Terra+ Winter 2016

How a science writer became an accidental animal handler in the wilds of Oregon.

OSU's Research Newsletter

Cougars in “The Blues”
How a science writer became an accidental animal handler in the wilds of Oregon.

It was a frosty morning in October when we bushwhacked into a steep, wooded ravine of pine and larch, stepping over sofa-sized boulders and towering mounds of blow-down. At the bottom, where the creek gurgled prettily, the hound suddenly let out a fearsome howl. He had scented the cougar. Read More



Searching for Signs of Nascent Disease
What if doctors could use a tiny micro-channel device and a simple blood sample to detect cancer very early on — before a patient even shows any symptoms — and avoid invasive biopsy surgeries? Read More


Volcano Comeback
At the world’s largest caldera lake, geologists are seeking clues to future volcanic activity, not only at Lake Toba in Indonesia but also at other supervolcano sites around the world, including the one at Yellowstone National Park. Read More


Dogs Need Shielding, Too
Lead aprons and thyroid shields on the bodies and eyes of dogs significantly block harmful scatter radiation and leakage from x-ray tubes. Read More


Pulled from the Headlines

Every day, breaking news from OSU researchers makes headlines around the world. Here’s a handful of recent examples:

Moths’ eyes trap light like black holes, giving inspiration to OSU engineer Chih-hung Chang’s anti-glare coatings with potential applications for products like cell phones. See Wired magazine.

A national ban on tiny plastic beads in bath products stems from research by OSU’s Stephanie Green and others, showing harm to aquatic habitats. See NBC News.

Moms and babies face risks as well as benefits during out-of-hospital births, an Oregon study finds. OSU professor and midwife Melissa Cheyney weighs in. See New York Times.


Visit the Terra Website

The cover story of the next issue of Terra magazine follows up on this quarter’s Terra+ e-newsletter narrative about an OSU science writer’s adventures shadowing a wildlife biologist tracking cougars in northeastern Oregon. You’ll go behind the scenes of a long-term research project on the coexistence of cougars and wolves and also get a glimpse into Oregon’s efforts to protect endangered gray wolves while balancing the interests of ranchers and hunters. Additional stories tackle weather forecasting in Africa and rangeland ecology in Oregon’s sage country, along with other timely and engaging content. These stories will be available online at in mid-February. If you’re not yet receiving the print version of Terra magazine, email us at to request a free subscription.


New Research Enterprises

Oregon State University is Oregon’s leading public research university, receiving $308.9 million in research funding for fiscal year 2015. Here we highlight a few of our most recent grant-funded projects:

Hazards to Human Health
Principal Investigators: Assistant Professors Perry Hystad, Molly Kile and Laurel Kincl, College of Public Health and Human Sciences
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $4.4 million to Oregon State University for studies on the link between health and such environmental and occupational hazards as air pollution, arsenic exposure and injuries on fishing vessels.

Reacting to Extreme Weather
Principal Investigator: Hilary Boudet, Assistant Professor of Sociology, School of Public Policy
The National Science Foundation has awarded $260,000 to Oregon State University to study local climate-action responses (such as mobilization and government policy) to extreme weather events.

Making Power from Methane
Principal Investigator: Goran Jovanovic, Professor of Chemical Engineering
Public and private funds totaling about $15 million recently have been awarded to Oregon State University to investigate the biological conversion of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into liquid energy products.


Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331
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