Portland State fall seminars, talks let you get your science on

Let the seminar madness begin!

Universities are getting back into the swing of things with the start of a new academic year, and that means seminar series will soon be launching at area institutions of higher learning. 

We’ll try to keep you posted on as many as we can throughout the year here on SIP, but to kick things off, we’ll start with some seminars around Portland State University.

Portland State University is a lovely campus to visit not only for the tree-lined Park Blocks that cut through it but also for the many science talks and seminars that are on offer. Susannah L. Bodman | Science In Portland

Portland State University is a lovely campus to visit not only for the tree-lined Park Blocks that cut through it but also for the many science talks and seminars that are on offer. Susannah L. Bodman | Science In Portland

First up is the biology department with a seminar Sept. 29. The topic is still to be announced but the presenter is Anne Royer, an evolutionary ecologist from Salem’s Willamette University. Her talk is hosted by PSU biologist Mitch Cruzan.

Royer’s talk will run from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 107, Science Building 1, PSU campus, 1025 S.W. Mill St. It’s part of the Lester Newman Seminar Series, which is free and open to the public.

Right on the heels of biology will be the chemistry department’s first fall seminar, Sept. 30, featuring Curtis Berlinguette, a chemist specializing in solar cells and energy storage with the University of British Columbia. He’ll naturally be speaking about “Solar chemistry at the interface.”

Berlinguette’s talk will run from 3:15 to 4:20 p.m. also in Room 107 of Science Building 1. PSU chemistry seminars are free and open to the public.

And to be announced are the fall presentations for PSU’s geology, physics and anthropology departments.

Geology holds its seminars on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. in Cramer Hall S17.

Physics presents the Mark Gurevitch Memorial Lecture Series, and you can find a link about signing up for email announcements of the lectures online.

Finally, over in anthropology, the Anthropology Student Association sponsors the First Thursday series of talks at 4 p.m. Thursdays in varying locations; these talks span various subjects in anthropology and archaeology, some more science-related than others.

For more information on each series, contact the departments — biology, chemistry, geology, physics and anthropology — or PSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Portland State University college wraps up a summer dotted with science happenings

Students will soon descend on Portland State University for the start of the 2016-17 school year, but it’s not all been quiet around campus this summer. Researchers in various areas have been busy science-ing.

Here are some of the happenings from PSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which plays home to biology, chemistry, geology, physics, math, anthropology* and psychology* departments, as well as several science-based centers and institutes:

 The Science Research and Teaching Center houses some of Portland State University's science departments, such as biology and chemistry. Susannah L. Bodman | Science In Portland

The Science Research and Teaching Center houses some of Portland State University’s science departments, such as biology and chemistry. Susannah L. Bodman | Science In Portland

Linda George, a professor of environmental science and management who studies urban air quality, has been named lead scientist of a new, collaborative effort to investigate Portland’s air pollution problems. The effort is jointly funded by PSU’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions, the city of Portland and Multnomah County.

It’s timely work, coming on the heels of concerns about toxic lead levels detected in a Portland neighborhood near Bullseye Glass.

The research could have a wide impact on regional toxin regulations and overall public health, according to CLAS staff.

George earned her environmental sciences doctorate in 1991 from PSU, and she has been working on air quality issues for three decades.

To learn more about George and the effort, check out a profile on PSU’s website.

Meanwhile, Doug Wilson, an archaeologist with Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and an adjunct professor with PSU’s anthropology department, led students from PSU and Washington State University-Vancouver in archaeological excavations as part of an annual summer field school in at Fort Vancouver.

Field school participants excavated the site of a World War I spruce mill and a Hudson’s Bay Co. waterfront complex. They found plenty of nails, glass, ceramics, charcoal and bone at the site. Then, digging deeper, they discovered evidence of a tribal site on the riverfront — one that predated arrival of European or Euro-American traders.

The Columbian, a Vancouver newspaper, published an article about the field school, and you can read more about it on PSU’s website.

And finally, PSU has a short piece up about two undergraduates working in chemistry professor Niles Lehman’s lab. The post is part of an effort to promote research opportunities at PSU for undergraduates.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

(*These are technically social sciences but some research therein can be complimentary to studies in biology, especially when there is an evolutionary focus or an attempt to understand how humans came to think and act like we do today.)

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mount Hood may get more volcanic monitoring stations

In case you missed the news earlier this week (Sept. 6, 2016), the U.S. Geological Survey is hoping to add more monitoring stations on Mount Hood.

Scientists with USGS want to keep closer tabs on a volcano that poses a threaten to several surrounding communities.

You can read more about the effort in a post by Portland TV station KPTV.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

Save

Save

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Science In Portland celebrates first year of publishing

Allow us a moment to toot our own birthday horn here on Science In Portland because, as of Sept. 6, the blog is officially one year old.

Here’s to more years dedicated to bringing you news about science happenings in the Portland metro area.

We have some new posts in the works right now and hope to hear from you regarding tips and suggestions for content. We also welcome submissions of columns, stories and photos by others, but note that we are an all-volunteer project and publication is at the discretion of SIP’s editors (Jim and myself).

Now then, bring on the terrible terrific twos!

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Women in Science’s Portland chapter has networking mixers and more coming up

Ladies who science, start your networking engines!

Women In Science’s Portland chapter has a full plate of career workshops, networking happy hours, mixers, meetings and conferences coming up.

Credit: DBZPhanatik/imgur/via Giphy

First up, WIS is looking for women and allies interested in becoming more involved with the local chapter. Its next steering committee meeting will be held Sept. 12, including a conference-call option for those not working at Oregon Health and Science University, which many local WISers call home. Contact WIS-Portland for more information.

