Many factors may contribute to steep, decades-long muskrat population drop

June 8, 2020

Muskrat populations have declined sharply across North America over the last 50 years or so, and wildlife scientists have struggled to understand why. A new study by a Pennsylvania research team is investigating whether pathogens, parasites, environmental contaminants and disease may be contributing to this decline.

Larger streams are critical for wild brook trout conservation

June 3, 2020

The Latin name for brook trout — Salvelinus fontinalis — means "speckled fish of the fountains," but a new study by Penn State researchers suggests, for the first time, that the larger streams and rivers those fountains, or headwaters, flow into may be just as important to the brook trout.

Grant to support study on generalist microorganisms in agricultural systems

May 28, 2020

Terrence Bell, assistant professor of phytobiomes in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, recently received a $480,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study generalist microorganisms in agricultural systems.

Plant pathologists at Penn State to aid investigation into lettuce disease

May 28, 2020

Plant pathologists in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences are lending their expertise to a multi-institutional research project designed to stop a destructive bacterial disease in lettuce.

'The Investment' student startup TV show taping to take place virtually

May 27, 2020

For the past three years, WPSU, Penn State University Park’s local NPR affiliate station, and the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) have collaborated to host the statewide Inc.U undergraduate student startup competition. The competition culminates in the six finalists competing head-to-head on the live “Shark Tank-style” TV show, "The Investment."

Changes in cropping methods, climate decoy pintail ducks into an ecological trap

May 26, 2020

After a severe drought gripped the Prairie Pothole Region of the U.S. and Canada in the 1980s, populations of almost all dabbling duck species that breed there have recovered. But not northern pintails. Now a new study by a team of researchers suggests why — they have been caught in an ecological trap.

Researchers examine climate change perception among specialty-crop producers

May 26, 2020

Farmers whose operations have been impacted negatively by changing precipitation patterns — either too much or not enough water — are more likely to acknowledge the link between extreme weather conditions and climate change. That is one of the findings of a study examining farmers’ perceptions of resource availability and climate change, published recently in Organization and the Environment.

Battling disease with ultraviolet light

May 26, 2020

Bill Bahnfleth, co-principal investigator (PI) and professor of architectural engineering, is joining co-PI Suresh Kuchipudi, clinical professor of veterinary and biomedical sciences, to study the ability of optical radiation to disinfect surfaces and reduce transmission of viruses.

New institute to help address complex food-energy-water-land challenges

May 20, 2020

The seed for Penn State’s Institute for Sustainable Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Science was planted well before the COVID-19 outbreak. The concept had been growing in the College of Agricultural Sciences for about two years when the pandemic emerged.

StoryMap project shines light on Pennsylvania's vulnerable communities

May 18, 2020

Researchers in the Center for Economic and Community Development in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences have developed an online StoryMap, titled "Vulnerable Pennsylvanians in the Context of a Pandemic," that they hope will facilitate engagement and help communities become stronger in the wake of COVID-19.

Surviving Social Distancing

May 13, 2020

For many of us, especially older adults, one of the biggest challenges of COVID-19 is coping with the isolation that can result from social distancing. Matt Kaplan, an expert on intergenerational engagement, talks about how to connect—and why we should—even when we can't get together in person.

Plasma medicine research highlights antibacterial effects and potential uses

May 6, 2020

Researchers in Penn State’s College of Engineering, College of Agricultural Sciences and College of Medicine say direct LTP treatment and plasma-activated media are effective treatments against bacteria found in liquid cultures and have devised a way to create plasma directly in liquids.

Institute awards 32 computational and data sciences seed grants

May 6, 2020

The Institute for Computational and Data Sciences, in conjunction with several Penn State colleges, awarded more than $725,000 in seed grants to fund 32 new computational and data sciences projects. The 57 researchers involved in the awards represent 12 Penn State colleges and 31 academic departments.

Plants pass on 'memory' of stress to some progeny, making them more resilient

May 5, 2020

By manipulating the expression of one gene, geneticists can induce a form of “stress memory” in plants that is inherited by some progeny, giving them the potential for more vigorous, hardy and productive growth, according to Penn State researchers, who suggest the discovery has significant implications for plant breeding.

Malaria risk is highest in early evening, study finds

May 4, 2020

Wide-scale use of insecticide-treated bed nets has led to substantial declines in global incidences of malaria in recent years. As a result, mosquitos have been shifting their biting times to earlier in the evening and later in the morning. In a new study, an international team of researchers has found that mosquitoes are most likely to transmit malaria in the early evening, when people are exposed, then at midnight, when people are protected by bed nets, or in the morning. The findings may have implications for malaria prevention initiatives.

