Record 83 undergraduates receive 2017 Erickson Discovery Grants

June 12, 2017

Among the 219 students who applied, 83 from across Penn State’s campuses will each be awarded a $3,500 Erickson Discovery Grant for summer 2017. Included are —Alec Baker, WFS, "Timing and Impact of Habitat Type on Black Bear (Ursus Americanus) Corn Crop Damage," working with Ms. Keely Roen, instructor in wildlife technology — Jennifer Heppner, WFS, "Effects of Maternal Stress in Offspring Performance Speed in the Eastern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus),"working with Dr. Michael Sheriff, assistant professor of mammalogy and ecology — Richard Novak, WFS, "A Comparison of Macro-Invertebrate Communities Among Vernal Pools with Different Fire Histories," working with Dr. Margot Kaye, associate professor of forest ecology — Ana Turosky, ESOIL minor, "Does Glyphosate Affect Beneficial Soil Microbes?," working with Dr. Mary Ann Bruns, associate professor of soil science/microbial ecology.

Penn State Arboretum provides beautiful place for students and visitors year-round

June 7, 2017

Kim Steiner, professor of forest biology and director of the Arboretum, Kate Reeder, Arboretum marketing and events coordinator, and Patrick Williams, Arboretum development director, talk about the Arboretum's current features and future plans.

Ag sciences student completes prescribed fire experience at Fort Indiantown Gap

June 6, 2017

Francis Alvaré, a forest ecosystem management major with a minor in military studies, assisted the National Guard's forestry department in a series of prescribed fires on training facilities as part of an independent study program in the spring of 2017.

From brook trout to walleyes, warming waters to play havoc with fisheries

June 5, 2017

A few degrees, on average, can make a huge difference in lakes and streams as aquatic species struggle to compete and in some cases survive, and that's why a warming climate is of concern to fisheries managers.

Chronic wasting disease research with deer in Pa. becomes more crucial

May 23, 2017

The recent announcement by the Pennsylvania Game Commission that it found 25 more wild deer with chronic wasting disease last year underlines the importance of studies being conducted by a team of researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Research focuses on reclaiming strip-mine sites for biofuel crop production

May 23, 2017

Marvin Hall, a researcher in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, is currently working a project to bring highly productive life back to damaged land by planting a crop — switchgrass — that can be used as an alternative fuel source.

Pennsylvania's forest-products industry the focus of Timber 2017 expo

May 18, 2017

Businesses and individuals interested in Pennsylvania's large forest-products industry can learn about goods, services, best practices and industry trends at the 2017 Forest Products Equipment and Technology Exposition, which will take place Friday, June 9, and Saturday, June 10, at Penn State's Ag Progress Days site at Rock Springs.

Penn State to launch undergraduate Ag Stewardship and Conservation certificate

May 17, 2017

A new undergraduate certificate program offered by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences will give students interested in agricultural stewardship an opportunity for classroom and hands-on learning in the sustainability of agricultural soil and water resources. The Agricultural Stewardship and Conservation Certificate program will provide critical coursework and practical experience that will help make students marketable for jobs in the public and private sector.

Grant aimed at solving agricultural water issues through community engagement

May 17, 2017

A group of institutions led by Penn State has received nearly $2.2 million for the first year of a planned four-year, $5 million project aimed at developing a model for engaging communities and stakeholders to ensure adequate supplies of good-quality water both for and from agriculture. Partners include the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, Arizona State University and the University of Nebraska Lincoln.

American chestnut rescue will succeed, but slower than expected

May 16, 2017

The nearly century-old effort to employ selective breeding to rescue the American chestnut, which has been rendered functionally extinct by an introduced disease — Chestnut blight, eventually will succeed, but it will take longer than many people expect.

Ag Sciences graduate students win prestigious research fellowships

May 1, 2017

Ismaiel Szink, a doctoral student in the intercollege graduate degree program in ecology, will use his fellowship to support research on tree roots and their exudates, which are compounds released by roots into surrounding soil. "Ismaiel is examining how roots and associated mycorrhizal fungi can influence weathering at the Susquehanna-Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory," noted his adviser David Eissenstat, professor of woody plant physiology.

If some hemlock trees can just hang on, birds that need them may be OK

April 27, 2017

In 2000, when a team of scientists led by Robert Ross studied the response of birds to the beginning of hemlock tree decline in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Matt Toenies was just seven years old, and the ecological havoc wreaked by invasive species was the farthest thing from his mind.

Penn State graduate student turns bird-watching passion into research for ecology's master program

April 26, 2017

David Miller, associate professor of wildlife population ecology, and his master's degree advisee, Matt Toenies, talk about Toenies' research on how hemlock decline is affecting bird species.

