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Desert & Shrub-steppe Ecology

Forestry Events - Wed, 08/31/2016 - 2:35pm
Wednesday, August 31, 2016 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

This class will focus on the history, ecology and management of grasslands, sagebrush, shrub-steppe and deserts of the Northern Basin and Range Ecoregion.

For more information, http://oregonmasternaturalist.org/basinrange

Organic Hispanic Farmer Evening

Gardening Events - Wed, 08/31/2016 - 6:08am
Monday, August 22, 2016 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

 22 Agosto de 6 a 7 PM
¡Bienvenidos a la primera reunión para granjeros Hispanos de pequeña escala! Usted participara en
demonstraciones técnicas de métodos para producción orgánica y podrá probar las distintas bayas y
frutas en producción en la parcela certificada para enseñanza orgánica.  El evento es en Español con los siguientes talleres:

Muestreo de suelo y de tejido para manejo de la fertilidad del suelo y nutrición para plantas. Javier Fernandez-Salvador. Oregon State University.

Insumos para producción orgánica y uso de la lista de OMRI. Ana Negrete, Organic Materials Review Institute.

Realidades del manejo de pequeñas fincas: mano de obra, planificación, coordinación, y que hacer con excedentes de la cosecha. Claudia Garcia, Administradora del Proyecto de Bayas Orgánicas.

Parcela de Bayas Organicas. Club Organico de OSU.
34306 NE Electric Rd. Corvallis, OR 97333
Para mayor información, contacte a: Javier Fernández-Salvador: javier.f-s@oregonstate.edu 503-373-3766

Welcome to the first Hispanic small farmer evening gathering! You will be able to see demonstrations on
production techniques and taste berry products and fruit from the certified organic teaching parcel. The event will be in Spanish with the following short workshops:

  • Tissue and soil sampling for fertility and plant nutrition management. Javier Fernandez-Salvador.
  • OMRI listed inputs for organic farming. Ana Negrete, Organic Materials Review Institute.
  • Realities of small farm management: labor, planning, coordination and what to do with surplus harvest. Claudia Garcia, Organic Growers Club Berry Project Manager.

OSU Organic Growers Club Berry Project Parcel
34306 NE Electric Rd. Corvallis, OR 97333
For more information, contact Javier Fernández-Salvador: javier.f-s@oregonstate.edu 503-373-3766

OSU Benton County Master Gardeners at the Corvallis Farmers' Market

Gardening Events - Wed, 08/31/2016 - 6:08am
Saturday, August 27, 2016 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Philomath Library Master Gardener Series

Gardening Events - Wed, 08/31/2016 - 6:08am
Monday, August 29, 2016 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
A little bit of work in the fall can have tremendous payoffs in the spring.  Learn what to do to winterize your gardens for better crops in the spring.

Biochar 2016

Gardening Events - Wed, 08/31/2016 - 6:08am
Monday, August 22, 2016 - Thursday, August 25, 2016 (all day event)

The conference will be held at Oregon State University's CH2MHill Alumni Center August 22nd-25th, 2016.

The conference aims to bring together stakeholders in the applied biochar research community and the private sector to further biochar market development. This event is designed for farmers, foresters, policy makers, biochar producers, industry professionals and entrepreneurs. Students and interested citizens will also benefit from this event.

For more information, or to register for the event, please see USBI2016.org. Student, Non-profit, and one-day rates are available. Early bird registration closes on July 15th!

Aquatic Ecology in Wetland and Riparian Ecosystems (Basin & Range)

Forestry Events - Tue, 08/30/2016 - 2:36pm
Tuesday, August 30, 2016 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM

This class will introduce you to the ecology of aquatic ecosystems, specifically wetlands and riparian areas in the Northern Basin and Range Ecoregion. Field locations include locations such as Malheur Lake and streams and streams and canals that are located within the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and adjacent land.

For more information, http://oregonmasternaturalist.org/basinrange

Geology and Earth Processes in the Northern Basin and Range Ecoregion

Forestry Events - Mon, 08/29/2016 - 2:36pm
Monday, August 29, 2016 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM

This class will focus on the geological features and processes of the Northern Basin and Range Ecoregion and their connections to the region’s natural and cultural history.

For more information, http://oregonmasternaturalist.org/basinrange

Sikuliak 2016: The Dynamic Arctic

Terra - Mon, 08/29/2016 - 4:12am
An introduction to the research

In September, two teams are doing separate but related scientific work in the Arctic Ocean aboard the research vessel (R/V) Sikuliaq. The following is an overview of their proposed research and what they expect to find.

Laurie Juranek leads a team of 11 scientists from Oregon State University’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS). She and her colleagues are investigating how Arctic sea-ice change is affecting the region’s chemistry and ecology.

