Oregon State U: Commited to Conservation & Wildlife On and Off Campus

from Wildlife Promise

Oregon State University in Corvallis is committed to conservation and wildlife both on and off campus. OSU has proven to be a leader in campus sustainability for many years. In 2011, National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology program recognized OSU for their Energy Center, the nation’s first LEED Platinum-rated power facility and their Student Sustainability Initiative. OSU has also attained a Gold rating in STARS – the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System; received the highest green ranking in Oregon and was listed as 11th in the nation in the 2013 Sierra Club “Cool Schools” ranking; and placed first in 2010, 2011, and 2012 in the annual Civil War RecycleMania competition with University of Oregon.

The 481.95 kilowatt solar array adjacent to the John L. Fryer Salmon Disease Lab is tied to that facility electrically.  The array produces enough power on an annual basis to supply that facility and several other OSU facilities in the area. Click the link above for real-time solar production on SolarCity's SolarGuard site.  Partners for this installation include the Department of Microbiology and Department of Horticulture. Photo Oregon State University

The 481.95 kilowatt solar array adjacent to the John L. Fryer Salmon Disease Lab is tied to that facility electrically. The array produces enough power on an annual basis to supply that facility and several other OSU facilities in the area. Click the link above for real-time solar production on SolarCity’s SolarGuard site. Partners for this installation include the Department of Microbiology and Department of Horticulture. Photo Oregon State University

In addition to these accomplishments, OSU has also made a significant effort to protect wildlife and natural resources on campus through the Oak Creek Restoration project. Restoration efforts have included the removal of invasive species like Himalayan blackberry and English ivy, reforesting areas of the corridor, reconnecting the floodplain, and properly treating and buffering storm water discharge into the creek ensuring a healthy aquatic habitat for fish and amphibians. Oak Creek is also an outdoor learning lab – students have the opportunity to evaluate various restoration and protection methods, study riparian function and monitor stream improvements.

Southern right whales (Eubalaena australis), Auckland Islands 2007, Credit Scott Baker

Southern right whales (Eubalaena australis), Auckland Islands 2007, Photo by Scott Baker

So, what else is OSU doing for wildlife?

OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute (MMI) is a facility that brings together the work and expertise of many programs including engineering, genetics, agriculture, aquatics, ecology, veterinary medicine, biology and communications.

“As the only institute of its kind, the Marine Mammal Institute combines the efforts of top researchers from around the world to continue the legacy of discovery and preservation of critical habitats of target species and understanding how they interact with their environment and human activities.”

The Institute consists of six labs,one of which is the Cetacean Conservation and Genomics Laboratory (CCGL). The CCGL is committed to researching the molecular ecology and systematics of whales, dolphins and porpoises around the world to learn from their past, assess their present, with an ultimate goal of ensuring these marine mammals thrive long into the future.

MMI stranding coordinator Jim Rice conducts a dissection of a harbor porpoise with assistance from students in Scott Baker's course, FW499/599 "Natural History of Whales and Whaling", November 2008. Photo by Katelyn Cassidy

MMI stranding coordinator Jim Rice conducts a dissection of a harbor porpoise with assistance from Natural History of Whales and Whaling students, Photo by Katelyn Cassidy

The lab looks at the impact of hunting on whale populations and the ecological role they played before human exploitation. To assess their current status, CCGL is involved in three collaborative studies focused on populations, genetic diversity and migration, specifically looking at Humpback and Sperm whales. CCGL also surveys the ‘whale-meat’ markets in Japan and the Republic of (South) Korea to learn more about what the future holds.

Learn more about OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute and their work on whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, and walruses.