Spring 2021

Volume XII, Issue 2

From the Dean

As we near the end of the academic year, I am proud to reflect upon our past few months and the great accomplishments we’ve made as a college. Our faculty, staff, students and extended family of alumni and other supporters have truly stepped up to make the close of the 2020-2021 academic year a success. 

You all dug deep and gave big on Dam Proud Day — more than $67,000 to support student success. A special thank you to Ken Munson, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Tillamook County Creamery Association, and the E.R Jackman Friends and Alumni for providing matching gifts that helped us lead the University as the college raising the most funds..

Further, our college was once again ranked 9th in the US and 19th in the world for agricultural sciences and forestry. And we had a number of faculty receive prestigious honors this past term as Fellows with the International  Society for Horticulture Science, the Society for Freshwater Science, the American Society for Nutrition, and the Institute of Food Technologists.

We also launched Cultivating Change — a student club for LGBTQ+ students and their allies in agricultural sciences. This is only the fifth such university club to be launched in the nation and the first west of the Mississippi River.

And most recently, we introduced the next chapter in the Beaver Classic story with a new online store featuring cheese, meat and honey developed by students as part of their experiential learning. The future of Beaver Classic is exciting and will include other products such as produce, nursery plants and beer. We will also have the opportunity to integrate agribusiness students to run the operations and marketing. It is a truly powerful student-led program with immense opportunity and potential.

We also published our 2020 Annual Report, which details even more of the incredible impact our faculty, staff, and students have made in Oregon and beyond. 

As I reflect upon these accomplishments, I do so with tremendous hope and enthusiasm for our future. I am greatly humbled to lead such a phenomenal organization.

Enjoy this latest installment of The Source and in doing so, I invite you to join me in embracing our mission to make tomorrow better.

Alan Sams
Reub Long Professor and Dean
College of Agricultural Sciences
Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station

2020 Annual Report

For more than 150 years, we have stood at the crossroads of conservation and production, innovating new ways to advance the future of agriculture and natural resources.

We partner with industries and communities each day to help the economy and all people thrive.

2020 presented unprecedented challenges. And with those challenges, unprecedented opportunities.

Now more than ever, we are committed to our tireless pursuit to make tomorrow better.

Beaver Classic: online store for cheese, honey, jerky

We introduced the next chapter in the Beaver Classic story with a new online store featuring cheese, meat and honey developed by students as part of their experiential learning. The future of Beaver Classic is exciting and will include other products such as produce, nursery plants and beer. We will also have the opportunity to integrate agribusiness students to run the operations and marketing. It is a truly powerful student-led program with immense opportunity and potential.

OSU's Pacific Storm

The R/V Pacific Storm is an 84-foot OA steel-hulled research vessel with a 24-foot beam that is outfitted for year-round coastal service. The vessel can accommodate up to 7 people (beyond the crew) in 3 cabins for overnight and extended science missions up to 30 days duration.

The Pacific Storm was a commercial trawler gifted to the Marine Mammal Institute. It has been extensively refitted for research by private donations. Nearly all vessel upgrades and maintenance were undertaken in Newport, Oregon, by Curry Marine, Yaquina Boat Equipment, and 52 other local businesses.

Dam Proud Day

You all dug deep and gave big on Dam Proud Day — more than $67,000 to support student success. A special thank you to Ken Munson, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Tillamook County Creamery Association, and the E.R Jackman Friends and Alumni for providing matching gifts that helped us lead the University as the college raising the most funds..

Recent News

North Atlantic's capacity to absorb CO2 overestimated, study suggests

satellite image

“We have found a misconception. It will definitely impact the model of carbon flows,” said OSU microbiologist Steve Giovannoni. “It will require more than just a small tweak.”

OSU releases new, antioxidant-rich purple tomato

Jim Myers with Midnight Roma purple tomato. Photo by Jim Myers.

The new Oregon State University-developed tomato Midnight Roma follows in the steps of 10-year-old Indigo Rose, the first antioxidant-rich purple tomato available on the market.

