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2016

Brook trout personality, genetics could help populations adapt to habitat change
December 15, 2016
Shannon White, a doctoral degree student in Penn State's ecology program, is investigating whether certain traits and behaviors may help brook trout populations adapt to habitat pressures including warming climate conditions.
Devastating wildfires in Eastern forests likely to be repeated, expert warns
December 13, 2016
The intense wildfires that swept through the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee late last month were a tragic melding of the past and the future, according to Marc Abrams, professor of forest ecology and physiology.
Diversity panel highlights alumni careers from the farm to the urban forest
December 12, 2016
The Office of Multicultural Affairs in the College of Agricultural Sciences hosted a panel to highlight the career paths and accomplishments of several notable alumni (including Herbert White, 2000 FORSC) on Nov. 9.
Penn State geneticists on cutting edge of effort to save ash trees
November 21, 2016
A little-known ash plantation on the edge of Penn State's University Park campus — the largest collection of green ash germplasm in one location in the world — likely will play a significant role in saving the species, which is being decimated by an insect from Asia. Kim Steiner, professor of forest biology, and molecular geneticist John Carlson are looking at the genetic mechanisms by which surviving trees might be battling the insects.
After CITES Experience in South Africa, Megan Reed Ready for Next Conservation Adventure
November 12, 2016
Megan Reed completed the B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science in May 2011 and is currently employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, DC, as Special Assistant to both the Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System and the Assistant Director for External Affairs.
American Chestnut Restoration Effort Getting a Boost From Molecular Geneticists
November 10, 2016
The 27-year-old traditional breeding program, which has attempted to infuse blight resistance from the Chinese chestnut tree into American chestnuts, is receiving a boost from tree molecular geneticists at Penn State and five other universities working collaboratively in a bid to improve the process. While traditional breeding has been taking place, so have parallel lines of research into genetic modification and also bio-control of the fungus that causes the blight.
Prescribed fire at Penn State’s Stone Valley Forest scheduled for November
November 7, 2016
Between now and the third week in November, the Forestland Management Office in the Penn State Department of Ecosystem Science and Management will permit the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) to complete one prescribed fire within the boundary of the Penn State Stone Valley Forest in northern Huntingdon County.
It took decades to publish, but landmark Pa. fishes book worth the wait
October 14, 2016
It took 32 years to build both the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Washington Monument. And it took 32 years for Penn State Distinguished Professor of Ichthyology Jay Stauffer to publish his landmark book, "The Fishes of Pennsylvania."
Researchers hope Yosemite frog comeback promising for East's amphibians
October 5, 2016
The yellow-legged frog's comeback out West seems to show that amphibians have the capacity to develop resistance to disease and tolerance for contaminants and suggests that they can survive in the East and around the world. At least that's the hope of David Miller, assistant professor of wildlife population ecology in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, who is a member of the research team.
Alumni in the field: Josh Mulhollem, aquatic invasive species biologist
September 26, 2016
Wildlife and Fisheries Science alumnus applies ecology and public outreach to control the spread of aquatic invasive species
Future Leaders in Wildlife Conservation Visit Penn State DuBois
September 22, 2016
High-school-aged members of the Wildlife Leadership Academy, based in Lewisburg, PA, learned about the Wildlife Technology degree program at Penn State DuBois.
Expert: Foliage display may suffer in parts of Pa. due to drought conditions
September 19, 2016
On Sept. 6, the state Department of Environmental Protection added four more counties to its very dry list, bringing the number of counties under drought watch to 38. In those areas, foliage color may turn earlier and be less brilliant than usual, warned Marc Abrams, professor of forest ecology and physiology.
Researchers harness 'big data' to see the big picture on lakes, nutrient cycles
September 13, 2016
Tyler Wagner, adjunct professor of fisheries ecology in the College of Agricultural Sciences, and Ephraim Hanks, assistant professor of statistics in the Eberly College of Science, will collaborate with researchers at Michigan State University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Missouri using a new approach to expand traditional ecology to regional and continental scales.
First-of-kind study suggests cover crop mixtures increase agroecosystem services
September 8, 2016
The study was the first field-based test of the relationship between cover-crop species and multifunctionality -- the quality of cover crops to simultaneously provide multiple benefits -- noted research team member Jason Kaye, professor of soil biogeochemistry. Never before had this relationship been examined and analyzed in a crop rotation.
Private gift makes Penn State's wood collection one of world's largest
August 11, 2016
Dennis Brett has been a member of the International Wood Collectors Society for more than 60 years and met Chuck Ray, Penn State associate professor of wood products operations, at a meeting a few years ago. He liked what he heard from Ray, who oversees the Penn State wood collection, housed in the Forest Resources Building.
Ag Progress Days tours to highlight Penn State research
July 25, 2016
Free, daily bus tours during the event will take attendees into the field at the surrounding, 2,000-acre Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center to learn about projects focusing on topics such as pasture and grazing management, woodlot management, wildlife habitat and biofuel feedstocks.
Can synthetic clays save a world awash in pollution?
July 21, 2016
In a series of high profile journal articles published over the past 30 years, Sridhar Komarneni has explored ways to remove radioactivity from the environment. A materials scientist and Distinguished Professor of Clay Mineralogy, Komarneni develops specially structured synthetic clays capable of immobilizing radioactive species by ion exchange.
