OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Size matters, and so do temperature and habitat, to scavengers and the carcasses they eat

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Size matters in the carrion world, and so do habitat and temperature.

New research has shed fresh light on the largely understudied area of vertebrate scavenging ecology, particularly how biotic factors – living organisms – and abiotic ones such as heat or cold influence communities of scavengers.

The findings are important because carrion, the decaying flesh of dead animals, is a key nutrient for vertebrates worldwide and comparatively little is known about how all of the interplay works.

“A common perception is most things are depredated and eaten quickly, but in actuality, carrion is a highly available resource that’s contributing significantly to the food web,” said Erin Abernethy, a Ph.D. student in integrative biology in Oregon State University’s College of Science and second author on the study.

“There’s been a lot of research on how much carrion invertebrates eat, and they do eat a lot, and how the size of a carcass can tell you how much goes to vertebrates or invertebrates,” Abernethy said. “But there hasn’t been much on who among the vertebrate scavengers – coyotes, vultures, hogs, foxes, etc. – is getting what and how much, and how carcass size and habitat affect all of that. The nutrients from carcasses are reaching higher levels of the food web, and that knowledge is now getting fleshed out more.”

Working at the Savannah River Site, a 78,000-hectare coastal plain in South Carolina managed by the U.S. Department of Energy, researchers conducted scavenging trials across four habitat types: clearcut, mature hardwood forest, immature pine forest and mature pine forest.

They used carcasses of three different types and sizes – rat, rabbit and wild pig, representing small, medium and large. Scientists did trials both in a cool-weather time of year and in warm weather to measure changes in scavenger community dynamics as a result of seasonal differences in what microbes and invertebrates eat.

Hidden cameras captured “scavenging events” – an animal feeding on a carcass. Collectively, the photos – nearly 400,000 were analyzed – told a story of scavenger efficiency, scavenger species composition and carcass persistence as functions of carcass size, habitat type, and season.

“All of these photos, it’s kind of like spying on wildlife,” Abernethy said. “It’s a really nice way of communicating science, tickling people’s senses about a really integral part of the ecosystem.

“One of the most interesting aspects of this study was learning the sheer amount, the volume of carcasses, consumed by vertebrates.”

Animals with backbones partially or fully scavenged more than three-quarters of the carcasses, research showed.

“The results suggest vertebrate communities are efficient at locating varying sized carcasses, even in warmer months when invertebrate and microbial communities are most active, but not as efficiently as in cooler months when invertebrate and microbial activity isn’t as high,” Abernethy said. “We think carcass fate is ultimately determined by the scavenging community’s ability to find carrion as well as the availability of the carcass to vertebrate scavengers, both of which vary not only by season but also by habitat and carcass size.”

Abernethy said the study points out the importance of building multiple variables into carrion research.

“Not incorporating a range of carcass sizes, habitat types and air temperatures into scavenging studies can greatly diminish any potential derived insights into rates of carcass acquisition and community composition of scavengers,” she said.

The corresponding author is Kelsey Turner of the University of Georgia, and two other collaborators, Olin Rhodes Jr. and James Beasley, are from the University of Georgia as well. The research team also included L. Mike Conner of the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center in Newton, Ga.

Abernethy works in the lab of David Lytle, professor of integrative biology at OSU.

The U.S. Department of Energy supported this research. Findings were recently published in Ecology.

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Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039

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Coyotes

Coyotes scavenging a pig carcass

Study illuminates fate of marine carbon in last steps toward sequestration

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The ocean sequesters massive amounts of carbon in the form of “dissolved organic matter,” and new research explains how an ancient group of cells in the dark ocean wrings the last bit of energy from carbon molecules resistant to breakdown.

A look at genomes from SAR202 bacterioplankton found oxidative enzymes and other important families of enzymes that indicate SAR202 may facilitate the last stages of breakdown before the dissolved oxygen matter, or DOM, reaches a “refractory” state that fends off further decomposition.

Findings from the study by scientists at Oregon State University were recently published by the American Society for Microbiology. 

The ocean sequesters nearly as much carbon as exists in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2) and the new research into deep-water bacteria’s genomes sheds key new light on how the carbon storehouse operates.

