Winter 2022

Volume XIII, Issue 1

From the Dean

The Winter 2022 issue of The Source is bittersweet. As my last opportunity as the dean to share thoughts about the most recent accomplishments and news from the College, I continue to be inspired by the people who are invested in the shared vision to make tomorrow better.

The top 1% of globally cited researchers were announced by Clarivate at the end of 2021 and two out of the four Oregon State researchers recognized were from the College of Agricultural Sciences. And two members of the College leadership team, Staci Simonich and Lisa Ballance, were appointed as fellows to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Other research highlights of the past few months include findings from the Global Hemp Innovation Center which showed hemp compounds can prevent coronavirus from entering human cells. And in attention-grabbing news, our scientists worked with Super Bowl XXVII MVP Troy Aikman to launch a low-calorie beer.

We also filled two important positions, Dr. Surendra Dara was named the new director of the North Willamette Research and Extension Center and Dr. Yanyun Zhao was named the Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs.

Our extension efforts also made important impacts with new grants to strengthen Oregon’s food systems and in-person teaching has continued safely as staff and students remained diligent in caring for themselves and others.

These recent accomplishments serve as enduring examples of the impressive work that is done here every day, as evidenced in our newly published 2021 annual report.

As I step down from my position as Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences I do so with immense pride in the people and projects that I’ve seen advance in my time here. And while I will be in another state leading another institution, I will continue to watch with great enthusiasm and pride as the College continues to make an impact in the state, nation and world.

Go Beavs.

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


2021 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.

While 2021 continued to present challenges, it also revealed new opportunities.

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

Read Report

Southern Oregon Research & Extension Center

In southern Oregon, a new generation of small-scale farmers works shoulder to shoulder with established orchards and start-up wineries. The Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center (SOREC) provides research-based programs for this active and growing community as they constantly reinvent the agricultural possibilities of the fertile Rogue Valley.

Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center

Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center (EOARC) is a cooperative research effort between Oregon State University and USDA-ARS (Agricultural Research Service) focusing on rangeland ecology and restoration of wildlands, environmentally compatible livestock systems, forage crops, and alternative livestock systems in the sagebrush-steppe of the Great Basin and inland coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest. The Center's research program is unique in the integration of research about beef cattle, rangeland, wildlife, watershed, and forest management.

The OSU Statewides Legislative Funding Request

During the 2021 legislative session, OSU’s Statewide Public Service Programs (also known as the “OSU Statewides”) did not receive their full-service level funding request from the state. This has resulted in a $2.2 million budget shortfall for the entire Statewides program, of which $1.7 million specifically impacting the Agricultural Experiment Station.

Without action, this lack of funding equates to a loss of essential scientists, Extension educators and a reduction of critical agricultural research across the state.

That is why OSU and a diverse coalition of 40 agricultural stakeholders are asking for the remaining $2.2 million in operational funding for the OSU Statewides during the 2022 legislative session. This investment will keep OSU at the forefront of bringing the latest science and technology to bear on the issues facing Oregonians and ensuring sustainable food, forest products, environment, and communities for the future.

But we need your help to make sure legislators hear the message loud and clear! The Beaver Caucus has made it easy to reach out to your Representative and Senator in Salem with a message in support of fully funding the OSU Statewides. Please your legislators a message today to make sure they keep the OSU Statewides at the top of mind during the 2022 legislative session.

Research being done in a stream

College to develop a Strategic Action Plan for Inclusive Excellence

Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences has convened a committee to develop a Strategic Action Plan for Inclusive Excellence. Over the next 12 months, the committee has been charged by the Deans office to:

  • Write a strategic action plan to improve opportunities and outcomes for underrepresented students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders of the College;
  • Develop the action plan in consultation with the faculty, staff, students, stakeholders, and Climate Diversity and Inclusion Task Force in the college, as well as with the Office of Institutional Diversity (OID);
  • Uphold the principles and practices of the CARE Commitment document; and
  • Align the Action Plan with OSU’s Innovate and Integrate: Plan for Inclusive Excellence.

There will be multiple opportunities for CAS faculty, staff, students, stakeholders, and community members to provide input on the plan, and to share their vision for an equitable and inclusive college, that provides opportunities and promotes a sense of belonging at OSU.

The strategic action planning committee was formed in February 2022, and is co-chaired by Staci Simonich, Associate Executive Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Gail Langellotto, Professor of Horticulture and Extension Specialist. Committee members include diverse roles, academic disciplines, locations, expertise, and perspectives of the broader CAS community. (Read more)

Staci Simonich and Lisa Ballance

Oregon State researchers receive distinction of AAAS fellow. (Read More)


Surendra Dara in cauliflower field

Dr. Surendra Dara Named New Director of the North Willamette Research and Extension Center. (Read more)

Recent News

Giant hornets still a concern for Oregon

Oregon State University Pollinator Health Extension Specialist Andony Melathopoulos prefers to call the stinging insects by their less sensationalized name: giant Asian hornets.

Warm-water habitat ‘pays the bills,’ allowing cold-water fish to fuel up

Redband trout

New research shows that warm-water habitats can be critically important for the survival of cold-water fish such as trout and salmon.

OSU Extension Small Farms Program will use grants to strengthen Oregon’s food systems

Two Oregon State University Extension Service Small Farms program projects have been awarded U.S. Department of Agriculture grants totaling more than $800,000 to strengthen the viability of Oregon’s small and mid-scale farms and food businesses.

OSU research counteracts effects of nitrogen in agricultural runoff

Oregon State University’s Dr. Frank Chaplen and Ph.D. student Elsie W. are currently working on research that may offer a promising solution. Their work takes advantage of naturally occurring denitrifiers, a type of bacteria that convert nitrogen from one form to another. 

Why Are There So Many Kinds of Phytoplankton?

Considering what the world looks like to a plankton offers a new path to solving the paradox of the plankton.

Researchers aim to turn seafood byproducts into source of nutrition

OSU has received a $333,777 grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research to study whether protein from byproducts such as fish heads, bones and skin left over after processing can be recovered and used as an ingredient in food or dietary supplements.

Peruvian Farmers Threatened by Water Stress

“There is a real danger that Traditional Knowledge, such as crop rotation and drought adaptation, will be lost and the city will be less resilient,” said Abigail Tomasek, a geoengineer at Oregon State University in Corvallis. 

Research study cause for mule deer decline

Mule deer

The study included collaring a sampling of carnivores, monitoring deer and elk kill sites via game cameras and analyzing scat to determine what predators living within the 40-square-mile experimental forest and range were eating.

Benefits of Tillamook Bay wetlands restoration extend far beyond the scope of initial project, report finds

A 443-acre tidal wetland habitat restoration project in Oregon’s Tillamook Bay designed to reduce flooding and improve salmon habitat also brought a host of other socioeconomic benefits to the community, a new report from Oregon State University researchers shows.

Troy Aikman taps OSU beer chemists to launch low-calorie beer

The former Super Bowl XXVII MVP spent two years developing and researching the beer-making process and partnered with Oregon State University's Food and Science Technology Department to pore over his pour options.

Seafood lab researchers aim to make more food from fish

Christina A. Mireles DeWitt, Director of the OSU Seafood Lab, teaching OSU Food Science students how to smell levels of fish decomposition. Photo by Lynn Ketchum.

At the Oregon State University Seafood Lab in Astoria, researchers are hard at work to change how fish waste is used, with the help of a grant from a national food and agriculture research foundation. 

Meet some of Oregon’s most recognizable gray whales via new OSU website

Oregon resident gray whale Scarlett is seen here with her calf Rose on her back. Photo courtesy the Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna Laboratory at Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute. Image taken under NOAA/NMFS permit #21678.

“We wanted to share with Oregonians, and the public in general, the stories of these whales because they are residents of Oregon like us, and they have personalities and stories to tell,” said Leigh Torres, principal investigator at OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute. “These whales have interesting lives that we’ve learned a lot about over the years through our research.”

Oregon State scientists identify new genus and species of legume, now mysteriously extinct

Oregon State University researchers have described a new legume tree from flowers embedded in several lumps of amber recovered from deep within an amber mine in the mountains of the Dominican Republic.

Growing Plants—And Providing Solar Energy


OSU's Chad Higgins sat down with Science Friday to discuss Agrivoltaics, a way to grow plants and provide solar energy at the same time.

Oregon State research shows hemp compounds prevent coronavirus from entering human cells

Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, and collaborators, including scientists at Oregon Health & Science University, found that a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.