Arboretum to host discussion about use of fire to restore ecosystems

April 21, 2017

The Arboretum at Penn State will host a discussion of the role of fire in ecosystem health and how Penn State uses controlled burns to manage and restore natural landscapes. The April 26 presentation precedes a controlled burn on a 12-acre portion of Arboretum lands adjacent to campus planned for this spring as part of an ongoing re-creation of a prairie/meadow containing native grasses and wildflowers.

Shale gas threat to forests can be eased by consolidating infrastructure

April 19, 2017

Fragmentation of ecologically important core forests within the northern Appalachians — driven by pipeline and access road construction — is the major threat posed by shale-gas development, according to researchers, who recommend a change in infrastructure-siting policies to head off loss of this critical habitat.

Cover crops may be used to mitigate and adapt to climate change

April 16, 2017

Cover crops long have been touted for their ability to reduce erosion, fix atmospheric nitrogen, reduce nitrogen leaching and improve soil health, but they also may play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change on agriculture, according to a Penn State researcher.

What's to blame for the surge in Lyme disease?

April 12, 2017

Marc Abrams, professor of forest ecology and physiology, explains the role that acorns and other mast play in boosting populations of deer and mice, the most common hosts for the ticks that carry Lyme disease.

Stone Valley trees harvested for Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center expansion project

April 11, 2017

Finding the value in a fishing license

April 6, 2017

Judd Michael, Penn State professor of business management for natural resources industries, and several students seeking master’s degrees in business have been studying fishing licenses and anglers for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Their ultimate goal is to develop a business plan that the agency can use to help it connect with its customers.

Researchers investigating status of goldenseal in Pennsylvania

March 31, 2017

Funded by a $50,000 grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are conducting an 18-month study of the forest herb goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) in Pennsylvania.

Frequent Fliers: Arboretum speaker to discuss songbird migration research

March 30, 2017

Bird watchers, nature lovers and wildlife scientists have an opportunity to hear author and avian researcher Bridget Stutchbury describe her research on songbird migration during a talk at 5 p.m. on April 5 in 112 Forest Resources Building on Penn State's University Park campus.

Adventures abroad: Student gains new insights about sustainability

March 27, 2017

The senior environmental resource management major traveled to both New Zealand and Costa Rica as part of two separate embedded courses. She was first introduced to these study-abroad opportunities through her major’s coursework.

Picture this: Trail cams used to monitor predators of deer fawns

March 24, 2017

Deer fawns in Pennsylvania face a cruel reality -- only half of them survive until their first birthday, and much of that mortality results from predation.

Penn State Mont Alto to host 16th annual Mid-Atlantic Woodsmen’s Meet

March 23, 2017

On April 8, the best collegiate lumberjacks and lumberjills in the region will converge on Penn State Mont Alto to compete in the 16th annual Mid-Atlantic Woodsmen’s Meet and the Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Series Mid-Atlantic Qualifier ― a preliminary event to the U.S. Collegiate Championships on July 30. The event is open to the public and free of charge; spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.

Ecologist Eissenstat receives Black Award for research accomplishments

March 1, 2017

David Eissenstat, professor of ecosystem management and woody plant physiology in the College of Agricultural Sciences, and chair of the Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Penn State was awarded the Jessie C. Black Award for Excellence in Research.

Penn State forest economist helping to propel African croton biofuel effort

February 20, 2017

Africa and agroforestry -- defined as agriculture that incorporates the cultivation and conservation of trees -- are in Penn State professor Michael Jacobson's blood, and the combination has helped shape his career. In turn, the forest economist has played an important role in launching a tree-based biofuel initiative that has major implications for the continent and its millions of subsistence farmers.

David Eissenstat elected Fellow of Ecological Society of America

February 10, 2017

David Eissenstat, professor of woody plant physiology in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State, has been elected as a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America.

SciTech Now - Wood Collection

February 9, 2017

Long forgotten, a wood collection at Penn State is getting a second look. Chuck Ray, associate professor of wood products operations, is dedicating his time to organizing it and unlocking its secrets to help advance science.

Stressed snakes strike first

January 4, 2017

Whether a wild cottonmouth snake will attempt to strike in an encounter depends on its baseline stress level, according to a team of scientists led by undergraduate researcher Mark Herr, who completed the Wildlife and Fisheries Science baccalaureate degree in 2016.

Research suggests climate change affecting plants above ground more than below

January 4, 2017

Shifts in plant-growth patterns have been widely reported in response to global warming, and it is well documented that warming generally advances aboveground plant growth, noted Laura Radville, a doctoral candidate in ecology advised by David Eissenstat, professor of woody plant physiology. But warming's influence on root phenology is unclear.