Stephen Giovannoni, OSU distinguished professor of microbiology, said that near the ocean surface, the DOM carbon goes unconsumed because the cost of harvesting the resources is too high. Currents transport the “recalcitrant” forms of DOM that remain to the deep ocean, where they are slowly broken down to compounds that can persist for thousands of years.

Zach Landry, an OSU graduate student and first author of the study, named SAR202 “Monstromaria” from the Latin term for “sea monster.”

“They’re very abundant in the dark ocean where no photosynthesis is happening and planktonic cells are living off whatever rains down from surface,” Giovannoni said. “The big carbon cycle unknown is why so much carbon accumulates as organic matter in the ocean. In principle, micro-organisms could use it as chow to make energy and build biomass – and return CO2 to the atmosphere, which would be a disaster.

“At the surface, where there’s intense competition for nitrogen and phosphorus, and grazing by bigger plankton cells, Monstromaria's activities don’t pay out well enough for them to make a living,” Giovannoni said. “It’s so difficult to break down the resistant compounds that it’s not worth the cost. It’s like trying to make a living farming in an urban area – it isn’t going to work because the cost of living is too high.

”The resistant DOM carbon is like the last thing you’d want at a buffet, but the SAR202 consumes it in the deep ocean because it's all that is left.”

The research was done in Giovannoni’s lab by Landry, then a Ph.D. candidate at OSU and now a post-doctoral scholar, and collaborators at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center, the University of Vienna, and Utrecht University.

“Since SAR202 are ancient and today dominate in the dark ocean realm, we speculate their arrival in ancient oceans may have impacted the early carbon cycle,” Landry said.

Simons Foundation International, the National Science Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the European Research Council and the Austrian Science Fund supported this study.

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Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039

Science writer for The Atlantic to give lecture on microbes in human body

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Author and science journalist Ed Yong will present a free public lecture on the human microbiome from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 11, in the Horizon Room of the Memorial Union, 2501 S.W. Jefferson Way on Oregon State University’s Corvallis campus.

Yong, the first staff science writer in the 159-year history of The Atlantic magazine, is author of “I Contain Multitudes,” a book about the trillions of microbes in the body.

A reception will precede the lecture. Those who wish to attend the reception are asked to RSVP

Yong has written for a variety of publications on topics including microbes, animal behavior, science policy, paleontology and reproducibility in science.

Until January 2017, he was the author of the blog Not Exactly Rocket Science, hosted by National Geographic.

Yong’s lecture is part of SPARK: The Year of Arts and Science at OSU, a yearlong celebration of how arts and science ignite innovation.

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Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039

Total solar eclipse featured topic at Corvallis Science Pub

CORVALLIS, Ore. – This Aug. 21, North America will experience a total solar eclipse when the moon passes directly between the sun and Earth. At the May 8 Corvallis Science Pub, Randall Milstein will discuss the science and history of solar eclipses and offer practical tips on how to witness the event safely.

“With it crossing so much of North America, it may become the most widely shared natural event in human history,” said Milstein, an astronomy instructor and astronomer-in-residence with the Oregon Space Grant program at Oregon State University.

This is the first total solar eclipse to target the continental United States since 1979, the first to run from the North American Pacific Coast to Atlantic Coast since 1918, and the first total solar eclipse since 1776 with its path of totality completely within the continental United States.

Science Pub will begin at 6 pm and is free and open to the public. Due to high interest in this topic, note that it will not be held in the usual location, the Old World Deli in downtown Corvallis. Instead it will be in the Learning Innovation Center (Room 100) on the OSU campus. Food and beverages will not be available. Free parking is available on the campus after 5 pm.

Podcasts of previous Corvallis Science Pub events on topics such as marijuana metabolism, foreign relations and soft robotics are available at http://communications.oregonstate.edu/podcast.

Sponsors of Science Pub include Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

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Nick Houtman, nick.houtman@oregonstate.edu, 541-737-0783   

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Randall Milstein, 541-737-2414, randall.milstein@oregonstate.edu

    

OSU College of Science to host “The Colorful World of Pigments” on May 5

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will celebrate the blue pigment discovered at the university and its impact on art, culture and industry at an event called “The Colorful World of Pigments” scheduled for May 5 on OSU’s Corvallis campus.