Then, on Sept. 13, will come WIS-Portland’s next networking happy hour, which will be co-hosted by the Northwest chapter of the American Medical Writers Association. The happy hour will run from 6 to 8 p.m. at Carmella’s Wines, 1320 S.E. Water Ave.

Later on in September, WIS will co-host a negotiation career workshop with ChickTech. The three-week workshop will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on consecutive Thursdays — Sept. 22 and 29 and Oct. 6 — in the Collaborative Life Sciences Building on Portland’s South Waterfront, 2730 S.W. Moody Ave. Jessica Williams, a certified life coach and founder of the Superwoman Project, will lead the sessions.  Cost will be $30 and light food will be provided. Registration details are to be announced.

Moving on to November, it will be time for WIS-Portland’s annual networking mixer at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. The event will run from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Nov. 2 in Turbine Hall and feature light food to nosh on and beverages to purchase.

For more information about these events, go to WIS-Portland’s website. You can check out additional events there, such as a Women in Leadership panel coming up Sept. 20 in the CLS Building on the Waterfront, and read monthly news features.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Portland’s zoo releases hundreds of native butterflies as part of conservation effort

The Oregon Zoo in Portland, as part of its conservation research and intervention efforts, released native butterflies atop Mount Hebo on the Oregon Coast in early August.

An Oregon silverspot butterfly drinks from a flower on Mount Hebo, Oregon. ©Oregon Zoo/ photo by Kathy Street

An Oregon silverspot butterfly visits a flower on Mount Hebo. Photo courtesy of Oregon Zoo/Kathy Street

The native insects were Oregon silverspot butterflies, which the zoo reared and released in an effort to boost the species’ numbers in the Northwest. Populations of the silverspots, which were once common in coastal grasslands from northern California to British Columbia, Canada, have significantly declined due to the loss of habitat and its host plant, the early blue violet.

Oregon silverspots are now listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

This was the final release in a month-long effort that had zoo staff and conservation partners making weekly trips to the coast to transport butterfly pupae to grassy headlands and salt-spray meadows that comprise some of the silverspots’ last remaining habitat.

In total, nearly 450 zoo-reared silverspots were released as pupae this summer at four field sites along the Oregon Coast. At those sites, the silverspots are completing their metamorphoses inside mesh pens that protect them from voles, birds and other predators. During the next few weeks, they are expected to emerge as fully formed butterflies.

Life as fully mature silverspots, however, is brief. Adults live only about two weeks after emergence, and in that time they’ll have to mate and produce the next generation of the species.

Zoo staff said that during the final release of silverspots on Mount Hebo, they spotted a newly emerged female in the field who “fluttered straight to a nearby daisy and was joined there moments later by a male silverspot.”

“Which, you know, is the whole point,” ecologist Kaegan Scully-Engelmeyer, who managed the weekly releases and monitors the chrysalides in their release pens, for the zoo said in a statement.

The zoo began its silverspot conservation and recovery effort in 1998, but this was the first year silverspots were released at a U.S. Forest Service site atop Hebo in Tillamook County. However, Mount Hebo has long played an important role in the recovery work: Female silverspots are collected from that area and taken to the zoo’s butterfly conservation lab to lay eggs, where they can be protected and develop through winter and spring, before being released the following summer.

During the past two years, though, drought conditions have prompted additional declines among the silverspot population on Hebo. That’s because drier, hotter weather forces the early blue violet into dormancy before wild caterpillars can eat enough leaves to fully develop, resulting in fewer adults to mate and develop in the wild or be collected for the lab.

“Mount Hebo is where these pupae’s parents originally came from,” zoo conservation research associate Karen Lewis said in a statement. “Essentially, we’re putting back what we took and adding quite a few more.”

Partnering with the zoo in the conservation effort are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville and the Institute for Applied Ecology in Corvallis.

To learn more about the effort to save Oregon silverspots and other imperiled Northwest species, go to the zoo’s website.

To read a brief summary of the status of butterfly populations worldwide, also check out an article published in Science in July 2016. (You will need a AAAS membership or access to a library with a subscription.)

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Exercise your science and critical-thinking skills at Portland, other area skeptics meetups

Oregonians for Science and Reason, which promotes science and critical thinking through events statewide, has sent a notice about monthly meetups held in various cities in the Willamette Valley, and Portland is among them.

The meetups focus on skepticism, in the philosophical and critical-thinking sense, but there is often a healthy dose of science-related discussion — even the occasional trivia game.

Much of skepticism is about demanding evidence to back up claims, and favored evidence often is that which is scientifically rigorous. Pseudoscience need not apply. Freeimages.com

Much of skepticism is about demanding evidence to back up claims, and favored evidence often is that which is scientifically rigorous. Pseudoscience need not apply. Freeimages.com

The one in Portland is co-sponsored by Portland Skeptics in the Pub and  held the last Sunday of each month at 5 p.m. in Broadway Grill and Brewery, 1700 N.E. Broadway St. Host is Eric Tergerson. Learn more about PSP via its Facebook page. You also can join in friendly debates about science and other topics skeptics are passionate about.

Meanwhile, Salem and Eugene are home to two more meetups. Eugene’s event is the second Sunday at McMenamins East 19th Street Café, 1485 19th Ave. Salem’s is co-sponsored with Cherry City Skeptics in the Pub and happens on the third Sunday of the month at varying locations. Both meetups start at 5 p.m. on their respective days.

For more information about O4SR or its events, go to the O4SR Facebook page or visit its Meetup.com pages for Eugene and Portland. You also can email O4SR officer Jeanine DeNoma at wilkinsa@peak.org.

To learn more about skepticism, check out the Skeptics Society website or the Center for Inquiry’s Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments