OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

libraries and information technology

Amber fossil reveals ancient reproduction in flowering plants

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A 100-million-year old piece of amber has been discovered which reveals the oldest evidence of sexual reproduction in a flowering plant – a cluster of 18 tiny flowers from the Cretaceous Period – with one of them in the process of making some new seeds for the next generation.

The perfectly-preserved scene, in a plant now extinct, is part of a portrait created in the mid-Cretaceous when flowering plants were changing the face of the Earth forever, adding beauty, biodiversity and food. It appears identical to the reproduction process that “angiosperms,” or flowering plants still use today.

Researchers from Oregon State University and Germany published their findings on the fossils in the Journal of the Botanical Institute of Texas.

The flowers themselves are in remarkable condition, as are many such plants and insects preserved for all time in amber. The flowing tree sap covered the specimens and then began the long process of turning into a fossilized, semi-precious gem. The flower cluster is one of the most complete ever found in amber and appeared at a time when many of the flowering plants were still quite small.

Even more remarkable is the microscopic image of pollen tubes growing out of two grains of pollen and penetrating the flower’s stigma, the receptive part of the female reproductive system. This sets the stage for fertilization of the egg and would begin the process of seed formation – had the reproductive act been completed.

“In Cretaceous flowers we’ve never before seen a fossil that shows the pollen tube actually entering the stigma,” said George Poinar, Jr., a professor emeritus in the Department of Integrative Biology at the OSU College of Science. “This is the beauty of amber fossils. They are preserved so rapidly after entering the resin that structures such as pollen grains and tubes can be detected with a microscope.”

The pollen of these flowers appeared to be sticky, Poinar said, suggesting it was carried by a pollinating insect, and adding further insights into the biodiversity and biology of life in this distant era. At that time much of the plant life was composed of conifers, ferns, mosses, and cycads.  During the Cretaceous, new lineages of mammals and birds were beginning to appear, along with the flowering plants. But dinosaurs still dominated the Earth.

“The evolution of flowering plants caused an enormous change in the biodiversity of life on Earth, especially in the tropics and subtropics,” Poinar said.

“New associations between these small flowering plants and various types of insects and other animal life resulted in the successful distribution and evolution of these plants through most of the world today,” he said. “It’s interesting that the mechanisms for reproduction that are still with us today had already been established some 100 million years ago.”

The fossils were discovered from amber mines in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar, previously known as Burma. The newly-described genus and species of flower was named Micropetasos burmensis.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

George Poinar, 541-752-0917

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Ancient flowers

Ancient flower


Pollen tubes

Pollen tubes

OSU Press releases new book on wolves in Oregon

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The reappearance of wolves in Oregon and the impact this apex predator has on people from ranchers to conservationists to attorneys is the subject of a new book by the Oregon State University Press.

“Collared: Politics and Personalities in Oregon’s Wolf Country” was written by Aimee Lyn Eaton, a former science communicator at OSU who also has worked as a free-lance writer for the New York Times, National Geographic and other publications.

Eaton describes her experience in seeing wolves first-hand, and meeting many Oregonians most affected by their return. She takes the reader to the State Capitol in Salem, to town hall meetings in rural northeastern Oregon and beyond.

Tom Booth of the OSU Press said the book encourages “a deeper, multi-faceted understanding of the controversial and storied presence of wolves in Oregon.”

Four events are scheduled for the author in Portland and Corvallis next week:

  • Portland: A reading and signing event on Monday, Oct. 7, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Powell’s, 3723 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.;
  • Portland: A book signing session on Tuesday, Oct. 8, during the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association conference at the Airport Holiday Inn. More information on the conference is available at: www.pnba.org/show.htm
  • Corvallis: A reading and signing event on Tuesday, Oct. 8, beginning at 7 p.m. at Grass Roots Books & Music, 227 S.W. 2nd St.;
  • Corvallis: A reading and signing event on Wednesday, Oct. 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the third floor of OSU’s Valley Library (bring you own lunch).

“Collared” is available in bookstores, online at http://osupress.oregonstate.edu, or can be ordered by calling 1-800-621-2736.