Hosted by the College of Science, the event will include a discussion of color by a panel that will feature the pigment’s discoverer, Oregon State chemist Mas Subramanian; Christopher Manning of the Shepherd Color Company, OSU’s licensing partner for the pigment, named YInMn blue; a color theorist from Nike; and the curator of Harvard University’s 2,500-specimen Forbes Pigment Collection, a scientific catalog of color that includes YInMn blue. 

The Colorful World of Pigments is part of a series known as SPARK: The Year of Arts and Science at OSU. The series explores the intersections of art and science.

Running from 8 a.m. to noon at LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., the pigments event also includes an exhibit featuring artworks using YInMn blue, and a wall on which children can color and paint from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

The panel discussion will go from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

At 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., Subramanian will lead tours of the lab where YInMn blue was discovered, and demonstrate how it was discovered. Space on the tours is limited.

YInMn blue was discovered by accident in 2009 when Subramanian and his team were experimenting with new materials that could be used in electronics applications. The researchers mixed manganese oxide – which is black in color – with other chemicals and heated them in a furnace to nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. One of their samples turned out to be a vivid blue. Oregon State graduate student Andrew Smith initially made these samples to study their electrical properties.

The pigment features a unique crystal structure that allows the manganese ions to absorb red and green wavelengths of light while only reflecting blue. The vibrant blue is so durable, and its compounds are so stable – even in oil and water – that the color does not fade.

These characteristics make the new pigment versatile for a variety of commercial products. Used in paints, for example, they can help keep buildings cool by reflecting infrared light. Better yet, Subramanian said, the pigment’s ingredients are non-toxic.

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Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039

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Mas Subramanian, 541-737-8235
mas.subramanian@oregonstate.edu

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Blue pigment

YInMn blue

Monkey business produces rare preserved blood in amber fossils

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Two monkeys grooming each other about 20-30 million years ago may have helped produce a remarkable new find – the first fossilized red blood cells from a mammal, preserved so perfectly in amber that they appear to have been prepared for display in a laboratory.

The discovery, published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, also describes the only known fossils of a type of parasite that still exists today, Babesia microti, which infects the blood cells of humans and other animals.

Two small holes in the back of a blood-engorged tick, which allowed blood to ooze out just as the tick became stuck in tree sap that later fossilized into amber, provide a brief glimpse of life in a tropical jungle millions of years ago in what is now the Dominican Republic.

“These two tiny holes indicate that something picked a tick off the mammal it was feeding on, puncturing it in the process and dropping it immediately into tree sap,” said George Poinar, Jr., professor emeritus in the College of Science at Oregon State University, author of the study and an international expert on plant and animal life forms found preserved in amber.

“This would be consistent with the grooming behavior of monkeys that we know lived at that time in this region. The fossilized blood cells, infected with these parasites, are simply amazing in their detail. This discovery provides the only known fossils of Babesia-type pathogens.”

The fossil parasites add to the history of the Order Piroplasmida, of which the Babesiidae is one family. In humans, the parasite B. microti can cause babesiosis, a disease with symptoms that resemble malaria and can be fatal. A related parasite in cattle can cause Texas cattle fever, which has been a historic problem in the plains states, and just this spring is causing another outbreak that has led to quarantines on more than 500,000 acres of land in Texas.

“The life forms we find in amber can reveal so much about the history and evolution of diseases we still struggle with today,” Poinar said. “This parasite, for instance, was clearly around millions of years before humans, and appears to have evolved alongside primates, among other hosts.”

Part of what makes these fossils unique, Poinar said, is the clarity by which the parasites and blood cells are preserved, almost as if they had been stained and otherwise treated in a laboratory for inspection. The parasites were different enough in texture and density to stand out clearly within the red blood cells during the natural embalming process for which amber is famous.

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George Poinar, Jr.

poinarg@science.oregonstate.edu

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Blood engorged tick


Blood-engorged tick


Fossil blood cells
Fossilized red blood cells

Natural carbohydrate shows promise as weapon against food poisoning

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Chitosan, a natural carbohydrate derived from crustacean shells, is showing promise as a weapon against a bacterium that annually sickens more than a million people in the United States.

