OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Departmental News

Runaround: Three Months of Correspondence With the EPA

When the EPA dismisses members of the media, it is dismissing the public—the people the agency is supposed to serve, said Michael Nelson, a professor of environmental ethics at Oregon State University.

What Do Wild Animals Do in a Wildfire?

Heat can kill too—even organisms buried deep in the ground, such as fungi. Jane Smith, a mycologist with the U.S. Forest Service in Corvallis, Oregon, has measured temperatures as high as 1,292 degrees Fahrenheit (700 degrees Celsius) beneath logs burning in a wildfire, and 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius) a full two inches (five centimeters) below the surface.

Precipitation and Not Warming Temperatures May be More to Blame for Bird Population Shifts

Warming temperatures may not impact birds as much as you might think. Instead, precipitation is what might cause problems for species in North America. "When we think of climate change, we automatically think warmer temperatures," said Matthew Betts, professor in the College of Forestry. "But our analysis found that for many species, it is precipitation that most affects the long-term survival of many bird species."

Why Is Lake Abert Disappearing?

Trent Seager, a Ph.D. candidate at Oregon State who’s led bird counts at the lake for 20 years, remembers taking his concerns to a manager at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. At their first meeting, the manager was receptive, interested and worried, Seager says. Seager, another Lake Abert Council member, thought he’d finally broken through.

On the Oregon Truffle Scent

At least 350 known truffle species grow in the Pacific Northwest, according to a 2009 federal report on truffle fungi. Only Australia grows more species, boasting “a tremendous diversity” of around 2,000, says Jim Trappe, a professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University and a world expert on truffles.

Oregon State University Launches Nation’s First Graduate Program in Urban Forestry Online

“There isn’t another opportunity like this in the U.S. where a working professional can earn graduate-level education in urban forestry online and still retain their job, raise a family or remain at their home state,” said Paul Ries, the certificate director and an instructor in OSU’s College of Forestry.

Discover Australia Blog

Isaac Soper, a student in the CoF international summer program titled Managing Forest Resources and Ecosystem Services in Queensland, Australia is maintaining a blog about their experience. Recently they stopped at a spotted gum plantation, which is a species of eucalyptus. They learned about the various uses of spotted gum, and the growth traits of the particular trees in the plantation.

Reintroducing wolves is only effective at large scales

Researchers Thomas M. Newsome and William J. Ripple, from Oregon State University, argue that they’ve achieved a better understanding of wolves’ roles in North American ecosystems because they’ve looked at data from an area covering nearly 1.3 million square kilometers of wilderness: the two large Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. To assess the abundance of three carnivorous canids – wolves, coyotes, and foxes – they relied mainly on fur trap data.

Genome could unlock eucalyptus potential for paper, fuel and fiber

In a collaboration spanning five continents, scientists have announced the complete sequencing of one of the world’s most widely planted trees, Eucalyptus grandis. Eucalyptus trees generally take three to 10 years to flower after they are propagated from seed, a process that slows the rate of breeding considerably, said Steve Strauss, a co-author of the Nature paper and an Oregon State distinguished professor of forest biotechnology in the College of Forestry.

Discovery of a bud-break gene could lead to trees adapted for a changing climate

Scientists have confirmed the function of a gene that controls the awakening of trees from winter dormancy, a critical factor in their ability to adjust to environmental changes associated with climate change. “This is the first time a gene that controls the timing of bud break in trees has been identified,” said Steve Strauss, co-author and distinguished professor of forest biotechnology at OSU.

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