College of Ag Sciences student interns at the U.S. State Department

September 21, 2023

Ava Klink, a senior majoring in environmental resource management in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, admits that getting a coveted internship with the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., is unusual for someone with her educational background.

Penn State-led team to study climate-threatened Colombian Paramos’ soil microbes

September 14, 2023

Some scientists believe the Paramos, a grassland ecosystem found in the northern Andes Mountains of South America, are “the world’s fastest evolving and coolest biodiversity hotspot,” according to Estelle Couradeau, assistant professor of soils and environmental microbiology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. This ecosystem — which is the prime headwater for lower tropical ecosystems and downstream urban centers in the Andean and the Orinoco-Amazon regions — is in jeopardy, she explained. Couradeau will lead a National Science Foundation-funded international team conducting research on how climate change will affect soil microbes in the ecologically fragile and important Paramos ecosystem in Colombia’s Andes Mountains.  

Course at Penn State gives students hands-on wildland fire management training

September 7, 2023

This spring, five students in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences traveled to North Carolina and Florida to learn about wildland fire management and fire ecology techniques.

One Health Microbiome Center honors creativity and mentoring with award series

September 7, 2023

The One Health Microbiome Center (OHMC) in the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State has named eight recipients for its 2023-24 Inaugural Award Series, which reflects on a profound year of impacts and achievements and recognizes the talents of the OHMC community.

Cover crops project provides fertile ground for USDA graduate fellows

August 21, 2023

Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences graduate students received more predoctoral fellowships from the U.S. Department of Agriculture than any other institution over the last five years. This year, five of the 11 recipients worked in the college’s long-term cover crop cocktails experiment. 

Students pursue research passions through NOAA’s Hollings Scholarship

August 8, 2023

Four students in the Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences were recently awarded the Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to advance their research ambitions. The Schreyer Honors Scholars  are Jackie Kiszka, Asha Spencer and Mallory Wickline, all third-year students majoring in meteorology and atmospheric science, and Bridget Reheard, who is also a third-year student and double majoring in geosciences and wildlife and fisheries science.

Microbe-stuffed soil crusts menaced by climate change

August 3, 2023

Using a novel method to detect microbial activity in biological soil crusts, or biocrusts, after they are wetted, a Penn State-led research team in a new study uncovered clues that may lead to a better understanding of the role microbes play in forming a living skin over many semi-arid ecosystems around the world. The tiny organisms — and the microbiomes they create — are threatened by climate change. 

Second species of ramp, or wild leek, documented in Pennsylvania

July 26, 2023

The presence of a second species of ramp, Allium burdickii — commonly known as narrow-leaved wild leek — has been documented in southwest Pennsylvania by a team of Penn State researchers in a new study. This plant species never before has been documented in the state, and the researchers suggest the discovery shows a need to protect remaining populations of the plant.

Philadelphia soil project signals largely positive findings for urban growers

July 21, 2023

Initial findings from a soil testing project launched a year ago in Philadelphia indicate positive news for urban growers — low levels of contaminants and higher than expected levels of nutrients. The project is aimed at helping to ensure safe and productive urban gardening.

A seed survival story: How trees keep ‘friends’ close and ‘enemies’ guessing

June 29, 2023

A new study, by an international team of scientists that included millions of tree-year observations worldwide, for the first time documents and analyzes the intricate balance between seed defense and dispersal by forest trees at a global scale. 

Penn State researchers discover one-of-a-kind fish is local to lower Susquehanna

June 22, 2023

In an attempt to rescue a rare darter in the lower Susquehanna River, a Penn State research team, working with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, has determined that the fish is a distinct subspecies found nowhere else. The fish’s rarity makes the effort to restore its population even more important, the researchers say.

Penn State graduate named 2023 Campus Sustainability Champion

June 21, 2023

Isabella Briseño, a recent Penn State graduate who double majored in environmental resource management and political science, was selected as a 2023 Campus Sustainability Champion by the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium.

Penn State researchers discover one-of-a-kind fish is local to lower Susquehanna

June 20, 2023

In an attempt to rescue a rare darter in the lower Susquehanna River, a Penn State research team, working with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, has determined that the fish is a distinct subspecies found nowhere else. The fish’s rarity makes the effort to restore its population even more important, the researchers say.

Predictive models show wildlife managers where to find destructive feral swine

June 1, 2023

Feral swine are considered one of the top invasive species of concern in North America because of the damage they do to agricultural and natural systems. To best manage them, resource management agencies need to know more precisely where and when to implement control methods. A new study by a Penn State-led research team developed a method to help guide control efforts in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  

Expo a learning experience for current, prospective forest-product professionals

May 30, 2023

Visitors from Pennsylvania and surrounding states interested in the forest-products industry and the sustainable management of forest resources will gather at the 2023 Forest Products Equipment and Technology Exposition, June 9-10 at Penn State's Ag Progress Days site at Rock Springs.

Penn State's renamed One Health Microbiome Center affirms broad expertise

May 15, 2023

The Microbiome Center in the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State has announced its renaming to the One Health Microbiome Center, reflecting its collaborative culture and aspirations to write its next chapter in the booming study of microbial communities that live throughout the world's environments.

‘Nature is messy': Pioneers in landscape transcriptomics study genes in the wild

May 11, 2023

An interdisciplinary team in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences — in an initiative aimed at better understanding the implications of climate change for animal and plant life and agricultural systems — is focusing on an emerging field of study called landscape transcriptomics.

Students learn about science, and themselves, conducting undergraduate research

May 8, 2023

Three undergraduates who presented posters at the 2023 Gamma Sigma Delta Research Expo talked about the stories behind their research, with an eye toward offering other Penn State students inspiration to pursue their own “passion projects” in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Early-nesting ducks at increased risk due to changes in climate, land use

April 24, 2023

Each year approximately 10 million waterfowl fly north to their breeding grounds in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America, but the landscape that greets them has changed. Weather patterns and agricultural practices have significantly transformed the pothole-dotted native grasslands that waterfowl have used for thousands of years.

Penn State recognizes Outstanding Adult Student Award winners

April 24, 2023

Penn State’s Adult Learner Programs and Services announced the winners of the Outstanding Adult Student Award. The award — which includes a Penn State diploma case and a $500 grant — recognizes an exceptional adult learner or student veteran at University Park who has overcome obstacles while furthering his or her education. Nominees balance multiple responsibilities, serve as role models for other students, and achieve academically.

Digging into the past: Forgotten soil samples are opportunity for new research

April 5, 2023

Penn State researchers recently opened sealed jars of soil samples collected on campus in 1915 and 1933. Because the samples were taken before many of the changes in agricultural and industrial practices throughout the past century, they offer scientists the chance to study how these changes have affected the microorganisms that live within the soil.

Innovative method predicts the effects of climate change on cold-blooded animals

April 3, 2023

In the face of a warming climate that is having a profound effect on global biodiversity and will change the distribution and abundance of many animals, a Penn State-led research team has developed a statistical model that improves estimates of habitat suitability and extinction probability for cold-blooded animals as temperatures climb.

First-gen students explore Costa Rica through College of Ag Sciences course

March 31, 2023

Studying abroad can be a transformative experience. However, first-generation college students may face additional challenges and feel that international experiences are out of their reach. A course in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences was created to help first-gen students achieve their travel goals.

Habitat will dictate whether ground beetles win or lose against climate change

March 23, 2023

North American ground beetles play important roles in agriculture. Their response to climate change will largely depend on species traits and habitats and could have significant implications for conservation efforts, according to new research led by Penn State.

Penn State faculty visit Belize to forge collaborations

March 20, 2023

Over spring break, a group of 14 Penn State faculty visited the Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education to explore opportunities to develop long-term collaborative research, education and outreach projects. The multidisciplinary group included faculty from the College of Agricultural Sciences, Eberly College of Science, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, and School of International Affairs.

Maintain certified forester certification with Penn State Extension offerings

March 9, 2023

Pennsylvania certified foresters looking for ways to earn continuing education credits can take advantage of the wide variety of options provided by Penn State Extension.

Penn State’s Soil Research Cluster Lab offers new research capabilities

March 6, 2023

To help better understand and support healthy soil function, Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has an advanced characterization facility — the Soil Research Cluster Lab — under the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management.

Diefenbach given national conservation award for his wild turkey research

February 16, 2023

Duane Diefenbach, adjunct professor of wildlife ecology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, has been given the Henry S. Mosby Award by the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Pa. private forest landowners want to use controlled fire to manage their woods

February 16, 2023

Managers of public forests in Pennsylvania have been using controlled burns to manage state-owned tracts to promote tree species such as oak, reduce the growth of invasive plant species and even reduce tick populations, for more than a decade. Now a study by Penn State researchers indicates that owners of private forest land in the state would like to use prescribed fire to manage their woods, too.

Eissenstat retires from College of Ag Sciences after three decades at Penn State

January 31, 2023

David Eissenstat, professor of woody plant physiology, retired recently after a distinguished 28-year career on the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences faculty, including a two-year stint as interim head of the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management.