Arctic-ice loss due to climate change is no scientific secret. The plight of polar bears and higher surface temperatures from lower albedo – an indication of how well a surface reflects solar energy – are relatively well known consequences. (Note: we’re talking about sea-ice loss here, which doesn’t cause sea-level rise, because the ice displaces the same amount of water as the corresponding melt. The loss of ice on land in the Arctic is part of what makes low-lying nations like the Marshall Islands vulnerable).

But what isn’t as well known is that less sea ice means more food in the form of phytoplankton, the tiny marine plants upon which all other life in the ocean depends. And not just more food, but more of it later in the Arctic season.

Maybe. We don’t really know for sure. That’s why there are research cruises.

Phytoplankton are like any other plants in that they need two things to survive: sunlight and nutrients. With markedly less sea ice, more sunlight is getting through to the newly exposed water and the phytoplankton beneath the surface. More sunlight – more phytoplankton.

The other half of the equation – nutrients – comes from more frequent and more intense storms. This increased storm activity has been going on in the Arctic for decades. Storms mix everything up, bringing nitrogen, carbon dioxide and the other energy sources phytoplankton need to the surface. The decrease in ice plays a role here too – with less ice, storms are able to have more of a mixing effect since they’re not as encumbered by physical boundaries. So, generally, more storms – more phytoplankton.

(Storms actually reduce the amount of sunlight getting through to the water and the phytoplankton, temporarily making it harder for plants to grow. But when things have settled down after storms, the effect is net positive for marine plant growth.)

The fact that sunlight and nutrients create more productive conditions for phytoplankton alone isn’t novel. But the idea that it may be happening later in the season is. This timing is crucial because over the course of millennia, ecology has become well attuned to the changing of seasons and all that comes with it.

Juranek likens this system to a grocery store. Normally, by late summer, most of the phytoplankton are gone; the shelves are bare. But as open water, sunlight and storms increase late in the season, the grocery store of phytoplankton is open longer. The shoppers include everything that eats phytoplankton, from zooplankton (tiny marine animals) to mollusks (oysters, clams, and mussels) to whales. But since the amount and location of phytoplankton isn’t consistent throughout the Arctic, not all shoppers get the same access to food. And that can have disastrous or life-saving consequences depending on your place in the food web.

Illustration: Moore and Stabeno (2015)

Not every animal in the Arctic eats phytoplankton, but if they don’t eat it, they depend on another animal that does. Walruses, for example, don’t have phytoplankton for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but they do depend on shellfish for all of the above. Filter feeders like oysters and clams need phytoplankton, and so the walrus needs phytoplankton.

It isn’t enough to know that phytoplankton are there, where they are, or how many of them exist; we need to know how they’re living. This is done by measuring rates of primary productivity, essentially how much food the phytoplankton grocers are putting on the shelves.

Phytoplankton can be likened to the trees that help us breathe – both create carbohydrates and oxygen as a result of photosynthesis. But unlike massive and long-living trees, phytoplankton are microscopic and have a lifespan of days. There’s much more turnover.

How much turnover is there? How much nitrogen, carbon, silica and other nutrients are they using to grow? And how does the rest of the community respond? What is the net production when the whole community has eaten its fill? This is what the Oregon State team is trying to find out.

How to do this? One way is to measure oxygen. The oxygen phytoplankton produce has a unique chemical signature of isotopes (the same element but different sized nuclei). The team will look at how much of these isotopes are in the water and so infer how much phytoplankton are producing.

This is somewhat of a novel technique. Many studies of primary productivity focus on the presence of chlorophyll, the distinguishing green pigment of algae and plants. But although chlorophyll can give a great picture of phytoplankton activity, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Chlorophyll means plants are present, but more chlorophyll doesn’t necessarily mean more activity. More oxygen is a better indicator.

Oxygen isn’t the only thing being used to determine primary productivity. The Oregon State team can also measure the amount of nitrogen and carbon in the water to get a better picture of what the phytoplankton and rest of the community are doing.

Juranek has good reason to think there’s more phytoplankton activity, because this won’t be the first time she’s seen it. The prediction is based on prior data from an Arctic research cruise she took in 2011 and 2012. But those data are among the few that can help scientists get a picture of what’s happening late in the season. The dataset collected on this cruise will be the biggest and most detailed yet, thanks in large part to a little sled (which I’ve not yet had the honor of meeting but have decided to name Rosebud). The sled will be towed along the back of the ship and take continuous measurements of nutrients, carbon, and optical properties of the water that will be sent back to the ship’s lab – via cable – for analysis.

Rosebud being deployed on the R/V Oceanus in 2012. On the R/V Sikuliaq, the yellow cable will be used to transmit water to the lab on the ship.