Decreasing development on forest and agricultural land partly driven by gas prices, study finds

Houses abutting forest in Corvallis, Ore. Credit: Sean Nealon

Researchers from Oregon State University, Montana State University and the U.S. Forest Service found that falling gas prices and, to a lesser extent, rising income levels, drove land development from 1982 to 2000.

New Group Provides ‘Voice’ for Women in Meat Industry

Woman butcher

“It is a male-dominated industry, and it has been for a long time,” OSU Professor Carol Lorenzen told The Food Institute. “Women want to be successful, but there are barriers.”

Orcas found to kill blue whales, the largest animals on Earth, for first time

Courtesy of Dr. Brandon Southall, NMFS/OPR

“This is the biggest predation event on this planet: the biggest apex predator taking down the biggest prey,” says study co-author Robert Pitman, a marine ecologist at OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute. “We don’t have dinosaurs anymore, so for me as a whale biologist and a zoologist it’s an amazing thing.”

World of Haystack Rock Library Lecture Series 2022

Salmon Shark

On Feb. 9 at 7 p.m., Friends of Haystack Rock presents Taylor Chapple, “The Science of Sharks: Meeting the Predator Next Door,”  presented on Facebook Live, @Friends of Haystack Rock.

Oregon State hemp vs. COVID researcher thinks preclinical trials will happen in ‘next few months’

Ruth Muchiri and Richard van Breemen

Preclinical research involves using cell cultures and/or animal models to test the safety and efficacy of a new drug candidate, Richard van Breemen explained.

Cost and lack of ingredients holds back 3D printing’s potential for at-home customized food and nutrition

3D Printer for food

3D printing could unlock custom textures, flavors and nutritional content in foods, but cost, capacity and lack of printable ingredients is currently holding the technology back from taking over the market, according to a food expert.

By solving mystery, OSU researchers boost kombucha brewing industry

Maria Del Pilar Alessandri (left) and Kaylyn Kirkpatrick, then graduate students in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences, pose in front of bottles of INTEA Kombucha, a startup they founded based on OSU research.

Scientists in the College of Agricultural Sciences delved into the mysteries of SCOBY by using DNA sequencing and they found that there are four different types of SCOBY.

Oregon State researchers makes key advance in turning apple waste into packaging material

Yanyun Zhao, an Oregon State professor, conducts research that turns apple pomace into an environmentally friendly packaging material that could serve as an alternative to plastic.

Yanyun Zhao leads a research team focusing on sustainable food packaging and processing.  She has studied apple pomace and other byproducts from processing fruit and vegetable juice and winemaking as an alternative for recycled newspaper in molded pulp manufacturing.

West Coast Salmonids All Tired Out?

Car tire parked over a rainwater grate

The toxic preservative is not the only problem with tire wear particles, says Susanne Brander, an Oregon State University toxicologist and co-chair of a recent California Ocean Science Trust and Ocean Protection Council science advisory team on microplastics in marine ecosystems.

New map and report expose growing dangers along whale ‘superhighways’ across the globe

This graphic depicts a global view of blue corridors for whales, combining satellite tracking data from 845 tags from 50 researchers. Image courtesy the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

A comprehensive new map and report tracking whale migrations around the globe highlights where they go in the high seas and the cumulative impacts the animals face from industrial fishing, ship strikes, pollution, habitat loss and climate change.


OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences names Dr. Yanyun Zhao Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs

Surendra Dara in cauliflower field

Dr. Surendra Dara Named New Director of the North Willamette Research and Extension Center

Dr. Stuart Reitz

Dr. Stuart Reitz Named Interim Director for the Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center

Dr. Jeremiah Dung

Dr. Jeremiah Dung Named Interim Director for the Central Oregon Agricultural Research and Extension Center

OSU Update

One month in and Reser Stadium construction on schedule

Rendering of future Reser Stadium

Oregon State University is one month into the 153-million-dollar renovation of the west side of Reser Stadium and everything appears to be on schedule.

Oregon State Board of Trustees approves document that will guide search for next president

Kerr Administration Building

The board also heard an update on the national search that is underway and anticipates the selection of a new president to occur in late May.

Oregon State earns another top-5 national ranking for online education

computer, notepad and books

Oregon State University has been ranked one of the nation’s five best providers of online education for the fourth consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report, judged on the strength of its faculty and the distance learning opportunities they deliver.

