Penn State team to help local groups reduce pollution in lower Susquehanna basin

October 27, 2023

To accelerate conservation and reduce water pollution, a Penn State team composed of outreach staff and extension educators will build upon existing partnerships with organizations in the lower Susquehanna River basin. The watershed is plagued by runoff of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from agriculture.  

Trip to Uganda has a profound impact on Penn State graduate student

October 27, 2023

For doctoral student and agricultural educator Mia Sullivan, traveling to Uganda this past summer with Penn State’s Global Teach Ag Network will be the foundation for her studies and future career.

USDA grant awarded for study on soil health, weed control in organic operations

October 17, 2023

A nearly $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded to Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences will support research on soil health and weed suppression in organic farming.

Grants awarded to Penn State faculty for tropical ecosystems research in Belize

October 16, 2023

A collaboration among scientists from Penn State and the Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education is aimed at developing agroforestry systems for Belize and Central America to support sustainable development while conserving the rainforest. As part of the initiative, three teams were awarded seed grants to pursue research on agricultural and ecological sustainability, preservation of tropical rainforest ecosystems and sustainable development in Belize.

Cultivating connections: Penn State students make global bonds working in Uganda

October 5, 2023

Penn State faculty and students were part of a team that worked with smallholder farmers and policymakers in Uganda through the Collaborative Learning School, a two-week field workshop led by U.S. and African scientists and practitioners as a part of the SustainFood Network, funded by the National Science Foundation’s Accelerating Research through International Network-to-Network Collaborations program.

Ruffed grouse population more resilient than expected, genetic study finds

October 4, 2023

Despite decades of decline, a genetic analysis of ruffed grouse reveals that Pennsylvania’s state bird harbors more genetic diversity and connectivity than expected. The findings suggest that the iconic game bird could be maintained in persistent numbers if appropriate protections are implemented. The study, led by Penn State and Pennsylvania Game Commission researchers, published in the journal Molecular Ecology.

College of Agricultural Sciences names 2023 Harbaugh Scholars

September 25, 2023

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has awarded three faculty members with funding to support the development of innovative course curricula through the college’s Harbaugh Faculty Scholars program.

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.

Ag Sciences student among first Peace Corps volunteers to return to service

April 21, 2023

Penn State student Julia Burton, in the College of Agricultural Sciences, is among the first Peace Corps volunteers to return to overseas service since the agency’s unprecedented global evacuation in March 2020. The Peace Corps suspended global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.