After salmonella poisoning, the second-most common bacterial foodborne illness in the U.S. is Clostridium perfringens food poisoning.

Present in soil, decaying vegetation and the intestinal tracts of vertebrates, C. perfringens typically infects humans when they eat meat that hasn’t been thoroughly cooked or properly stored, allowing the bacteria to multiply.

Symptons of C. perfringens food poisoning include abdominal pain, stomach cramps, diarrhea and nausea; patients often mistake it for a 24-hour flu.

“People aren’t dying, but they’re getting sick,” said Oregon State University researcher Mahfuzur Sarker. “And many times people don’t report it, so there are likely way more people getting infected than we know about.”

Sarker and OSU graduate student Maryam Alnoman were part of an international collaboration that studied the effect of chitosan on C. perfringens. Chitosan is a linear polysaccharide that results from treating the exoskeletons of shrimp and other crustaceans with an alkaline compound.

The tests involved both laboratory growth medium – bacteria in solution – and cooked, contaminated chicken meat left for several hours at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The study looked at the full life cycle of the C. perfringen bacterium, which produces tough, metabolically dormant spores that are able to survive many food processing approaches.

Results were recently published in Food Microbiology.

The researchers found chitosan blocked C. perfringens growth in cooked chicken and also found chitosan inhibits:

  • Spore germination and outgrowth;
  • The spore core from releasing dipicolinic acid, which is associated with an early step of spore germination;
  • The growth of vegetative cells – cells that are actively growing as opposed to producing spores. 

“In lab conditions, low concentrations of chitosan were effective,” said Sarker, professor of microbiology in OSU’s colleges of science and veterinary medicine. “In meat, the concentration needs to be higher because there are a lot of ingredients in the cooked meat that can inhibit the activity of the antimicrobial chemicals.

“But the larger dose of 3 milligrams per gram of food is still a good dose that can be used in making food products. This is the first time chitosan was shown to work consistently both in lab conditions and in chicken meat.”

Sarker said the next steps are researching chitosan’s effectiveness in other types of meat and meat products and optimizing the conditions for using it. It’s possible, for example, that chitosan may work best when combined with other food preservative chemicals such as sorbate and benzoate.

“It could be a combination of multiple agents,” he said “There are options we can try."

The OSU researchers collaborated with scientists at Taibah University in Saudi Arabia and Kasetsart University in Thailand.

Oregon State’s Agricultural Research Foundation supported the study. Funding also came from the U.S. Army Research Office.

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Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039

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C. perfringens

Clostridium perfringens cells

OSU marine ecologist receives top National Academy of Sciences honor

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The National Academy of Sciences is honoring Oregon State University marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco with its most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal.

The academy has annually presented the award, which recognizes distinguished contributions in the application of science to the public good, since 1914. The medal honors individuals “who have worked tirelessly to promote science for the benefit of humanity.”

Lubchenco’s selection as the 2017 Public Welfare Medal recipient was announced today.

“It’s an incredible honor, especially since it comes at a time in history when it’s more important than ever for scientists to engage with the public in meaningful ways and demonstrate how our work improves people’s lives,” Lubchenco said. “And I’m humbled at having my name join the list of amazing individuals who’ve received this tremendous award.”

Past winners include Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill and Melinda Gates, Carl Sagan, Alan Alda, C. Everett Koop, David Packard, Jimmy Doolittle, Herbert Hoover and Gifford Pinchot.

The academy is honoring Lubchenco, university distinguished professor and advisor in marine studies in the OSU College of Science, for “successful efforts in bringing together the larger research community, its sponsors and the public policy community to focus on urgent issues related to global environmental change.”

“Jane Lubchenco is not only an eminent scientist in her own right but also a passionate advocate for science who has dedicated her career to public service,” said Susan Wessler, home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and chair of the selection committee for the award. “In doing so, she has inspired and encouraged countless other researchers to follow in her footsteps.” 

The former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the first woman to serve in that role, Lubchenco just completed a two-year term as the first U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean. An internationally recognized expert on marine ecology, environmental science and climate change, she is one of the world’s most highly cited ecologists and has received numerous honors, including a MacArthur “genius” award.

At NOAA from 2009 to 2013, Lubchenco focused on restoring oceans to a healthy state, returning fisheries to sustainability and profitability, strengthening science and scientific integrity, ensuring continuity of weather and other environmental satellites, and delivering climate science information and services. 

She led NOAA’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and advised President Obama on the federal government’s response to that and other disasters, including the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011.

“Jane Lubchenco is my hero,” said National Academy of Sciences President Marcia McNutt. “She does it all. She begins by providing the fundamental science that is the beacon for a better way to manage our ocean resources for the benefit of present and future generations. Then she steps forward to put knowledge into action through leadership both nationally and internationally. We couldn’t be more pleased to present her with our highest award.”  

Lubchenco will be presented with the medal April 30 in Washington, D.C., during the academy’s 154th annual meeting.

The National Academy of Sciences, of which Lubchenco has been a member since 1996, is a private nonprofit established under a congressional charter signed by President Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science and provides science, engineering and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

“I cannot think of a better person to receive this than Jane,” said Sastry Pantula, dean of the Oregon State University College of Science. “She is a jewel in OSU's crown. She is not only a tireless ambassador for developing science-based policies, but also committed to the vision of having healthy people, living on a healthy planet, in a healthy economy.”

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Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039

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Jane Lubchenco 1

Jane Lubchenco

Volunteers sought for study to measure actual metabolic impact of multivitamins

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Participants are being sought for a study at Oregon State University that hopes to answer a long-overdue question – does the use of multivitamin supplements really improve the nutritional status, and ultimately the health, of elderly adults?

Oddly enough, almost no research has been done that measures what improvements in nutritional status actually occur when people take a multivitamin and mineral supplement. Even less is known about effects in the elderly, a time of life when substantial evidence shows that vitamin and mineral demands are higher and more difficult to meet.

In this research, which will be a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 40 men age 70 or older, in generally good health, will be tested to measure their response to the use of a multivitamin, or lack of one.  Men are being chosen because, even more than women, their diet as older adults is known to often be deficient in vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, as well as calcium, magnesium and potassium.

For four months two groups of men will receive either a placebo or the multivitamin Centrum Silver, and measurements will be made of any changes in their nutritional status as well as markers of health, such as activity levels, energy reserve and cognitive function. The study is being funded by a grant from Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, the company which markets that product.

“It’s clear that older individuals have even higher nutritional deficiencies than the general population, at a time in their life when those nutrients may be more important than ever,” said Tory Hagen, the Helen P. Rumbel Professor for Healthy Aging Research in OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute.

“Older adults often have poor nutrition, they lose some of their sense of taste and flavor, and they absorb micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals less effectively. They are getting fewer of these nutrients even as the demand for those nutrients increases with age. This can increase their risk for chronic disease.”

Hagen, a biochemist in the OSU College of Science, said it is worth noting that almost all research to establish the recommended daily allowance for micronutrients is based on the needs of younger adults, ages 18-48. As aging takes its natural toll and the ability to absorb micronutrients decreases, the amounts needed may increase significantly in older adults, he said. This study will examine how well a multivitamin and mineral supplement can improve markers that reflect optimal metabolic status.

“We’ll finally learn more about how these micronutrients are being used in the body, especially in older adults, and whether or not the levels being taken will help address health issues,” Hagen said.

Measurements will be made on the effect of supplements on a complete metabolic panel using plasma or blood cells, on such issues as antioxidant status, lipoprotein profiles, metabolic health, and inflammation. Individuals will also be required to wear an activity monitoring device,  along with other measurements made of “cellular energy transduction” that show general energy reserve, and cognitive testing will assess common functions that do or do not decline with age.

Any eligible men interested in participating in the study may contact Alex Michels in OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute, via email at alexander.michels@oregonstate.edu

Individuals will be eligible if they have no current or past history of serious chronic illness, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. Men who are already taking a multivitamin supplement are eligible, if they are willing to stop taking it for a period before the study begins.