Awards and Accolades

AAAS fellow

Lisa Ballance

Lisa Ballance, director of OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute and professor of fisheries, wildlife and conservation sciences, both within the College of Agricultural Sciences, was chosen for her contributions to the fields of ecology and behavior, particularly for her studies of biodiversity and ecosystem services, including marine mammals.

AAAS fellow

Staci Simonich

Staci Simonich is the executive associate dean and a professor of chemistry and environmental & molecular toxicology in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences, and was selected for her contributions to the fields of analytical and environmental chemistry, particularly for studying the chemical transformations and transport of organic compounds in the environment, as well as for her work in university administration.

Vaugh Walton and Markus Kleber

Clarivate Identifies the One in 1,000 Citation Elite with Annual Highly Cited Researchers List including our

Kirk Davies

Jonathan Bates and Kirk Davies were selected for major awards from the Society for Range Management


Mitigating Climate Change

Jessica Xu | 4th Year, Post-bacc | Environmental Economics and Policy | CAS Student Ambassador | OSU MANRRS Treasurer | Los Angeles, CA

Cultivating a Purpose

Samuel Hoefler | Agronomy, Crop and Soil Sciences | Meadville, PA | Head Grower at Prūf Cultivar | Transfer Student | Ecampus

Part of the Solution

Matthew Mehlschau | Agronomy, Crop and Soil Science | Minor in Agriculture and Food Business Management | Warrens Memorial Scholarship | Flanagan Scholarship | Jefferson, OR

MANRRS Club Profile

MANRRS student at a group meeting

The College of Agricultural Sciences is home to countless clubs and organizations that seek to aid students in their continued academic, professional, and personal growth. One of those clubs is MANRRS—Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences.

Researchers develop automated method to identify fish calls underwater

Hydrophone deployed in a tropical reef region within the National Park of American Samoa. Credit: Tim Clark/National Park Service.

Techniques to efficiently analyze data from hydrophones are not well developed. This new research led by Jill Munger when she was an undergraduate student, begins to change that. Munger came to Oregon State having worked more than 20 years in the corporate world.

Five FWCS Students Named Semi-Finalists for 22-23 Fulbright Program

FWCS Student doing reasearch

Five of the fifteen Oregon State University students and recent graduates that have been announced as semi-finalists for the 2022-2023 Fulbright U.S. Student Program are from Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences.

Congratulations to Stan, Jackie, Sage, Christina, and Jane!

Shaping Ash

Shaping Ash: Sprouting from the Ashes

Isabella Ruikis, an undergraduate student, is developing a podcast series with a Social Justice theme that describes survivor experiences during and following the Rogue Valley Alameda fires last year. 

Wildfire smoke’s impact on wine topic of Oregon State Science Pub talk

Cole Cerrato, a doctoral student at Oregon State University, studies the impact of smoke exposure on grapes at Oregon State University's Woodhall Vineyard. Photo: Sean Nealon.

The free Science Pub was run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on February 14th.  The event was broadcast on YouTube Live. Registration is required and can be completed at

New research on magnetite in salmon noses illuminates understanding of sensory mechanisms enabling magnetic perception across life

This theory is based on new evidence from nanoscopic magnetic material found within cells in the noses of salmon. The paper’s lead author is Renee Bellinger, who began the research as a doctoral student at Oregon State, completing her Ph.D. in fisheries science in 2014.

Reaching Out

Arborvitae stands tall as easy-care hedge

Arborvitae makes a good hedge. Photo by Kym Pokorny.

“Some people look down on arborvitae, but it fits in places that other things can’t,” said Neil Bell, a retired horticulturist for Oregon State University Extension Service. “And it’s about as low maintenance a plant as anything you can buy, if it’s sited correctly.”

OSU Extension statewide seed giveaway set to return for third year

Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge classroom kit. Photo by Laura LaMotte.

The Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge, Oregon State University Extension’s statewide seed giveaway, returns for a third year in 2022, featuring pollination-themed kits for educators and an enhanced partnership with the Oregon Potato Commission.

First RancHER program promotes women in beef

This webinar series in December was organized by Juliana Ranches, Assistant Professor and Beef Extension Specialist. This first edition of RancHER was developed to bring information to beef cattle producers by highlighting the work of talented women in the beef industry.

Love them or leave them: Fruit trees take plenty of work

Bagged applies help keep coddling moth at bay. Photo by Chris Branam.

People tend to have a love-hate relationship with their fruit trees. The fruit they love; the work they hate.

February is pruning time in Oregon: Here’s your gardening to-do list for winter

Produced by OSU Extension, each monthly calendar provides reminders of key garden chores, such as fertilizing, pest control, planting, and maintenance.

What are short-day and long-day plants?

Coneflowers are long-day plants. Photo by Ann Murphy.

It’s discouraging when your lettuce bolts or you can’t get your mum to bloom. There’s a reason for that, and it’s all about day length, which determines or how much light the plant gets.

Like diamonds, clay soils are forever

clay soil

Clay soils in the Willamette Valley are the result of geologic actions that took place during the end of the last ice age—some 10,000–14,000 years ago, said Linda Brewer.


Advancing the future of agriculture and natural resources

The Path We Think We Are On

Kourtney Lehman

I took my first step out of Cauthorn Hall into the crisp, cool morning. My boots dampened by the morning dew, my brain buzzing with curiosity surrounding the unknown adventures the next four years at Oregon State would bring. Like most college freshmen, I had no idea how this new chapter in life would progress. But I never could have imagined the chaos to come. 

Bring on the Butterfly Bush: Improving Invasive Plant Laws

Inspecting a butterfly bush

Butterfly bush is in such high demand that consumers at nurseries request it by name. This makes it a highly valuable crop in Oregon’s leading agricultural sector: the nursery and greenhouse industry—the first ag industry in Oregon to surpass $1 billion in annual farmgate value.

Generations of Growth

2021 Dean’s Dinner Award Recipients

Ag Sciences at Oregon State University is more than a college. It’s a community. A community made up of generations upon generations of students, graduates, faculty & staff, industry and stakeholders of all backgrounds, all bound by the common goal to make tomorrow better.

Art: Inspired by Science

The Sustainable Feast

Robert Schlegel, Crab, 2007. Acrylic on panel, 12” x 16”

The Sustainable Feast

Open Call

March 6, 2022 (Sunday) at 11:59pm: Application Deadline.

Touring Exhibition

May 10 – June 15: Giustina Gallery, The LaSells Stewart Center, Oregon State University.

July 1 – July 30: Crossroads Carnegie Art Center in Baker City, OR.

August 5 – September 30: Pacific Maritime Heritage Center in Newport, OR.

Featured artwork:  

Robert Schlegel, Crab, 2007. (detail) Acrylic on panel, 12” x 16”. 2007 Paul Lamb and Reese Lamb Memorial Art About Agriculture Purchase Award, sponsored by the Lamb Foundation and the College of Agricultural Sciences. 

In joyful remembrance of Robert Schlegel (1947-2021)

Tallmadge Doyle: Tidewaters

Tallmadge Doyle, Underwater Garden XXVIII, 2021. Woodcut, line etching, relief print, and India ink hand coloring on paper, 33” x 26”.

Tallmadge Doyle: Tidewaters

Strand Gallery:

January 18 – March 17, 2022
Open on Tuesdays, 11:30 – 1:00pm
Or by Appointment: (541) 737-5534


February 17, 2022
4:00 – 7:00pm, artist talk at 4:30pm*

*Proof of vaccination or negative COVID test with 72 hours is required for this event.
Face masks are currently required in all indoor spaces on OSU’s Campus

Featured art: Tallmadge Doyle, Underwater Garden XXVIII, 2021. (detail) Woodcut, line etching, relief print, and India ink hand coloring on paper, 33” x 26”.

Artist website:

Friends & Alumni

Oregon Potato Commission booth at OSU football game

Proud to partner with the Oregon Potato Commission in potato variety trials and other research, including the development of new breeds of potatoes. Especially exciting to join them in sharing the joy of potatoes while cheering on the Beaver football team!

As landscape architects, two Oregon women laid the groundwork for many of the Northwest’s enduring gardens

The Northwest Gardens of Lord and Schryver

During World War II, Schryver taught advanced landscape design at Oregon State University. They created welcoming parks, school yards and institutional campuses, and tamed wilderness such as the Breitenbush Hot Springs resort surrounded by the Willamette National Forest, said Valencia Libby, author of the new book, “The Northwest Gardens of Lord & Schryver” ($29.95, Oregon State University Press).

In Memoriam

Donald Lee Bennett

Donald Lee Bennett

May 8, 1933 — Nov. 16, 2021

Paul Heikkila

Paul Heikkila

April 5, 1946 – December 26, 2021

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.