As lumber prices skyrocket, Oregon State professor develops method to predict future price changes

lumber mill

At a time when lumber prices are skyrocketing, an Oregon State University researcher has developed a new way to predict the future price of logs that uses readily accessible economic information.

Researcher uses electricity to zap weeds

An electric weed control unit, attachedt to a tractor, in use during the first practice phase of research

Marcelo Moretti, OSU assistant professor of horticulture, in partnership with area hazelnut and blueberry growers, is testing a novel means of killing weeds — he’s zapping them with high-voltage electricity.

Researchers study public comments on orca conservation to aid future protection efforts

Courtesy of Dr. Brandon Southall, NMFS/OPR

Oregon State University researchers analyzed more than 17,000 public comments focused on orca conservation in the state of Washington and found that the most common emotional sentiments were trust, anticipation and fear.

OSU’s Lubchenco joins White House to lead climate and environment initiatives

Jane Lubchenco, the University Distinguished Professor and Advisor in Marine Studies at Oregon State University.

Oregon State University Distinguished Professor Jane Lubchenco will lead climate and environmental science efforts in the White House as the new deputy director of climate and environment in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Development policy decisions will affect coastal communities’ risk more than climate change

Neskowin rip-rap, photo by Steve Dundas

Coastal communities face increasing danger from rising water and storms, but the level of risk will be more closely tied to policy decisions regarding development than the varying conditions associated with climate change, new research by Oregon State University suggests.

Partial shade from solar panels increase abundance of flowers in late summer

solar panels and flowers

A new study by College of Agricultural Sciences researchers found that shade provided by solar panels increased the abundance of flowers under the panels and delayed the timing of their bloom, both findings that could aid the agricultural community.

Warm water has overlooked importance for cold-water fish, like salmon and trout, study finds

Arctic grayling in ephemerally warm lake outlet, Little Togiak River, Alaska. Credit: Jonny Armstrong.

This implicitly devalues areas that are seasonally warm, even if they are suitable for fish most of the year, said Jonny Armstrong, lead author of the paper and an ecologist in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. He called this a “potentially severe blind spot for climate change adaptation.”

Sounds like home: Murrelets choose breeding locations by eavesdropping on other murrelets

Marbled murrelet, photo by Brett Lovelace, OSU

The research by scientists in the OSU College of Forestry and College of Agricultural Sciences is important because the elusive seabird’s populations are in decline and recovery may be hindered by there being too few birds around to provide information to each other about where to nest.

Tiny scoops of water are unlocking worlds of information about Oregon watersheds

Research fish biologist Brooke Penaluna collects water samples from the Santiam River's south fork east of Cascadia, Ore., Wednesday, March 10, 2021.

Now, biologists are taking the science a step further. Scientists with Oregon State University and the Forest Service recently demonstrated they can use eDNA to analyze the genetic diversity of threatened salmon and trout, which can help us understand how they will adapt to climate change and other threats.

Searching for the most elusive bird in the Northwest

Field technicians measure the captured marbled murrelets, assess their health and take genetic samples before attaching small radio transmitters and releasing the birds.

“They are a species that, because they’re so challenging to study, we just don’t have really good information on them,” said Jim Rivers, an assistant professor of wildlife ecology at Oregon State University. “And that hinders their conservation and also hinders planning for timber management of our coastal forests, which are really key to Oregon’s economy.”

Dogs and Kids Are 'In Sync,' Study Shows

dog licking child

"The great news is that this study suggests dogs are paying a lot of attention to the kids that they live with," said study author Monique Udell, an animal behaviorist and associate professor at Oregon State University. "They are responsive to them and, in many cases, behaving in synchrony with them, indicators of positive affiliation and a foundation for building strong bonds."

3D Scanning Tech Developed For Space Station Can Help Feed People On Earth

Travis Tubbs

He’s a professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado who teaches in the Biology Department and conducted his research at Oregon State University. Space Force is part of the Air Force. Tubbs came across the Artec Space Spider while looking for ways to study ryegrass and early seed shattering. “I was literally going to build my own camera system to make this work,” he says.

Low-level thinning can help restore redwood forests without affecting stream temperatures

Giant Coastal Salamander

Selectively cutting trees in riparian zones to aid forest restoration can be done without adversely affecting streams' water temperature as long as the thinning isn't too intensive, new research by Oregon State University shows. The study led by OSU College of Agricultural Sciences graduate student David Roon is one of the few to quantify restorative thinning's effects on forest streams.

Experts chosen to create Oregon’s new system of psilocybin-assisted therapy

Jessie Uehling, an assistant professor of fungal biology at Oregon State University, was chosen for his knowledge of mushrooms. “My expertise in fungal diversity and biology research will aide in developing best practices to monitor, evaluate and quantify the psilocybin and mushroom production industries over time,” said Uehling. Another link https://www.oregon.gov/newsroom/pages/NewsDetail.aspx?newsid=54355

New insights into close encounters between albatross and fishing vessels could reduce bycatch risk

Short-tailed albatross in the North Pacific Ocean. Photo by Robert Suryan.

“It is hard to conceptualize how often birds encounter vessels in the open ocean, but with this new data, it becomes really apparent,” said Rachael Orben, an assistant professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and the study’s lead author. “Some of these birds are in an environment where they see vessels all the time, while others are in an environment where they rarely encounter vessels.”

US university undertaking research into benefits of feeding cattle hemp biomass

Oregon State University was awarded a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study the potential of hemp biomass as cattle feed. The project aims to develop safe use practices for hemp byproducts in livestock diets and determine ways to take full advantage of their nutritional and potential medicinal properties to improve animal health. The grant is from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). In addition to the hemp biomass grant, OSU also earned a $300,000 NIFA grant to study farm sanitation practices.

After 40 years, new fish species in OSU Ichthyology Collection named by students on Guam

Paraliparis kadadakaleguak

Four decades after their capture more than a half-mile below the ocean’s surface, three snailfish species have received their scientific names, two of them from school children on Guam in the island’s native Chamorro language.

$1.25 million in chlorpyrifos alternatives funding clears initial Oregon hurdle

tractor spraying a field

Under House Bill 3249, the state’s Department of Agriculture would receive $800,000 to establish a grant program for chlorpyrifos alternatives research, while Oregon State University would get $400,000 to conduct field trials of replacement pesticides.

Selina Heppell featured on Northwest Nature Matters Podcast

Great conversation with Selina Heppell, the Chair of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at OSU. Selina discusses her research, describes her department's strategy for the future, and reflects on better ways to attract, train, inspire, and support the next generation of wildlife professionals. 

Combining solar panels and lamb grazing increases land productivity

sheeps and solar panels

Land productivity could be greatly increased by combining sheep grazing and solar energy production on the same land, according to new research by Oregon State University scientists.

Monitor to support non-invasive ventilation of COVID-19 patients launches with help from OSU researcher

PEEP-Alert System Image

“As we have all seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are limitations with ventilators,” said John Selker, an Oregon State professor who helped develop the device. “That has led to a lot of interest in helmets as a low-cost and less invasive alternative, particularly in medically underserved parts of the world. This device brings us closer to that reality.”

Pollinator-focused solar parks

solar panels and flowers

This is the main conclusion of the study “Partial shading by solar panels delays bloom, increases floral abundance during the late-season for pollinators in a dryland, agrivoltaic ecosystem,” recently published in scientific reports, in which scientists from the Oregon State University have investigated if coupling PV with the habitat for wild and managed pollinators can help increase biodiversity and agricultural health.

A cold soak lowers the risk of salmonella growth on ‘sprouted’ foods

Grains, seeds and nuts that have been soaked in cold water. Photo by Joy Waite-Cusic, Oregon State University

Soaking “sprouted” foods in cold water, rather than the more common practice of soaking at ambient temperature, lowers the risk of salmonella growth on these increasingly popular healthy snack foods, according to an OSU study.

Sweet water and bubbly beer

H2O --- D2O

Paul Hughes, a professor of brewing and distilling, contends that the volume of bubbles is another important factor. The larger the bubbles, Hughes says, the better the foam. “My take is that for reliable foam formation and stabilities, homogeneous bubble size and consistent glass surfaces are the key,” Hughes tells Newscripts.

Drought may hurt honey bees; experts say cover crops could help

Andony Melathopoulos

"Colonies are probably going to do really well this spring," said Andony Melathopoulos, pollinator health specialist at OSU Extension. "There's enough moisture in the ground and a lot of things are still blooming. Where the rubber will hit the road — and it always does, it's getting worse and worse — is when blackberries stop blooming around the end of June.

Tracing Agrobacterium


Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their Oregon State University (OSU) collaborators have developed a highly detailed genetic way to trace the spread of Agrobacterium, one of the world's most important bacterial plant pathogens.

OSU Update

Oregon State Board of Trustees names Becky Johnson interim president

Becky Johnson

The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Friday voted unanimously to name Rebecca “Becky” Johnson as the university’s interim president.

Oregon State University given gold designation for sustainability for 10th time

Oregon State University continues to lead in sustainability efforts among university campuses and has received a “gold” designation from a leading higher education sustainability group.

Former Oregon State President Edward J. Ray will be the 2021 commencement speaker

Ed Ray

Edward J. Ray, who led a dynamic transformation at Oregon State University during 17 years of service as its president, will deliver the commencement address for OSU’s Corvallis campus during the commencement event to be held virtually on June 12 in compliance with current health guidelines.

OSU to recognize Juneteenth as a university holiday


Oregon State University said it will recognize Juneteenth as a university holiday on June 18, underscoring the university’s commitment to leading change and dismantling systemic racism.

Oregon State plans for predominately in-person instruction this fall

OSU Campus

Oregon State University President F. King Alexander announced that planning for a more traditional fall term is underway within OSU, anticipating predominately in-person instruction and on-site university services and programs statewide.

Oregon State Board of Trustees approves tuition and fees for 2021-22 school year

OSU Student

The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Friday approved tuition rates and fees for the 2021-22 school year, including a 2.5% increase for returning undergraduate students and a 4% increase for new undergraduate students enrolling at the university.

Awards and Accolades

#9 in the US + #19 in the world

PROUD to announce that OSU AgSci has come in at #9 in the US and #19 in the world for our college!

Dr. Shawn Mehlenbacher is among the 2021 class of ASHS Fellows

It’s our great pleasure to announce that Dr. Shawn Mehlenbacher is among the 2021 class of ASHS Fellows.

Ryan Contreras

Congratulations to Dr. Ryan Contreras for being appointed Associate Department Head of Horticulture. Thanks for your service!

Chad Finn, Bernadine Strik, and Shawn Mehlenbacher

The International Society for Horticultural Science recently announced that 3 faculty from OSU have been selected as Fellows:

Chad Finn (posthumous)-Plant Geneticist

Bernadine Strik-Professor, NWREC Berry Crops Research Leader

Shawn Mehlenbacher-Professor, Hazelnut Breeding and Genetics

Judy Li

The Society for Freshwater Science announced that Judy Li, retired associate professor in Fisheries and Wildlife, has been selected as a fellow.

Li’s research interests focused on riparian food webs, and recently she has written several books to encourage the understanding of science by lay audiences.

2 new ARCS Foundation Scholar Awards

Two new ARCS Foundation Scholar Awards for 20-21

The Beth Ray Scholar Award Endowment has been awarded by the Graduate School to a scholar in Toxicology, Rebecca Hoehn. In addition, the Sheila and Mike Goodwin University Matched Endowment will fund an award via the Oregon State University Foundation to someone in the Marine Mammal Institute. This brings the total of ARCS-supported awards for 2021-2022 to Four! ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter

Lisbeth Goddik, PhD & Christina A. Mireles DeWitt, PhD

Lisbeth Goddik, PhD & Christina A. Mireles DeWitt, PhD are elected as 2021IFT - Institute of Food Technologists Fellows. Congratulations on this amazing accomplishment.

Neil Shay has been inducted as a Fellow of the American Society for Nutrition which is the highest honor that the Society bestows recognizing individuals for significant discoveries and distinguished careers in the field of nutrition.


Boxing up Leadership

Le’Waski Watkins with his box from the Leadership Academy

When they received the official notice that fall 2020 classes would be entirely remote, Academy leadership had to quickly rethink how to offer a yearlong, cohort-based leadership program to 60 undergraduates via Zoom. It was important to explore new ways of connecting with the students, making them excited about the upcoming year. One way they accomplished this was by shipping an industry-sponsored welcome package to each student at the beginning of the term.

Students for Cultivating Change

Beaver Pride

“This club is an opportunity to acknowledge students who have always been a part of agriculture but perhaps never felt like they had a place that truly accepted them,” said Christina Walsh, one of the faculty advisors for the club and the student engagement coordinator for the College of Agricultural Sciences. “It’s exciting to witness the enthusiasm of students who feel like they finally have a home.”

I chose Rangeland Management, specifically wild horses and burros, because it is something I am passionate about. I have just begun my studies in my field and, while I have not yet done research or traveled, I look forward to it. I enjoy the rugged and natural aspect to horsemanship and the wildlands of the intermountain western landscapes. I believe that being outdoors and connecting with nature in a variety of aspects not only benefits a person physically, but also intimately from within.

EOU Student Awards


Student Awards from OSU’s Agriculture and Natural Resource Program at Eastern Oregon University.

Celebrating Excellence


The College of Agricultural Sciences will host the 2021 Celebrating Excellence Event virtually this year on May 20, 2021.

Aaron Anderson selected a AAAS Mass media fellow

Aaron Anderson

OSU PhD candidate, Aaron Anderson, was selected a AAAS Mass media fellow. This highly competitive fellowship draws hundreds of applications each year, for less than 30 slots. Aaron heavily cites his work with Extension as turning him on to a career in science communication and science journalism.  He'll be the St. Louis Dispatch's science reporter, for 10 weeks this summer.

Continuing Undergraduate Research Program

The Agricultural Research Foundation sponsors the Continuing Undergraduate Research program in the College of Agricultural Sciences. The program provides funding for student wages and supplies and materials to allow students to gain additional research experience.  The program is designed to complement the Beginning Undergraduate Research program.  The Agricultural Research Foundation, in collaboration with Christina Walsh, Student Engagement Coordinator for the College, recently completed their review of this year’s round of applications.  Eleven proposals were selected for funding.  The diversity of student research projects was impressive and included examining the stomach contents of invasive bullfrogs, investigating the culinary traits of edible dahlias, calibrating a thyroid test for llamas, studying the impacts of spent hemp biomass as feedstock on reproduction in animals, and determining the role of proline in bacterial plant diseases.  In addition to providing research opportunities for the eleven undergraduates, the work is relevant to and will have impact on Oregon’s agriculture, food and natural resources.

Oregon State University’s Agriculture and Natural Resource Program @ Eastern Oregon University

2020-21 students awards:

  • OSU Outstanding Student Award:  Abigail Berhorst
  • EOU Outstanding Student Award:  Nathaniel Odegaard
  • Sean Sullivan Memorial Scholarship:  Angelica Bouska, Kaitlyn Jones, Emma Combe and Mitch VanDomelen

2021-22 Ambassadors are:

  • Elizabeth Hanson, Agricultural Sciences
  • Savannah Moe, Agricultural Sciences
  • Victoria Reynolds, Agricultural Sciences
  • Deidre Schreiber, Agricultural Sciences

Reaching Out

Fall in love with colorful, dazzling dahlias

Colorful, diverse dahlias can be addictive. Photo by Julie Moore.

Pompoms, collarettes, mignons, waterlilies: The names are as colorful as the blooms they describe.

No room for vegetables? Pot up your plants

It's possible to have a vegetable garden in pots. Photo from Flickr by Wendy Cutler

There are some dwarf and miniature varieties of vegetables, such as Thumbelina carrots or other baby vegetables that work particularly well in small confines.

OSU Extension’s statewide network encourages participation in vaccinations

Deschutes County Extension

From the Oregon Coast to the eastern rangelands, the Oregon State University Extension Service is collaborating to build knowledge, confidence and participation in COVID-19 vaccinations.

OSU Extension gives away seeds for Grow This! Garden Challenge

Seed Packets

Almost 38,000 free seed packets will be distributed by Oregon State University Extension Service to Oregonians who show no signs of losing the enthusiasm for gardening generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oregon State University looks to help address mental health in farming, ranching

Oregon State University looks to help address mental health in farming, ranching

More and more farmers are struggling with mental health. That is why Oregon State University has launched a new online resource, called "The Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network," or Farm-SAN for short. Between the weather, commodity prices, and other issues, there is a lot of isolation in agriculture, and it is normal for producers to feel down. 

Think Before Touching Baby Birds

nest wtih baby birds

It depends on how old they are, how long they’ve been on the ground and whether they are injured, said Dana Sanchez, Oregon State University Extension Service wildlife specialist. Identifying the age of a bird is crucial in how you deal with one. The youngest are newly hatched fledglings and should not be without their parents. Older nestlings, on the other hand, are better-equipped to spend time out of the nest. 


Advancing the future of agriculture and natural resources

Farm of the Future

Solar Array

Powering sustainable agriculture

Hope for the Honey Bee

Honey Bee

An Overview of Research in the OSU Honey Bee Lab

Hope to an End of Pointing Fingers Across the Klamath Basin


New research may finally determine exactly what is causing water quality issues in the region

Art: Inspired by Science

Featured artwork: Tara Kemp, The Flower Vendor, 2020, Oil, 20” x 24”.

The 38th annual Art About Agriculture Competition and Touring Exhibition presents a remarkable selection of artworks by Oregon artists that draw inspiration from food, fiber, and natural resources.

In reflecting on the numerous challenges of 2020, the Art About Agriculture program decided to create an open call for art that felt inclusive to all expressions of agriculture in artistry. This year’s theme is simple: art about agriculture.

Artists were presented with prompts to inspire expanded evaluation of agriculture in their art, as well as articles highlighting the College of Agricultural Sciences’ exciting research and significant industry collaborations from 2020. The open call received an astounding 341 submissions of art from 105 artists.

Although the open call was available to all artists living in the Pacific Northwest, the five member blind jury of art and agriculture professionals coincidentally selected all Oregon artists. The 55 artworks by 45 artists feature topics ranging from seafood and scenic landscapes to family farms and farmer’s markets. Quite a few artists also contributed powerful reflections on last year’s wildfires.

Mediums on display will include acrylic and oil painting, watercolor, drawing, mixed media, collage, printmaking, photography, textile art, sculpture, glass, and artist’s book.

Public Viewing (pending COVID-19 considerations)

June 4 – July 28:  Giustina Gallery at The LaSells Stewart Center, Oregon State University

August 3 – September 30: Parrish Gallery at Chehalem Cultural Center, Newberg

Friends & Alumni

Duck, duck, goose: World-renowned waterfowl breeder retires

Dave Holderread hods a Silver Appleyard Duck

As a young man, Holderread considered becoming a pilot or wildlife biologist, but eventually chose to study horticulture, animal science and poultry science at Oregon State University.

Scholarship Provides Support for Agricultural Education

Gordon Gwynne (Bud) Galbraith

Agricultural education is vital to the heart of the great state of Oregon and to the entire nation.  As the old saying goes, without agriculture we would be naked and hungry.

In Memoriam

Gale Gingrich

Gale Gingrich

Gale Gingrich, who served 32 years as an Oregon State University Extension agent, donated countless hours to industry causes and is a former Oregon Seed Council Seedsman of the Year, died unexpectedly from heart failure April 17 in Salem. He was 77.

The College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University is Oregon's principal source of knowledge relating to agricultural and food systems, and a major source of knowledge regarding environmental quality, natural resources, life sciences, and rural economies and communities worldwide. The College provides undergraduate and graduate education leading to baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and extended education programs throughout Oregon and beyond. Its research programs create knowledge to solve problems and to build a knowledge base for the future. It is a source of information and expertise in integrating and applying knowledge with benefits that are felt in domestic and international settings.