Older adults are at increased risk of various chronic diseases, Hagen said, in which inadequate levels of vitamins and minerals may play a significant role, including cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease and cancer.

The Linus Pauling Institute offers recommendations for supplements that could be of value to older adults, in some cases at levels substantially higher even than those found in a multivitamin. It can be found online at http://bit.ly/1W2azki

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Tory Hagen, 541-737-5083

tory.hagen@oregonstate.edu


Massive online database lays the foundation for mathematics of the 21st century

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An international team of mathematicians that includes an Oregon State University professor has released a massive mathematical database that catalogs objects of central importance in number theory and maps out the intricate connections between them.

The “L-functions and Modular Forms Database,” or LMFDB, serves as an atlas of mathematical functions and other objects, and also reveals deep relationships in the abstract universe of mathematics. 

L-functions are like DNA in that having the same L-function distinguishes when mathematical objects are related. The LMFDB can be viewed as analogous to the DNA sequencing of many genomes. An example of objects with this type of DNA are elliptic curves, which form the basis of cryptographic protocols used by most major Internet companies, including Google, Facebook and Amazon. 

By coordinating efforts, researchers have made these relationships visible by developing new algorithms and performing calculations on an extensive network of computers. Free and open source, the database is accessible online for anyone to use to learn and discover uncharted mathematical worlds. 

The team includes over 70 mathematicians from 12 countries and more than a dozen research areas. They represent a range of institutions including the American Institute of Mathematics; Arizona State University; University of California, San Diego; MIT; Oregon State University; University of Vermont; University of Vienna, Austria; University of Warwick, UK; and others. By joining forces, the mathematicians were able to develop a site that serves as one-stop shopping for big data on key mathematical objects.

Holly Swisher, an associate professor of mathematics in OSU’s College of Science, has been a member of the project since its first official workshop in Paris during the fall of 2010. Work on the database generally happens during weeklong workshops where participants cycle between individual work, small group teamwork and large group discussions. The group has no leader—all decisions are made by consensus at workshop meetings. 

The quantity and depth of data is staggering. The LMFDB tabulates data which has been produced over many decades, and which is now available in one place in a unified format. Hundreds of CPU years of computing time were involved in compiling the database along with thousands of hours of human effort.

Many of these calculations are so intricate that only a handful of experts can do them, and some computations are so big that it makes sense to only do them once. For example, a recent computation by Andrew Sutherland at MIT used 72,000 cores of Google's Compute Engine to complete in hours a tabulation that would have taken more than a century on a single computer.

The application of large-scale cloud computing to conduct research in pure mathematics is just one of the ways in which the project is pushing the frontier of mathematics forward. Large-scale computer experiments can now take the place of computations by hand or with a calculator, which is rapidly speeding up the process of testing and discovery.

“Our project is akin to the first periodic table of elements,” said project member John Voight, an associate professor of mathematics at Dartmouth. “We have found enough of the building blocks that we can see the overall structure and begin to glimpse the underlying relationships.” 

Similar to the periodic table, fundamental objects in mathematics fall into categories with names like L-function, elliptic curve, and modular form. These broad categories naturally divide into smaller subcategories, each with its own personality. Every object has connections to objects in other categories, which project members refer to as its “friends.”

One of the major goals of the project is to determine the “friend” network and to understand how the quirky behavior of a particular object can influence its “friends.” The database provides a coherent picture of this web of mathematical relationships.

 “The LMFDB is really the only place where these interconnections are given in such clear, explicit, and navigable terms,” OSU’s Swisher said. “Before our project it was difficult to find more than a handful of examples, and now we have millions.”

The database has been funded by the National Science Foundation; the United Kingdom’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; the American Institute of Mathematics; the EU 2020 Horizon Open DreamKit Project; and the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics.

The official release of the LMFDB will take place on May 10 at public lectures occurring at the American Institute of Mathematics, Dartmouth College and University of Bristol. The public release is planned for 1 p.m. Pacific time. The Dartmouth event will be broadcast online at http://math.dartmouth.edu/.

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Debbie Farris, debbie.farris@oregonstate.edu, 541-737-4862

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