 

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Note to Journalists: Review copies of “Collared” are available by contacting Micki Reaman of The OSU Press at 541-737-4620.

About the OSU Press: The OSU Press plays a vital role in the cultural and literary life of the Pacific Northwest by providing readers with a better understanding of the region. The press specializes in scholarly and general interest books about the history, culture, literature, environment, and natural resources of the state and region.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Micki Reaman, 541-737-4620

History of hops and brewing chronicled on new OSU archive

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon is at the epicenter of a thriving craft-brew industry, and Oregon State University is helping shape the movement – from creating new barley varieties, to offering courses for home brewers, to its growing fermentation science program, which has a Pilot Plant Brewhouse where student brewers create new beers.

Now, the university is going a step further as it actively preserves the rich history of hops and craft brewing.

Recognizing the need to document the intertwined story of hop production and the craft brewing movement in Oregon, the Special Collections & Archives Research Center at OSU Libraries & Press established the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives in summer 2013. This month, the official launch of the online archives will be celebrated in appropriate style with “Tap into History” on March 28 at the McMenamins Mission Theater in Portland.

The archive’s goal is to collect and provide access to records related to hops production and the craft brewing industries in Oregon. The first archive in the United States dedicated to hops and beer, it will bring together a wealth of materials in hardcopy and digital formats enabling people to study and appreciate these movements. The work melds the social and economic aspects of brewing in Oregon with the hard science behind the beer research being done at OSU.

The university already has strong collections related to the history of hops, barley, and fermentation research at OSU, but scholars are gathering resources from beyond the campus as well.

“There are valuable items in historical societies, in the boxes of marketing materials in a brewer’s garage, in the computer records of operations at hop farms, on beer blogs, in social media communities, and in the stories that haven’t been recorded,” said Tiah Edmunson-Morton, archivist for the collection.

“While we are interested in adding new items to build the archive, we also want to be a portal to collections through the state, partnering with people in heritage and history communities, state agencies, hops farmers, craft brewers, home brewers, and the general community to think collectively about how to preserve and provide access to this history.”

The free "Tap into History" event at the Mission Theater, which begins at 7 p.m., includes a panel on brewing history in Oregon. Among the topics:

  • Edmunson-Morton will talk about the project and its impact.
  • Peter Kopp, an agricultural historian, will talk about his use of archival materials and the relevance for researchers.
  • John Foyston, an Oregonian writer since 1987 and noted beer columnist, will talk about his work documenting the Oregon beer scene.
  • Irene Firmat, CEO and co-founder of Full Sail Brewing Company, will talk about her work as a female brewing pioneer.
  • Daniel Sharp, a Ph.D. student in the OSU College of Agriculture's Fermentation Science program, will talk about his research and the program.

The event concludes with screenings from "Hopstories," a collection of short videos showcasing breweries in Oregon, and OPB's Beervana, a documentary about the history of beer and the rise of craft brewing in Oregon. The McMenamins Mission Theater is located at 1624 N.W. Glisan St., Portland.

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/brewingarchives

 

 

 

 

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Tiah Edmunson-Morton, 541-737-7387

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Grafting hop varieties

OSU open textbook initiative aims to reduce student costs, enhance learning

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is helping its faculty members develop textbooks in their fields that will be freely accessible online to any student in the world.

The open textbook initiative is a collaboration between OSU Libraries, OSU Press and OSU Extended Campus that provides financial, technical and editorial support for faculty members to create “open” texts that aim to reduce costs for students and further position Oregon State as a leader in research and teaching.

“I can’t remember a single year where I haven’t had a student advocacy group come to me and say we need to do something about the cost of textbooks,” said Faye Chadwell, the director of OSU Press and the Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian. “That’s really the driving factor here.”

“We need to make higher education affordable to Oregon State students and students in general because we can provide these resources beyond OSU,” she added.

Four winning proposals from OSU faculty spanning a variety of academic disciplines were chosen for publication in the initiative’s first phase:

  • Kevin Ahern and Indira Rajagopal, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics;
  • Gita Cherian, Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences;
  • Eric Hansen, Department of Wood Science and Engineering;
  • John Lambrinos, Department of Horticulture.