Trees rely on a range of strategies to hunt for nutrient hot spots
July 20, 2016
The precision of the nutrient-seeking strategies that help trees grow in temperate forests may be related to the thickness of the trees' roots and the type of fungi they use, according to David Eissenstat, professor of woody plant physiology, Penn State. The tree must use a variety of strategies because nutrients often collect in pockets -- or hot spots -- in the soil, he added.
Female deer disperse farther than males, present disease-control challenge
June 29, 2016
Fewer female white-tailed deer disperse than males, but when they do, they typically travel more than twice as far, taking much more convoluted paths and covering larger areas. These findings have important deer-management implications in states where chronic wasting disease is known to be infecting wild, free-ranging deer, noted researcher Duane Diefenbach, adjunct professor of wildlife ecology.
New research confirms continued, unabated, large-scale amphibian declines
June 1, 2016
Even though amphibian populations are declining sharply worldwide, there is no smoking gun to indicate a cause and thus no simple solution to halting or reversing these declines.
Projects to test water for lead, other impurities in underserved Pa. counties
May 20, 2016
Despite the highly publicized lead contamination in the municipal water supply serving Flint, Michigan, the vast majority of public water systems meet federal safe drinking water standards. However, the same cannot be said for private supplies -- such as wells, springs and cisterns -- in Pennsylvania, according to Bryan Swistock, water resources extension specialist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Arbor Day event beautifies Penn State Mont Alto Arboretum
April 29, 2016
Forty people including students, faculty, and alumni donated their time to improve the Penn State Mont Alto Arboretum during the “Every Day is Arbor Day” event on April 22.
DuBois wildlife technology students continue conservation efforts at area lake
April 28, 2016
Efforts to sustain and increase wildlife species at an area lake are picking up this spring with a great deal of help from students in the Penn State DuBois wildlife technology program.
Students to receive hands-on experience in trauma training event
April 26, 2016
Penn State Mont Alto to hold annual trauma training exercise for forest technology and nursing students
Fisheries researcher receives award from U.S. Geological Survey
April 18, 2016
Tyler Wagner, adjunct professor of fisheries ecology, recently received an Excellence in Science Award from the U.S. Geological Survey for outstanding research.
Prescribed fires on Stone Valley land to be controlled by Game Commission
April 14, 2016
Sometime between now and the the middle of May, the Pennsylvania Game Commission will complete two prescribed fires within the boundary of the Penn State Stone Valley Forest in northern Huntingdon County. With approval from Penn State's Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, the Game Commission will be conducting these two low-intensity prescribed fires to improve the midstory and understory habitat conditions of the forest area, while providing a field site to demonstrate and display the use and effects of prescribed fires to University students, staff and faculty, as well as the general public.
Penn State to Offer First Course on Rural Road Ecology
April 8, 2016
Penn State students will have their first chance this fall to take a new course on rural road ecology and maintenance, developed by the Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies at Penn State’s Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute. The course, ERM/FOR 497 Rural Road Ecology & Maintenance, is jointly hosted by the Environmental Resources Management Program and the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management.
Arboretum Speaker to Discuss the Movement Ecology of Scavenging Birds of Prey
April 4, 2016
Author and researcher Keith Bildstein will recount his study of the ecology of turkey vultures during a free public presentation at Penn State's University Park campus.
Experimental Biomass Harvest a Step toward Sustainable, Biofuels-powered Future
March 10, 2016
The first harvest of 34 acres of fast-growing shrub willow from a Penn State demonstration field this winter is a milestone in developing a sustainable biomass supply for renewable energy and bio-based economic development, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Eastern U.S. Forests More Vulnerable to Drought Than before 1800s
March 9, 2016
Since the 1930s, the composition of forests in the region has changed markedly, according to Marc Abrams, professor of forest ecology and physiology at Penn State. Drought-sensitive, fire-intolerant tree species, such as maple, birch and hemlock, have become more prominent, and drought-resistant, fire-adapted species, such as oak, hickory and pine, have declined.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Safe for Water?
March 2, 2016
What would you do without water? Farmers in drought areas are especially concerned by this question. As fresh water resources become scarce, one option for water-conscious farmers is to water crops with treated wastewater. This effluent is becoming a more popular option for applications that don’t require drinking-quality water. However, there are still questions about how the effluent interacts with and affects the rest of the ecosystem.
Penn State Researcher: Lead is Most Likely a Problem for Well Water
February 1, 2016
For Pennsylvanians watching the lead contamination problem in Flint, Michigan, and wondering whether their drinking water is safe, one water-resources specialist at Penn State University says residents with private wells, especially, should consider having their water tested.
Oh, Deer: Study Uses GPS to Explore Animal's Relationship with the Forest
January 19, 2016
The Deer-Forest Study, led by professors Duane Diefenbach and Marc McDill, is a collaborative project among Penn State, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry and the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
Penn State Project Explores Shrubs as Renewable Energy
January 18, 2016
Michael Jacobson, professor of forest resources, and Armen Karmenian, assistant professor of production systems and modeling, look to plants as power source.