Peg Herring

Corvallis, Ore. – The College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University received  $49.4 million in research grants during the 2014-15 fiscal year. More than 500 separate awards reflect the broad diversity of expertise across the College of Agricultural Sciences, its departments, centers, and research stations. Each contributes meaningful new knowledge toward improved human and environmental health and innovative support for industries in rural and urban Oregon.

Among the researchers and their topics:

Jeff Chang and colleagues received funding from USDA-NIFA-SCRI to work on gall-forming bacterial diseases that cause nurseries up to $1M in lost revenue.

John Selker will use NSF funding to collect thermal data using drones in atmospheric zones that have been hard to study until now

Kim Anderson will use NIEHS funding to assess personal environmental exposure using wristbands in disadvantaged communities.

Michael Behrenfeld will lead a NASA-funded research project investigating phytoplankton blooms—the foundation of the marine food web. He will test the idea that warming oceans will have previously-unforeseen impacts on marine ecosystems.

Bruce Mate is leading a new U.S. Navy-funded research project investigating the movements of whales and how marine life will be affected by current El Nino conditions.

Robert Tanguay received an EPA grant to conduct the first-ever comprehensive in vivo toxicity studies of flame retardants using the zebrafish model.

Hong Liu collaborated with a major brewing company in Portland to use fuel cells to clean wastewater and produce electricity. Her research, which began as a BEST award, is being extended with an NSF grant.

Pankaj Jaiswal, with NSF funding and international co-investigators, is developing a common semantic framework for the ever-expanding array of sequenced plant genomes and phenotype data, called the Planteome Project.

Like the research itself, research funding came from a broad range of agencies, including: USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture; US Environmental Protection Agency; National Institutes for Environmental Health; National Science Foundation; U.S. Agency for International Development; USDA Agricultural Research Service; US Forest Service; and several industry and commodity groups.

Several AgSci faculty members received grants of $1 million or more:

  • Hillary Egna (AquaFish Innovation Lab): USAID grant forthe Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Aquaculture & Fisheries; $4,000,000.
  • Jeff Chang (BPP): USDA NIFA grant for Unburdening US nurseries: Integrating new technologies and innovative approaches to manage broad host range, gall-forming bacterial diseases; $2,977,880.
  • Jim Myers (HORT): USDA NIFA grant for Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Cooperative (NOVIC) II; $1,971,063.
  • Pankaj Jaiswal (BPP):  NSF grant to study Common Reference Ontologies and Applications for Plant Biology; $1,306,202.
  • Dan Roby (F&W): Grant County Public Utility District grant to evaluate Foraging Behavior, Colony Connectivity, and Predation on ESA-Listed Salmonids from the Upper Columbia River by Caspian Terns Nesting on Goose Island in Potholes Reservoir; $1,244,000.
  • Katie Dugger (F&W): USDA Forest Service grant to study the demography of Northern Spotted Owls in Oregon and Washington; $1,196,528.       
  • David Stone (EMT): Environmental Protection Agency grant for the National Pesticide Information Center; $1,000,000.

Several AgSci faculty received grants of $500,000 or more:

  • Garry Stephenson (CSS): USDA NIFA grant for Successfully Navigating the First Ten Years: Education Targeting Farm Developmental Stages to Achieve Profitability and Environmental Sustainability
  • Pankaj Jaiswal (BPP): Cold Spring Harbor Lab grant to study Gramene: Exploring Function Through Comparative Genomics and Network Analysis         
  • Joey Spatafora (BPP): NSF grant for Collaborative Research: The Zygomycetes Genealogy of Life (ZyGoLife) - the conundrum of Kingdom Fungi
  • Bruce Mate (F&W): U.S. Navy grant for Baleen (Blue & Fin) Whale Tagging in Southern California in Support of Marine Mammal Monitoring Across Multiple Navy Training Areas
  • Robert Tanguay (EMT): EPA grant to study System toxicological approaches to define flame retardant adverse outcome pathways    
  • Dan Roby (F&W): BPA/DOE grant to study Avian Predation on Juvenile Salmonids in the Lower Columbia River 
  • Michael Behrenfeld (BPP): NASA grant for Global ocean phytoplankton carbon and physiology with MODIS-Aqua      
  • Larry Lev (AppEcon): USDA NIFA grant for Beyond fresh and direct: Exploring specialty food market opportunities for small and medium-sized farms    
  • Susan Capalbo (AppEcon): UIDX grant to study Approaches to Climate Change for Pacific Northwest Agriculture
  • Kate Field (BRR): UWXX grant for System for Advanced Biofuels Production from Woody Biomass in the Pacific Northwest

The College of Agricultural Sciences serves Oregon, a state with remarkable diversity in agriculture, natural resources, ecosystems, and communities. With faculty stationed across the state and working around the world, the college is well positioned to address local and global challenges through the following areas of excellence:

Sustainable food and agricultural systems: While Oregon is a global leader in food production, the college leadsresearch in sustainable and profitable agricultural systems leading to improved, value-added agricultural and seafood products to keep Oregon competitive.

Water quality, quantity, and marine resources: As the global population continues to grow, competition increases for fresh water and marine resources. The college is an important part of OSU’s Marine Studies Initiative and leadsresearch in freshwater, coastal, and marine resource management, and water use efficiency in Oregon’s diverse ecosystems.

Environmental and human well-being: Oregon’s high quality of life requires confidence that the food supply is safe and that air and water are clean. The college leads development of innovative technologies that protect human and environmental health, and science that informs public policy toward creating a healthier world.

Integrated systems biology: Understanding the basic building blocks of life is essential to sustaining agriculture, natural resources, and human health. The college leads revolutionary new approaches to understanding the function of those building blocks, from fundamental genomics to integrated cells, organisms, and ultimately ecosystems.

Natural resource stewardship: Oregon has exceptional natural resources that support both our economy and our quality of life. The college leads the nation in programs in fisheries, wildlife, and range management, and is internationally known for work in the sustainability of managed landscapes, natural resources, and the world’s oceans.

Dan Arp; Bill Boggess
Published Date: 
September 4, 2015