"We are very good at rearing fish, but we're really not very good at releasing those animals in the wild such that they survive," said Victoria Braithwaite, professor of fisheries and biology.
After studying wildfire in a year-long independent research project, Brian Crooks last summer journeyed to the West for the first time to see the effects up close in the Sierra National Forest. The senior forest science major saw his textbooks come to life on the trip.
Forest fragmentation caused by drilling infrastructure is measurable, and may alter bird communities. "Some species -- robins and chipping sparrows -- are attracted to forest edges. Others -- scarlet tanagers, for example -- require a more dense forest to breed," says Penn State graduate student Lillie Langlois. "Pennsylvania is very important for a lot of migratory neo-tropical birds coming from Central and South America that depend on large tracts of forest for breeding."
Jatropha currently grows best in tropical countries and is already being cultivated as a biofuel on a small scale in India, Southeast Asia and Africa. "It is thought that Jatropha's future lies in further improvement of Jatropha for large-scale production on marginal, non-food croplands through breeding and/or biotechnology," said John E. Carlson, professor of molecular genetics
Capping decades of research, two groups of plant breeders and geneticists appear to have arrived independently within reach of the same arboreal holy grail: creating an American chestnut tree that can, at long last, withstand the devastating fungus blight that wiped the trees out by the billions in the first half of the 20th century.
Matt Hurteau, assistant professor of forest resources, leads the Earth Systems Ecology Lab, which includes a team of both undergraduate and graduate researchers and postdoctoral scholars. The two main undertakings of the lab are forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation.
She may not have her own show on the Discovery Channel, but Wildlife and Fisheries Science student Blanca Lopez de Juan Abad is doing her part to save wild animals. The Caracas, Venezuela, native interned last year at the Valerie H. Schindler Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Asheboro, N.C.
Sarah Tzilkowski earned her master’s degree in Forest Resources in May 2013 after completion of a project that started with the help of Ray Bryant and Anthony Buda of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and collaborators at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Over the next several year, working collaboratively with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Duane Diefenbach, adjunct professor of wildlife ecology and leader of the U.S. Geological Survey's Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Penn State, and Marc McDill, associate professor of forest management, will study multiple factors affecting forest regeneration in Pennsylvania.
The Penn State Woodsmen Team has received $1,000 from the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association to help pay for the team’s equipment and travel to future competitions.
"Understanding and untangling the complex effects of human activities on aquatic ecosystems present a challenge to ecologists and resource managers," said lead investigator Jonathan Freedman. "While the physical impacts of dredging have been relatively well studied, less is known about the ecological impacts, particularly on large-river fish populations."
Forest Science student Chelsea Kyler is studying the effects of the emerald ash borer on an ash plantation that was established years before she was born.
The American Chestnut Foundation already is evaluating sixth-generation trees planted in the wild, and is close to producing blight-resistant specimens, said Sara Fitzsimmons, a research technologist in Penn State’s Department of Ecosystem Science and Management.
The team won the research competition for its proposal, "Youth Employment and Income Enhancement Project: Haymaking as a Business Opportunity."
The landmark study indicates that the amphibian declines first recognized by researchers in the 1990s are ongoing and that things have not stabilized, noted David Miller, assistant professor of wildlife population ecology.
A field of soil science that is in a unique position to encompass and understand the variety of factors affecting earth today is pedology. Pedologist Patrick Drohan says in his profession, “you have to understand how the parts of the ecosystem interact, not just in the present time period but through past time periods...”
Timber 2013, June 7-8 at the Ag Progress Days site, showcases high-quality exhibitors with a focus on forest product harvesting and processing, value-added services, land clearing, and emerging biomass markets. This year's show includes active equipment, in-the-woods harvesting demonstrations, and the Penn State Woodsmen’s Team.
The 2005 Penn State alumnus currently is involved in a groundbreaking conservation project at the Ka'ena Point Coastal Reserve in Hawaii. The effort targets the decreasing population of native seabirds, namely the Laysan albatross and the wedge-tailed shearwater.
Penn State had seven students compete in the National contest, which was hosted Apr. 20 to 27 by the University of Wisconsin, Platteville. They finished six, with 2,630 points. The University of Maryland, coached by Penn State alumnus Dr. Brian Needelman, won the contest with 2,738 points.
Two women from the Penn State Woodsmen Team placed first in their events at a competition in Syracuse, N.Y., on March 23, defeating their opponents in the women's obstacle course and women's stock saw.