These measurements are done in just a few seconds. This is unlike what’s usually done: the “bottle” technique, where bottles of water are essentially pulled up from different depths and analyzed on the ship before being sent down again. With that method, you can get a few hundred measurements in a month. On this trip, the team will probably get 20,000 measurements in the same amount of time.

This improved database will help confirm or contradict the team’s prediction: There are substantial pockets of primary productivity later in the Arctic season than previously thought.

Carbon Too

If we did one of those word maps that show which words were used most in the preceding paragraphs, “phytoplankton” would probably loom large above the rest. This research isn’t just about phytoplankton. But it is a big, central part, so we’ll start here. Carbon cycling, your time will come soon enough.

As of today, some of the team is aboard the Sikuliaq and making their way through the Unimak Pass from Seward to Nome, Alaska. The rest of the team will join them in Nome on August 31. Then, after a couple more days of set-up, the Sikuliaq will set off in the direction of Barrow, and the scientific adventure begins.

It really began a while ago. Months – and years, if you count the previous cruises that established baseline data – of preparation have gone into making this research expedition a reality. The writing of proposals, completing the NSF review process, collaborating with local communities and organizations like the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, purchasing and prepping gear, assembling a team, and spending lots of money and time in the process. Ship time is valuable, and scientists tend to work long hours to make sure they can get the most out of it. Because you can’t have the same kind of discovery back home in the lab under controlled conditions as you do out at sea. It makes all the prep work worthwhile – no matter what we find, it’ll be a step toward a better understanding of the rapidly changing Arctic.

Coming soon: a brief introduction to the work of the team from the College of William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), led by Dr. Rachel Sipler, and more about where we’re going. Stay tuned!

The post Sikuliak 2016: The Dynamic Arctic appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Cultural History of the Northern Basin and Range Ecoregion

Forestry Events - Sun, 08/28/2016 - 2:35pm
Sunday, August 28, 2016 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

This class will provide a historical context about indigenous cultures as a way to put into context our understand of this Ecoregion, its native ecosystems and working landscapes.

For more information, http://oregonmasternaturalist.org/basinrange

Food Science Camp 2013 and Erik Fooladi

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Fri, 07/19/2013 - 1:44pm

We participate in the Oregon State U Food Science Camp for middle school students.

Part of the STEM [science technology engineering math] Academies@OSU Camps.

We teach about bread fermentations, yeast converting sugars to CO2 and ethanol, lactobacillus converting sugar to lactic and acetic acids, how the gluten in wheat can form films to trap the gas and  allow the dough to rise. On the way we teach about flour composition, bread ingredients and their chemical functionalities, hydration, the relationships between enzymes and substrates [amylases on starch to produce maltose for the fermentation organisms]; gluten development, the gas laws and CO2′s declining solubility in the aqueous phase during baking which expands the gas bubbles and leads to the oven spring at the beginning of baking; and the effect of pH on Maillard browning using soft pretzels that they get to shape themselves..

All this is illustrated by hands on [in] activities: they experience the hydration and the increasing cohesiveness of the dough as they mix it with their own hands, they see their own hand mixed dough taken through to well-risen bread. They get to experience dough/gluten development in a different context with the pasta extruder, and more and more.

A great way to introduce kids to the relevance of science to their day to day lives: in our case chemistry physics biochemistry and biology in cereal food processing.

We were also fortunate to have Erik Fooladi from Volda University College in Norway to observe the fun: http://www.fooducation.org/

If you have not read his blog and you like what we do here: you should!


endless pasta


Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Good Cheese, Bad Cheese

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Wed, 07/10/2013 - 1:25pm

pH, colloidal calcium phosphate, aging, proteolysis, emulsification or its loss and their interactions lead to optimum melting qualities for cheeses. A module in this year’s food systems chemistry class.

This module was informed by this beautiful article “The beauty of milk at high magnification“ by Miloslav Kalab, which is available on the Royal Microscopical Society website.


Of course accompanied by real sourdough wholegrain bread baked in out own research bakery.

Inspired by…

“The Science of a Grilled Cheese Sandwich.”

by: Jennifer Kimmel

in: The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking

Edited by Cesar Vega, Job Ubbink, and Erik van der Linden


Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

February 2011- Nutrition Education Volunteers taking “vacation”

Family Food Educators of Central Oregon - Tue, 02/01/2011 - 9:24am

I’m back from maternity leave and getting resettled into some new responsibilities.  We had a staff member leave us, so Glenda and I are having to pick up the work load until we find someone new, or our responsibilites change.  Being a new mom is lots of work too, so I’ve gone part time (24 hours aweek) but am still trying to get everything done… that being said, we’ve decided to put our nutrition education volunteering on hold, until I have a managable workload.

We look forward to being able to start things back up in the summer or fall of 2011.  Thanks so much and since a few of you have been asking, here’s a photo of our boy.  He is 5 months old today!

Bundled out in the cold!

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs