  

"My year in BUFA taught me so much about the realities and challenges of farming but also gave me even more passion to be a farmer," Flowers said. "It solidified for me how rewarding it is to grow healthy food and share it with others. The BUFA program set a great foundation for my future in farming."

More information on the program and its cost is at http://bit.ly/Y0QRb4.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Weston Miller, 503-706-9193

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Weston Miller (left) teaches Willow Aevery in the Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship program during its debut year in 2011 at the Learning Gardens Laboratory in Portland. Miller is the lead instructor and a horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

Oregon 4-H students travel to Atlanta for national meeting

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Seventeen high school students from Oregon will attend the National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 23-27.

More than 1,300 4-H members from all 50 states and Puerto Rico attend the annual meeting, which is often the highlight of a 4-H member's career. Delegates hear inspirational speakers, participate in cultural workshops, take part in large-scale community service projects and visit historical sites near Atlanta.

A committee from the Oregon State University Extension Service's 4-H youth development program selected the delegates based on their overall achievement in 4-H projects, leadership, communication, citizenship and community service.

OSU Extension oversees Oregon's 4-H program, which reached more than 114,000 youths via a network of 7,300 volunteers in 2011. Activities focus on areas like healthy living, civic engagement and science.

The following students traveling to Atlanta are:

Albany: Garrett Hurley

Aumsville: Raquel Albee

Beaverton: David DeFrain

Buxton: Emily Cackler

Damascus: Ely Crawford

Grants Pass: Caleb Lennon

Happy Valley: Emily Brant

Hillsboro: Matthew Ferguson

Monmouth: Shayne White

Newberg: Tia Piscitelli

Philomath: Tessa Gourley and Courtney Kutzler

Sandy: Akaela Wafford, Jacob L. Johnson and Chris Janik

Sherwood: Nathaniel Tilp

Veneta: Larissa Seyber

More information on the conference is at http://bit.ly/S9g9jz.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Helen Pease, 541-737-1314

OSU awards $80,500 in agricultural honors scholarships

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University's College of Agricultural Sciences has awarded 32 undergraduates $80,500 in scholarships for the 2012-2013 school year.

Gifts to the college make the scholarships possible.

Recipients are:

Bend: Wesley Brown, a freshman majoring in bioresource research, received the $1,500 Malcolm Johnson Scholarship, the $1,000 Paul & Frances Montecucco Beginning Venture Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Canby: Brittany Haak, a freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 Frank Burlingham Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship, and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Central Point: Gabriella Desimone, a freshman majoring in agricultural business management, received the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship, and the $1,000 Wilco Farmers Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Clackamas: Amanda Thielke, a freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 Frank Burlingham Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship, and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship.

Dayton: Cody Putman, a freshman majoring in agricultural sciences, received the $1,000 Fisher Farm and Lawn Agricultural Honors Scholarship, and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship.

Florence: Gina Evans, a sophomore majoring in environmental economics, policy & management, received the $1,000 Jernstedt Family Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Gaston: Keith Beierle, a sophomore majoring in fisheries and wildlife science, received the $1,000 Naumes Family Agricultural Honors Scholarship, and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Hillsboro: Andrianna Stoll, a freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship, and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship. Mason Wagner, a freshman majoring in fisheries and wildlife science, received the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship and the $1,000 Karla S. Chambers Leadership Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Imbler: Emilee Patterson, a freshman majoring in bioresource research, received the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship and the $1,000 Oregon Women for Agriculture Scholarship.

Independence: Emma Miller, a freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship and the $1,000 Paul & Frances Montecucco Beginning Venture Scholarship.

Klamath Falls: Robert Hamlin, a junior majoring in agricultural sciences, received the $1,000 Tillamook County Creamery Association Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Lebanon: Marisa Owens, a sophomore majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship, and the $1,000 Lawrence E. & Marguerite Kaseberg Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Ontario: Nicholas Cheatham, a freshman majoring in food science and technology, received the $1,000 Clifford Smith Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Paisley: John O’Leary, a freshman majoring in agricultural business management, received the $1,000 A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship.

Portland: Megan McConnell, a junior majoring in horticulture, received the $1,000 A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship. Elizabeth Overholser, a freshman majoring in food science and technology, received the $1,000 Clifford Smith Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship. Seng Saechao, a freshman majoring in fisheries and wildlife science, received the $1,000 Frank Burlingham Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship.

Roseburg: Cody Steeves, a freshman majoring in agricultural business management, received the $1,000 Clayton Fox Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship.

Saint Helens: Teresa Garretson, a junior majoring in horticulture, received the $1,000 Loren J. Smith Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Salem: Kimberly Goertzen, a freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 Karla S. Chambers Leadership Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Kenai, Alaska: Evening Ferguson, a freshman majoring in food science and technology, received the $1,000 A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

San Diego, Calif.: Matthew Leef, a junior majoring in food science and technology, received the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

Woodside, Calif.: Minda Newhouse, a freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship and the $1,000 Wilco Farmers Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Pensacola, Fla.: Andrew Tucker, a sophomore majoring in agricultural sciences, received the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship and the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Yulee, Fla.: Zachary Ponder, a senior majoring in fisheries and wildlife science, received the $1,000 Fisher Farm and Lawn Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Holland, Mich.: Kayla Ockerse, a freshman majoring in animal sciences, received the $1,000 A/B Technologies International, Inc. Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship.

Columbia, Mo.: Giavanna Accurso, a sophomore majoring in horticulture, received the $1,000 John & Florence Scharff Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Loren J. Smith Memorial Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

West Long Branch, N.J.: Elizabeth Hagerman, a freshman majoring in food science and technology, received the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 Ursula Bolt Knaus Scholarship.

West Sayville, N.Y.: Joy Phelan, a junior majoring in fisheries and wildlife science, received the $1,000 Eugene H. Fisher Agricultural Honors Scholarship and the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship.

Springfield, Va.: Jennifer Moore, a sophomore majoring in food science and technology, received the $1,000 John W. DeMuth, Jr. Agricultural Sciences Scholarship and the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Seattle, Wash.: William Wallach, a freshman majoring in food science and technology, received the $1,000 Savery Agricultural Honors Scholarship.

Donations for some of these scholarships were raised through The Campaign for OSU, the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign. It has raised more than $860 million toward its $1 billion goal, including more than $145 million in scholarship and fellowship support for OSU students. Learn more at campaignforosu.org.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Paul Dorres, 541-737-5655

Worried about your Thanksgiving meal? Call OSU's food safety hotline.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – How do you quickly thaw a big turkey? Should you stuff it or not? How do you make turkey giblet gravy like your grandma's?

As Thanksgiving approaches, you can get answers to questions like these by calling the Oregon State University Extension Service's holiday food safety hotline at 1-800-354-7319.

The statewide hotline runs from Nov. 13-16 and 19-21 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. It's staffed by Extension-trained Master Food Preserver volunteers.

The Extension Service has offered the hotline for more than 20 years. Every November, volunteers with the OSU Extension Service in Douglas and Lane counties field an average of 200 calls from throughout the state, said Nellie Oehler, a retired family community health educator with OSU Extension.

Additional food safety information from OSU Extension is at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/food-safety.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Nellie Oehler, (541) 757-3937

OSU to host agritourism conference Nov. 30

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon farmers increasingly are seeking to diversify their income to remain profitable and some are turning to a strategy that has been successful in Europe – agritourism.

To help these farmers, Oregon State University is holding its inaugural Oregon Agritourism Summit, set for Nov. 30 on campus. Registration is now open for the event.

Organizers say the conference aims to inspire farmers and ranchers to diversify their income by inviting visitors to their operations. These revenue-generating agritourism opportunities include overnight stays, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, U-pick fruits and vegetables, horseback riding and hay rides.

The summit is organized by the OSU Extension Service and is open to the public.

The idea for it emerged from a partnership between Melissa Fery, a small farms instructor for OSU Extension, and Scottie Jones, owner of Leaping Lamb Farmstay in Alsea.

"Scottie and I were working together and we realized that Oregon has not had a collaborative effort to help agritourism business owners get the information they need and to bring all the partners together to address some of the barriers that face agritourism businesses," Fery said.

Sessions will address topics that include:

  • agritourism activities;
  • marketing;
  • regulations;
  • liability;
  • challenges in starting up agritourism businesses and ways to overcome them;
  • policy changes that support agritourism.

Speakers will include Bob Crouse with Fort Vannoy Farms of Grants Pass and Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Bernard.

The cost, which includes lunch, is $25 per person. Register by Nov. 26 at http://bit.ly/WAYk14

or call 541-766-3556. The conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the LaSells Stewart Center on campus.

Source: 

Melissa Fery, 541-766-6750

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Tulips bloom at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn. Every year, the farm invites the public to view its flowers, which is a type of agritourism. Photo by Lynn Ketchum.

 

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Picking blueberries is a popular agritourism activity. Oregon State University will host an agritourism conference Nov. 30. Photo by Lynn Ketchum

Study: High stream temperatures, low flow creating extreme conditions

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A newly published study by researchers at Oregon State University and two federal agencies concludes that high temperatures coupled with lower flows in many Northwest streams is creating increasingly extreme conditions that could negatively affect fish and other organisms.

The study, published in the professional journal Hydrobiologia, was funded and coordinated by the U.S. Geological Survey and the research branch of the U.S. Forest Service. It points to climate change as the primary reason for the extreme conditions.

“The highest temperatures for streams generally occur in August, while lowest flows take place in the early fall,” said Ivan Arismendi, a research professor in OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. “Each period is important because it is a time of potentially high stress on the organisms that live in the stream. If they occur closer in time – or together – they could create double trouble that may be greater than their combined singular effects.”

Arismendi, who was lead author on the paper, said climate change appears to play a role as snowpack levels lessen and snow begins melting earlier in the spring. Peak stream flows are coming earlier in the year, stretching out the amount of time when river flows are low.

“What results is that low flows are moving closer and closer to the time of the year when stream temperatures are highest,” Arismendi said, “and that is not good.”

The study looked at 22 “minimally human-influenced” streams from the period of 1950 to 2010, located in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Montana and Idaho. The researchers found the hydrology of the streams was complex and differed among streams; while weather extremes affected all of the streams, the impact seems to be mediated by the influence of groundwater.

“Other studies have shown that high temperatures in streams lead to less oxygen and more thermal stress,” said co-author Jason Dunham, an aquatic ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “Low flows reduce the amount of suitable habitat and may lead to high density and overcrowding, more predation, changes in predator-prey relationships, and more competition – at least, among salmonids.”

This study focused on the physical processes on the streams, Arismendi emphasized, and needs to be followed by biological studies.

“Coupling of low flow with high temperatures can have significant hydrologic implications in maintaining stream water quality,” said Mohammad Safeeq, an OSU post-doctoral researcher in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and a co-author on the paper.

Arismendi said that over the years, weather and stream flow can be influenced by climate drivers like El Nino, La Nina, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and other phenomena. But over the 60-year time frame covered by the study, the climate warmed appreciably, leading to lower flows and earlier peak flows.

“These streams have high natural variability,” Arismendi said, “but the general pattern holds true.”

Interestingly, Arismendi said that stream temperatures are not always higher on an annual scale despite a regional trend that has shown warming air temperatures. This could be because of increased snowmelt, he pointed out, or complex hydrological cycles.

“Even though our studies are showing that stream processes are much more complex than initially thought we are able to identify trends toward increasing synchrony in timing of low flows and high temperatures,” Arismendi said.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Ivan Arismendi, 541-750-7443

OSU launches sale of Beaver Classic cheese

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is this week launching sales of a new artisan-style cheese produced in an on-campus creamery by students in the Department of Food Science & Technology.

Beaver Classic cheese is an alpine-style product, which Oregon State students make using milk from the university’s dairy herd, according to Lisbeth Goddik, an OSU Extension specialist who works with food entrepreneurs around the world on artisan cheeses.

“The cheese is in the tradition of alpine cheeses made in Switzerland, Italy and France,” Goddik said. “It has a subtle, nutty taste with creamy, buttery and caramelized flavors.”

The cheese can be ordered online at: http://oregonstate.edu/main/cheese

Goddik, Marc Bates and Bob McGorrin comprise a faculty management and production team that helped coordinate the launch of the student-made product. This is the university’s first venture into branded sales of student-made food products, said McGorrin, Jacobs-Root Professor and head of the Department of Food Science & Technology.

“This new venture will help provide opportunities for our students to obtain real-world educational experience that translates into future jobs in the industry creating dairy products,” McGorrin said. “Our students work in the creamery in all stages of the cheese’s production, from quality control to sales. They start from milk, take it through the curd process, and age the cheese for six months.”

“The tagline on the student-designed product label is ‘Savor Education,’ which reflects the ability to enjoy the end result of a successfully designed, produced and aged dairy product,” McGorrin added.

Bates is a new faculty member at OSU who is assisting with production start-up. He previously oversaw the student-run cheese manufacturing program at Washington State University.

In addition to online sales, Beaver Classic cheese will be available at OSU home football games.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Bob McGorrin, 541-737-8737

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OSU demystifies how oat fungus kills plants

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers at Oregon State University may have discovered why some grains are susceptible to a yield-reducing fungus.

They've mapped out the battle that takes place inside a cell when the fungus Cochliobolus victoriaeinfects Arabidopsis thaliana, a small plant in the mustard family that's used as a research model. They suspect that a similar process occurs in oats, barley, rice, beans and Brachypodium grasses because they are believed to share a similar gene.

Their findings, published today in the online version of the journal Science, could eventually help plant breeders develop varieties of grains and beans that resist certain diseases, said Tom Wolpert, an OSU plant pathologist and co-author of the paper, "Tricking the Guard: Exploiting Plant Defense for Disease Susceptibility."

Wolpert and others at OSU discovered that victorin, a toxin produced by the fungus, attacks Arabidopsis by binding to a protein called TRX-h5. This protein, however, has a guard watching over it called LOV1. When something tries to mess with the protein, the guard causes the cells to "commit suicide" in defense.

"The plant is doing what it thinks it should do and is turning on a defense," Wolpert said.

That strategy works for the plant when it's fighting fungi that need their hosts to be living cells in order to survive. Such fungi are called biotrophs and collect nutrients from the living cells. What the plant doesn't know, however, it that Cochliobolus victoriae is a type of fungus called a necrotroph that feeds on dead cells instead.

"The fungus is tricking the plant to kill its cells so it can eat them," said OSU plant pathologist Jennifer Lorang, the lead author of the study.

Cochliobolus victoriae causes a disease called Victoria blight, which in the 1940s severely reduced U.S. yields of oats that were descended from a variety named Victoria. The fungus damages leaves, kills seedlings, causes seeds to ripen prematurely, and weakens stems so that the plant falls over.

A gene called Vb in the Victoria-type oats made them susceptible to the fungus, but that same gene is believed to protect them from another fungus called crown rust. Cochliobolus victoriae is no longer a problem in oats because new varieties have been developed that don't have the Vb gene.

Last year, U.S. farmers produced $2.6 billion of rice, $827 million of dry, edible beans, $822 million of barley and $186 million of oats, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Tom Wolpert, 541-737-5293

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Jennifer Lorang and Tom Wolpert examine oats growing in a greenhouse at Oregon State University. The OSU plant pathologists have figured out how a fungus that infects oats tricks plant cells into committing suicide. Photo by Tiffany Woods.

OSU researcher receives top fisheries prize

CORVALLIS, Ore. – David Noakes, a professor of fisheries at Oregon State University, has been selected to receive the Award of Excellence from the American Fisheries Society. It is the top award given by this national organization.

Noakes is senior scientist at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center - a joint venture between OSU and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The center, located some 13 miles west of the town of Alsea on Hwy. 34, studies similarities and differences between native fish and hatchery-raised fish, focusing on salmon and steelhead.

Noakes was honored for his lifetime research and academic accomplishments. He is the fifth OSU scientist to have received the prestigious award; no other institution has had more than one recipient. Past recipients from OSU include Carl Bond, Peter Doudoroff, John Fryer and Carl Schreck.

The society also honored Hiram Li, an emeritus professor in the OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, with the Emmeline Moore Prize for his career in mentoring and advancing minorities in fisheries.

Schreck received the International Congress of Fish Biology’s Award of Excellence for his contributions to fish physiology.

 

Media Contact: 
Source: 

David Noakes, 541-737-1953