Publication of the four books will take place in 2014-15; they will be available in four interactive formats – HTML, PDF, iBooks and ePub – as well as in a print-on-demand edition.

In addition to relieving students of ever-increasing costs, these works will also feature interactive content that enhances learning through video, audio and other multimedia. The textbooks will be incorporated into OSU curriculum and include Creative Commons licenses to facilitate their use at other universities at no cost.

Extended Campus is involved through its new unit, Open Educational Resources and Emerging Technologies (OER), which works with OSU faculty to create open learning modules that can improve learning outcomes by presenting materials in ways that haven’t been possible in the past.

“Faculty know which concepts students generally have a hard time understanding based on how they are presented in the textbooks,” OER director Dianna Fisher said. “We can work with faculty to illustrate these concepts in several ways – through animations, video, text – any way that makes it easier for students to understand and allows them to interact with the text in various ways.”

An Oregon State course in geosciences is using the university’s first open textbook this quarter: “Living with Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest,” by Robert S. Yeats, a professor emeritus in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. The transformation of this title from print to online versions is the initial product of the OSU Libraries, OSU Press, and OSU Extended Campus partnership.

Originally published by OSU Press in 1998 and used widely in college courses throughout the Northwest, the book has been updated to feature video clips of earthquakes where still photos once resided. An animation depicting the movement of tectonic plates replaced the book’s previous line drawings. Plans are under way for Yeats to make additional updates and revisions in the months ahead.

“I’m not sure any university presses are creating open textbooks in partnership with their online learning unit the way OSU is,” Chadwell said. “It really sets the stage for the ongoing transformation of how people teach and learn.

“This is a project that will showcase what OSU is capable of doing, and it fulfills our land grant mission.”

 

View OSU’s prototype open textbook at http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/oer/Earthquake.pdf. Download it in Adobe Reader to experience full interactivity.

Source: 

Faye Chadwell, 541-737-7300; faye.chadwell@oregonstate.edu;
Dianna Fisher, 541-737-8658; dianna.fisher@oregonstate.edu

Zia Mian to receive 2014 Linus Pauling Legacy Award

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Zia Mian, a physicist with Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, will receive the 2014 Linus Pauling Legacy Award, sponsored by the Oregon State University Libraries and Press.

Mian was cited for his accomplishments as a scientist and as a peace activist in contributing to the global effort for nuclear disarmament. As part of the celebration marking Mian’s acceptance of the award, he will deliver a free public lecture at the Oregon History Society in Portland next April 21.

The Pauling Legacy Award is granted every other year to an individual who has contributed to an area of interest to the late Linus Pauling, an OSU alumnus and winner Nobel Prizes for chemistry and peace. Mian’s career parallels Pauling’s in the dual nature of his work, and December 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Pauling’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaigning to end nuclear weapons testing.

Pauling remains the only person to have received two unshared Nobel prizes.

A native of Pakistan, Mian has a Ph. D. in physics from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom. He has worked since the early 1990s in Pakistan and the United States on nuclear weapons and nuclear energy policy, and on issues of global nuclear disarmament and peace. Mian directs the Project on Peace and Security in South Asia at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, which is part of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where he also teaches. 

Mian is co-editor of Science & Global Society, an international journal of technical analysis for arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation policy. He is also a founder-member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials, an independent group of arms-control experts that works to develop policies to reduce and eliminate the global stockpiles of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, the key ingredients for nuclear weapons.

He has written and helped to produce two documentary films on peace and security in South Asia – “Pakistan and India under the Nuclear Shadow,” (2001) and “Crossing the Lines: Kashmir, Pakistan, India” (2004). He also serves on the boards of several national and international non-profit organizations working for peace and justice.

Mian is the eighth person to receive the Pauling Legacy Award.  Past recipients of the Linus Pauling Legacy Award have included Nobel laureates Joseph Rotblat, Roderick MacKinnon and Roger Kornberg. 

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Larry Landis

541-737-0540

Siuslaw National Forest, OSU Libraries bring forest history collection to public

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Nearly 5,000 digital images of the Siuslaw National Forest are being made available to the public through Oregon State University Libraries. The images are part of the Siuslaw National Forest Digital Collection and include pictures dating back to the beginnings of the Siuslaw in 1908 to the present.

“This collection is the first step in a long-ranging joint project between OSU Libraries’ Center for Digital Scholarship, the Special Collections & Archives Research Center and the Siuslaw National Forest,” said Ruth Vondracek, natural resources archivist at OSU. “The collection showcases some important pieces of Oregon history and we’re excited to make it available to the public.”

One of the primary objectives behind the project is making forest history publicly accessible. The digital images made available in this collection were created by volunteers in the Passport in Time Program, a volunteer archaeology and historic preservation program of the U.S. Forest Service.  Under the supervision of former Siuslaw National Forest Heritage Program manager Phyllis Steeves, volunteers scanned images over the course of a decade, and even developed the database to store the associated information.

“Ranging from early 20th-century homesteading activities to modern stream restoration efforts, the collection includes a wide array of topics that reflect the changing management, landscapes, and people on the Siuslaw National Forest,” said Heritage Resource Program manager Kevin Bruce.

Siuslaw National Forest staff will provide historical information (photos, documents, audio, etc.) in digital format to OSU, which will store and manage the information for general public access. A highlight of the collection is a series of photographs taken by Corydon Cronk during his time as an assistant ranger on the forest in 1910-1911.

“In a time when budgets are limited, the project serves as a great example of how federal agencies and universities can work together to share resources to produce a quality product for the public,” said Jerry Ingersoll, Siuslaw National Forest supervisor. “With our headquarters located on campus, the forest is in good alignment with OSU.”

The collection will expand in the future as the forest continues to add additional images and other forms of historical information such as oral histories, Forest Service administrative documents, and newsletters.

The Siuslaw National Forest Digital Collection is available at: http://oregondigital.org/digcol/siuslaw

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Kevin Bruce, 541-750-7053; Ruth Vondracek, 541-737-9273

OSU adopts university-wide open access policy

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has officially adopted an open access policy requiring faculty members to make their scholarly articles available for free through the digital repository ScholarsArchive@OSU.

The policy applies to all future scholarly articles authored or co-authored by faculty members at OSU.

OSU is the first university, public or private, in the Pacific Northwest to adopt a university-wide open access policy, and one of the first land grant universities in the nation to do so. About 58 percent of eligible OSU-produced scholarly articles are already placed in ScholarsArchive@OSU, which is managed by OSU Libraries. Faculty members may obtain waivers from the policy at their discretion.

The OSU Faculty Senate unanimously approved the motion to establish the policy at its June 13 meeting. The policy was passed eight years after the faculty senate originally passed a resolution in support of open access. OSU also was one of the first American universities to sign onto the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, which is an international statement in support of open access.

OSU Provost and Vice President Sabah Randhawa has been a long-time supporter of open access on campus.

"As a land grant and a comprehensive research university with international impact, OSU is committed to disseminate its research and scholarship as widely as possible,” Randhawa said. “The policy enables our faculty to make its creative work more accessible to a wider audience, including other scientists and educators, the public, and policy-makers – and in a more timely manner."

Michael Boock, head of the OSU Center for Digital Scholarship and Services, has been working for several years on issues related to open access at OSU. Along with Shan Sutton, associate university librarian for research and scholarly communication, Rich Carter in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty Senate library committee chair Marit Bovberg and a number of other OSU employees dedicated to open access, Boock has been pushing for the university to broadly embrace open access as a practice that seamlessly merges with the land grant mission.

“As a land grant institution, we feel it’s important to have our work available to the citizens of the state, and the world,” Boock said, “For much of our research at a land-, sea-, space-, and sun grant institution, the people who will ultimately read it and benefit from it are practitioners and decision-makers, or in some cases, school teachers and students.”

Another reason for the push to adopt open access is the escalating cost of maintaining subscriptions to major academic journals. OSU and other colleges and universities are being priced out of purchasing annual subscriptions to important and prestigious journals because of budgetary concerns. That means access to the top work in many fields is hidden behind a paywall, Carter said, which is what originally propelled him to start advocating for open access at OSU.

“We know that open access policies are going to allow the public to have more ready access to research being done at OSU,” Carter said. “Now a farmer in Oregon can look up a paper written by someone in the College of Agricultural Sciences. And someone starting up a science-focused company can look at work done in the College of Science.”

Sutton said there are ongoing, discernible shifts in the world of scholarly journals as more publishers recognize that open access is here to stay. That means that most journals are allowing work to be made available via repositories like ScholarsArchive@OSU, although often that version may be embargoed for months or years after publication in the journal. More faculty members are also requesting an addendum to their publishing contracts with journals, allowing them to make their work available via open access.

But OSU supporters of open access also recognize that publication is essential to tenure. The fact that some noteworthy journals still staunchly refuse to allow open access to their articles is why waivers are in place for OSU faculty members.

“The intention of the policy is we want faculty to continue to publish wherever they want to do so,” Carter said. The policy is not intended to prevent or discourage a faculty member from attempting publication in certain journals, he added, but to consider open access as another facet of being a land grant faculty member.

“This policy wasn’t passed in a vacuum,” Sutton said. “The universities that employ scholars and the granting agencies that fund much of their research are increasingly embracing open access as a common value to ensure research findings across disciplines are more widely accessible to the public and global research community. Academic libraries like OSU Libraries are key contributors to this movement in managing institutional repositories, advocating for publishers to adopt reasonable open access positions, and assisting faculty with issues such as publication agreement addenda.”

"The timing of this policy's passage couldn't be better," said Faye Chadwell, Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian at OSU. "OSU's policy has situated us to respond proactively to mandates from funding agencies to make sponsored research available to the public. With this new policy and workflows in place, as well as a robust institutional repository, OSU can be part of a solution like SHARE (a potential network of digital repositories from around the country)."

OSU has a long history of supporting open access to faculty-produced research. OSU library faculty were the first university librarians in the nation to pass an open access policy for their own work, and several OSU colleges, including the College of Earth, Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences and College of Forestry, have open access policies as well. Since 2006, graduate students have been required to deposit a copy of their thesis or dissertation into the university’s open-access repository, ScholarsArchive@OSU.

Webometrics recently ranked the ScholarsArchive@OSU digital repository seventh among U.S. single institution open access repositories. The Webometrics ranking is produced by the Cybermetrics Lab of the Spanish National Research Council located in Madrid and is based on indicators such as the number, visibility and impact of repository holdings.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Michael Boock, 541-737-9155

Shan Sutton, 541-737-8528

Linus Pauling science on tap for Corvallis Science Pub

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The potential health benefits of vitamin C may be Linus Pauling’s most famous legacy among the public, but the Oregon State University graduate and two-time Nobel Prize winner is better known among scientists for deep insights into chemistry and its application to medicine. 

The May 13 Corvallis Science Pub will focus on little-known highlights of Pauling’s life and on how scientists are applying his findings today.

Science Pub presentation begins at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, located at 341 S.W. Second St. in Corvallis. It is free and open to the public.

The event will feature two speakers – Chris Petersen of the Special Collections and Archives Research Center in OSU’s Valley Library and Steve Lawson, administrative officer at the Linus Pauling Institute on campus. The institute is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Petersen authors The Pauling Blog and has overseen production of websites and videos that describe Pauling’s lifelong research. Lawson has been associated with the institute since 1977 when it was located in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Oregon State. 

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

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Chris Peterson, Valley Library, 541-737-2810

Stephen Lawson, Linus Pauling Institute, 541-737-5080

Generic OSU

About Oregon State University: OSU is one of only two U.S. universities designated a land-, sea-, space- and sun-grant institution. OSU is also Oregon’s only university to hold both the Carnegie Foundation’s top designation for research institutions and its prestigious Community Engagement classification. Its more than 26,000 students come from all 50 states and more than 90 nations. OSU programs touch every county within Oregon, and its faculty teach and conduct research on issues of national and global importance.