Warming Midwest conditions may result in corn, soybean production moving north

May 4, 2020

If warming continues unabated in the Midwest, in 50 years we can expect the best conditions for corn and soybean production to have shifted from Iowa and Illinois to Minnesota and the Dakotas, according to Penn State researchers.

'Feed the Future' grant to support women's empowerment research project in Ghana

May 1, 2020

A $450,000 grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut Research will aid researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences as they explore the potential to empower women farmers in northern Ghana through peanut production.

Study reveals important flowering plants for city-dwelling honey bees

April 28, 2020

Trees, shrubs and woody vines are among the top food sources for honey bees in urban environments, according to an international team of researchers. By using honey bees housed in rooftop apiaries in Philadelphia, the researchers identified the plant species from which the honey bees collected most of their food, and tracked how these food resources changed from spring to fall. The findings may be useful to homeowners, beekeepers and urban land managers who wish to sustain honey bees and other bee and pollinator species.

How do epidemics spread and persist before and after introduction of a vaccine?

April 27, 2020

In the most detailed study to date of epidemic spread, an international team of researchers has modeled measles dynamics based on over 40 years of data collected in England and Wales.

Gene-editing protocol for whitefly pest opens door to control

April 23, 2020

Whiteflies are among the most important agricultural pests in the world, yet they have been difficult to genetically manipulate and control, in part, because of their small size. An international team of researchers has overcome this roadblock by developing a CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing protocol that could lead to novel control methods for this devastating pest.

Research information outlines Pennsylvania specifics related to COVID-19

April 22, 2020

Many Pennsylvania residents are facing an increased risk for severe symptoms of the novel coronavirus while having limited access to medical services, and policy briefs from Penn State’s Pennsylvania Population Network (PPN) demonstrate why.

Common soil fungus could be ally in organic corn growers' fight against pests

April 22, 2020

A common soil fungus might be enlisted as a powerful partner by corn producers to suppress pests and promote plant growth, according to Penn State researchers, who suggest promoting the fungus could be an especially valuable strategy for organic growers who struggle with insect control.

Penn State engineer aims to tackle COVID-19 from two angles

April 20, 2020

To combat COVID-19 in both the treatment and testing arenas, Yong Wang, Penn State professor of biomedical engineering, has received two grants from the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences COVID-19 multi-institute seed grant fund.

For small and minority farmers, networks influence the bottom line

April 20, 2020

In a study looking at the social networks of small-scale and minority specialty-crop farmers in Tennessee, Maryland, and Delaware, farmers who played a more prominent role in their network reported greater sales. The findings can help farming groups and agricultural support organizations leverage networks to enhance the farmers’ success.

Penn State researchers find significant economic losses due to soybean diseases

April 16, 2020

Economic losses due to soybean diseases in the United States from 1996 to 2016 amounted to more than $95 billion, according to a team of researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences who examined the long-term impact of soybean diseases on production in the U.S.

Penn State researchers evaluating Twitter data during pandemic

April 16, 2020

By collecting global Twitter data from the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Penn State researchers developed a dashboard that tracks geotagged tweets to allow the opportunity for researchers and policymakers to assess public reactions to the pandemic.

Seed grants jump-start 47 interdisciplinary teams to conduct COVID-19 research

April 14, 2020

With speed and ingenuity, more than 100 researchers across Penn State are shifting their research programs to address the COVID-19 crisis, thanks to funding from a seed grant initiative led by the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. In total, the initiative awarded $2.25 million to 47 teams of researchers from three campuses, eight colleges and more than 25 departments.

Animals should not pose coronavirus threat to pet owners, farmers

April 13, 2020

Farmers and pet owners who may be concerned that they can contract COVID-19 from domestic animals — such as livestock, dogs and cats — have little to worry about, according to a virologist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Fruit may mask taste of dark green vegetables in commercial baby foods

April 9, 2020

Commercially prepared baby foods that purport to be loaded with dark green vegetables are sweetened with fruit puree and often don’t contain a high percentage of dark green vegetable content, according to a team of researchers. The resulting lack of dark green vegetable taste matters, said team leader John Hayes, associate professor of food science at Penn State.

Potential link between COVID-19 and loss of smell, taste to be explored

April 1, 2020

When Caela Camazine realized that she had suddenly lost her ability to taste and smell on March 17, she thought it was “really weird” because she was not congested.

Office for Research and Graduate Education


217 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802-2600

Office for Research and Graduate Education


217 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802-2600