Arcata, CA, United States

Humboldt State University

www.humboldt.edu
Arcata, CA, United States

Humboldt State University is the northernmost campus of the California State University system, located in Arcata within Humboldt County, California, USA. The main campus, nestled at the edge of a coast redwood forest, has commanding views of Humboldt Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Its location eight miles north of Eureka and 279 miles north of San Francisco on the North Coast of California is notable for its natural beauty and relative remoteness. Wikipedia.


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Railsback S.F.,Humboldt State University | Harvey B.C.,Pacific Southwest Research Station
Trends in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2013

Many ecologists believe that there is a lack of foraging theory that works in community contexts, for populations of unique individuals each making trade-offs between food and risk that are subject to feedbacks from behavior of others. Such theory is necessary to reproduce the trait-mediated trophic interactions now recognized as widespread and strong. Game theory can address feedbacks but does not provide foraging theory for unique individuals in variable environments. 'State- and prediction-based theory' (SPT) is a new approach that combines existing trade-off methods with routine updating: individuals regularly predict future food availability and risk from current conditions to optimize a fitness measure. SPT can reproduce a variety of realistic foraging behaviors and trait-mediated trophic interactions with feedbacks, even when the environment is unpredictable. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Grimm V.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | Railsback S.F.,Humboldt State University
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2012

Modern ecology recognizes that modelling systems across scales and at multiple levels-especially to link population and ecosystem dynamics to individual adaptive behaviour-is essential for making the science predictive. 'Pattern-oriented modelling' (POM) is a strategy for doing just this. POM is the multi-criteria design, selection and calibration of models of complex systems. POM starts with identifying a set of patterns observed at multiple scales and levels that characterize a system with respect to the particular problem being modelled; a model from which the patterns emerge should contain the right mechanisms to address the problem. These patterns are then used to (i) determine what scales, entities, variables and processes the model needs, (ii) test and select submodels to represent key low-level processes such as adaptive behaviour, and (iii) find useful parameter values during calibration. Patterns are already often used in these ways, but a mini-review of applications of POM confirms that making the selection and use of patterns more explicit and rigorous can facilitate the development of models with the right level of complexity to understand ecological systems and predict their response to novel conditions. © 2011 The Royal Society.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Fellowship | Program: | Phase: GRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIPS | Award Amount: 143.02K | Year: 2015

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is a highly competitive, federal fellowship program. GRFP helps ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based masters and doctoral degrees in science and engineering. GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant achievements in science and engineering. This award supports the NSF Graduate Fellows pursuing graduate education at this GRFP institution.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: RSCH EXPER FOR UNDERGRAD SITES | Award Amount: 346.32K | Year: 2016

This REU Site award to Humboldt State University, located in Arcata, CA, will support the training of 10 students for 10 weeks, during the summers of 2016- 2018. Students will design research projects on natural resource management in close collaboration with faculty mentors from the Departments of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Forestry as well as with collaborators from the Yurok, Hoopa, and Karuk Tribes. Students will also participate in workshops on Traditional Ecology Knowledge (TEK), responsible conduct of research, and how to get into graduate school. Access to unparalleled nearby ecosystems along with excellent facilities on campus and critical collaborations offer students opportunities to pursue research questions unique to the region, but with broad application, such as interactions between climate change and fire, forest alteration and wildlife habitat use, using environmental DNA in water samples to monitor elusive species, and the development of hydrological models to optimize water releases from dams for important fish species.

It is anticipated that a total of 30 students, primarily from schools with limited research opportunities, will be trained in the program. The program is especially geared toward American Indian and Native Alaskan students. Students will learn how research is conducted, and many will present the results of their work at scientific conferences. In collaboration with local tribal offices and tribal natural resource managers, this program puts scientific research in the context of tribal natural resource management. Students will not only learn vital lessons about the practical value of science, but will also learn that results from collaborative student research projects can provide essential data for natural resource managers that can influence land use decisions.

A common web-based assessment tool used by all REU programs funded by the Division of Biological Infrastructure (Directorate for Biological Sciences) will be used to determine the effectiveness of the training program. Students will be tracked after the program in order to determine their career paths. Students will be asked to respond to an automatic email sent via the NSF reporting system. More information about the program is available at (http://www2.humboldt.edu/REU/) or by contacting the PI (Dr. Matt Johnson at matt.johnson@humboldt.edu).


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: GRAVITATIONAL EXPERIMENTS | Award Amount: 155.75K | Year: 2013

This award supports research in the Humboldt State University Gravitational Physics Laboratory (HSU GPL). Precision experiments will test the Weak Equivalence Principle (WEP) of General Relativity and the gravitational Inverse-Square Law (ISL) at unprecedented levels. The WEP will be tested at the millimeter scale and the ISL will be probed over sub-millimeter distances with unmatched sensitivity down to approximately 25 microns. In recent years the study of the gravitational interaction at short (sub-millimeter) distance scales has gained much attention due in a large part to unification scenarios arising in string or M-theory that require more than three spatial dimensions, some of which could be macroscopic. Short-range tests of gravity and the WEP also investigate possible proposed mechanisms that endeavor to explain the accelerated expansion of the universe, generally attributed to Dark Energy. Finally, such tests present the possibility to search for hypothetical new interactions due to exotic particles or other phenomena. Many scenarios concerning these effects predict a violation of the WEP or ISL at short distances. Since 1999, experimental limits have improved dramatically so that the ISL has proven valid over distances down to approximately 55 microns. A dedicated test of the WEP, however, has not been performed below the millimeter scale. The initial work described in this proposal will probe the WEP at the millimeter scale and below. This measurement will be accomplished with a parallel-plate torsion pendulum design that will provide an essentially null experiment and use multiple composition dipole combinations. Subsequently, a more difficult test of the gravitational ISL will be pursued by decreasing the pendulum/attractor mass separation to 100 microns.

Humboldt State University is in a predominantly rural area of Northern California and the GPL is the only dedicated physics research laboratory in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. This award ensures that our undergraduates gain valuable research skills necessary for continuation of studies or pursuit of a career in industry. Undergraduates will also be sent to perform research at the University of Washington through a collaboration formed with a gravity research group there. Alumni of the laboratory have secured graduate fellowships and industrial positions. This award greatly contributes to the valuable expansion of research at HSU in the STEM fields.
Within the major program, software developed for data acquisition and analysis will be transferable to educational opportunities in the upper division classroom. This award also allows undergraduates to participate in valuable dissemination efforts through presentations at national and regional conferences as well as publication of research results. Finally, tests of gravity are of great interest to research in diverse fields ranging from astrophysics and cosmology to particle physics and precision measurement science.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: FIELD STATIONS | Award Amount: 346.03K | Year: 2015

Humboldt State Universitys (HSU) Marine Lab (http://www.humboldt.edu/marinelab/ ) has been awarded a grant to modernize aging components of the running seawater system which will enhance research and training activities at the lab with a reliable, high-quality system. HSU is the northernmost California State University campus and has a well-deserved reputation for high quality natural resources and science programs. The marine lab offers outstanding undergraduate and graduate instruction and excellent opportunities to carry out research projects in the lab and provides access to a wide diversity of marine and coastal habitats. The new seawater system will include two underground water tanks that provide redundancy, improve temperature regulation, are safer in an earthquake-prone region, and provide more effective utilization of the labs limited footprint by creating space for future expansion. The new system and future expansion will significantly advance or research and training capacity in intertidal ecology, invasive species, fisheries biology, chemical, biological and geological oceanography, and climate change.

The new seawater facilities will have a positive impact on training at all levels, including K-12 classes, undergraduate and graduate fishery biology, marine biology and oceanography majors at Humboldt State University, community college faculty and students, visiting graduate students, visiting students from throughout the U.S. and the general public. Public outreach is accomplished through free public aquaria, open 6-7 days a week year-round, with guided tours, educational workshops, and high-quality displays; these facilities serve approximately 20,000-35,000 visitors/year. HSU is an Hispanic-serving institution and the only university campus along the northern California coast primarily dedicated to undergraduate education. The area is also home to a large number of Native American Tribes and Rancherias with tribal members actively collaborating in marine research and resource management projects with HSU and other institutions. The lab has a resident Marine Naturalist who leads informal marine science education efforts at the ML and other venues. In the last five years the lab has served over 5,000 K-12 students and offered 240 organized tours of the facility by multiple institutions.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Systematics & Biodiversity Sci | Award Amount: 498.60K | Year: 2016

Some fungi live in close symbiotic association with plants. These ectomycorrhizal fungi provide resources to the plant host, and in return, the plant provides nutrition to the fungi. The interactions of fungi and their hosts provide crucial ecosystem functions including the recycling of nutrients. While the critical roles that fungi play in the environment are well established, their importance in tropical systems is not well understood, and this is especially true for tropical Africa. This project in the Guineo-Congolian rainforest will provide the first thorough documentation of these fungi and plant relationships of tropical Africa using modern methods. The huge forest covering the Congo River basin is one of the last great tropical rainforests of the world. Current threats to the region include logging, mining, and climate change. This project will fill a major gap in our knowledge of the important symbiotic fungi of this ecosystem through expeditionary fieldwork in the undisturbed rainforests of Cameroon. This project is potentially transformative in that if the fungi associated with closely related host plants of Africa and South America are shown to have a common ancient origin, such results would fundamentally impact understanding of the evolution, global biogeography, and local adaptation of ectomycorrhizal symbioses. Additionally, application of new DNA sequencing methods will develop entirely new, phylogenetically informative data that will transform the field. It is estimated that over 100 fungi will be discovered that are new to science. Recognition of these species will greatly inform broader research areas. Key features of the project include student training, internet-based information sharing, and public outreach.

By combining traditional specimen-based sampling with high throughput DNA sequencing, this project will provide the most complete diversity data to date on ectomycorrhizal fungi of Afrotropical forests. Additionally, it will enable comparison of intercontinental tropical ectomycorrhizal fungal communities in corresponding ecosystems. The research will enhance understanding of fungal biogeography in the Gondwana-derived Afrotropical and Neotropical Guiana Shield regions. Survey plots identical to those used for surveys in the Guiana Shield of South America will be established in the Dja Biosphere Reserve and Korup National Park Cameroon and ectomycorrhizal fungi will be sampled using morphological and molecular methods over multiple years. Replication of sample design allows for direct comparisons between Africa and South America, allowing for robust biogeographic analyses to determine the evolutionary histories of ectomycorrhizal taxa in a global context.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: GRAVITATIONAL EXPERIMENTS | Award Amount: 52.00K | Year: 2016

Humboldt State University (HSU) is a federally-recognized Hispanic Serving Institution in a predominantly rural area of Northern California, and the Gravitational Physics Laboratory (GPL) is the only dedicated hands-on physics research laboratory in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. This award ensures that HSU undergraduates, many of whom are first-generation college students and members of underrepresented groups in STEM fields, gain valuable research skills necessary for the pursuit of graduate studies or careers in industry. Undergraduates will also be sent to perform research at the University of Washington through a collaboration formed with a gravity research group there. This collaboration gives the students experience working in a world-class research environment. Alumni of the laboratory have secured prestigious graduate fellowships and industrial positions. This award greatly contributes to the expansion of research at HSU in the STEM fields. Within the major program, software and hardware developed for this project will be transferable to educational opportunities in the upper division classroom. This award also allows undergraduates to participate in valuable dissemination efforts through presentations at national and regional conferences, as well as publication of research results. Finally, tests of gravity are of great interest to research in diverse fields ranging from astrophysics and cosmology to particle physics and precision measurement science.

This award supports high-precision experiments that will test the Weak Equivalence Principle (WEP) of General Relativity and the gravitational Inverse-Square Law (ISL) at unprecedented levels. The WEP will be tested at the millimeter scale and the ISL will be probed over sub-millimeter distances with unmatched sensitivity down to approximately 25 microns. Both tests use a novel parallel-plate torsion pendulum and attractor mass design. In recent years the study of the gravitational interaction at short (sub-millimeter) distance scales has gained much attention due in a large part to unification scenarios arising in string or M theory that require more than three spatial dimensions, some of which could be macroscopic. Short-range tests of gravity and the WEP also investigate possible proposed mechanisms that attempt to explain the accelerated expansion of the universe, generally attributed to Dark Energy. Finally, such tests present the possibility to search for hypothetical new interactions due to exotic particles or other phenomena. Many scenarios concerning these effects predict a violation of the WEP or ISL at short distances. Since 1999, experimental limits have improved dramatically so that the ISL has proven valid over distances down to approximately 55 microns. A dedicated test of the WEP, however, has not been performed below the millimeter scale. The work described in this proposal will probe the WEP for test mass separations at the sub-millimeter scale. This measurement will be accomplished with a parallel-plate torsion pendulum design that will provide an essentially null experiment and use multiple composition dipole combinations. Similarly, an unparalleled test of the gravitational ISL will be pursued by decreasing the pendulum/attractor test mass separation to 100 microns.


For near shore marine species inhabiting upwelling ecosystems such as the California Current, climate change resulting from the anthropogenic release of CO2 into the atmosphere is likely to induce concurrent conditions of ocean acidification (OA) and hypoxia, which are exacerbated during periods of seasonal upwelling. Although marine fishes have generally been presumed to be tolerant of OA due to their competence in acid-base regulation, recent studies in tropical regions suggest that early life stages may be particularly sensitive to elevated levels of dissolved CO2 (which lowers seawater pH) by impairing respiration, acid-base regulation, and neurotransmitter function. Low levels of dissolved oxygen (DO), which occur during hypoxia, can likewise impact the behavior, physiology and survival of marine fishes. Few studies have addressed the potential interactive effects of a low pH, low DO environment. From molecular tools to whole animal physiology, this research will provide an in-depth examination of an inherently integrative process. The study will use a multiple stressor framework to address the potential threats posed by the independent and combined effects of OA and hypoxia on behavior, physiological capacity, and gene expression in temperate reef fishes. Because mortality in early life stages has important carryover effects, understanding the effects of these stressors is critical for predicting future climate change responses of global fish populations. Such information will lay the groundwork for further studies that address the synergistic effects of multiple stressors and the characteristics of California Current species that influence their ability to tolerate or adapt to changes in ocean chemistry in a rapidly changing climate. Broader impacts of the project include educational opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students at 4 institutions and outreach and educational activities for K-12 students and teachers through the Teaching Enhancement Program. Results will be communicated to fisheries management agencies, oceanographic observing programs, and the science community to provide information on climate change impacts for economically valuable groundfish.

The project goals are to use a combination of laboratory and field studies to examine ecologically and physiologically relevant responses of juvenile rockfish (genus Sebastes) to the independent and interactive effects of ocean acidification and hypoxia. Rockfish will be captured in the field and then reared in the lab at 4 different pCO2 levels and 4 different DO levels to simulate changes in environmental conditions. Response variables include: (1) measures of changes in olfactory capabilities, brain functional asymmetry and problem-solving ability and (2) effects on swimming capabilities, respiration, aerobic performance, and growth. In addition, we will use next generation transcriptome sequencing to examine genome-wide changes in gene expression and enzyme activity for Na+/K+ ATPase (NKA), citrate synthase (CS), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), as proxies for acid-base compensation and metabolic shifts between aerobic and anaerobic metabolism. Oceanographic sensors will be deployed in the field to determine the frequency and intensity of hypoxia and low pH events in near shore habitats in Northern and Central California. Adaptive sampling of juvenile rockfish will be used to evaluate gene expression and physiological responses in individuals exposed in situ to low pH and low DO events in the field. The effects of OA and hypoxia will be compared across rockfish species with different life histories (e.g. larval duration, timing of spawning, etc.) and collected from regions differing in exposure to low pH/low DO events to address the potential for local adaptation. The focus of this project is on responses of the early juvenile stage at the time of settlement, because this stage is exposed to near shore changes in ocean chemistry during a critical period where physiological stress and behavioral disruptions may have the strongest demographic effects due to increased risk of predation.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 457.10K | Year: 2015

An award is made to Humboldt State University (HSU) to acquire a Fluidigm Juno/Biomark system. The Juno/Biomark consists of a real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) instrument and a controller designed to load a variety of microfluidic arrays. PCR is a fast method of copying small segments of DNA critical to molecular and genetic analysis. The instrument supports a diverse set of applications, including gene expression, SNP genotyping, mutant detection, and absolute quantification of nucleic-acid sequences utilizing digital PCR. The key feature of the instrumentation are microfluidic arrays that allow thousands of nanoliter reactions to be run in parallel. Several different microfluidic arrays are available, thus the instrument can support users with low as well as high-throughput needs. The instrument will be housed in the College of Natural Resources and Sciences Core Facility, a shared-use laboratory for teaching and research. The Juno/Biomark will serve as a centerpiece for training undergraduate and graduate students in the sciences, including those in the Stem Cell Biology training program and laboratory sections of Behavioral Neuroscience, Cellular Neuroscience, Conservation Genetics, Genetics, and Animal Physiology. Since HSU is a Hispanic Serving Institution, and has a high concentration of Native American students, this project will enable education and training of underrepresented groups with advanced genetic techniques. Collaboration with local teachers and their students at Hoopa High School (in the Hoopa Tribal Nation), McKinleyville High School, and the Redwood Science Institute, an institute which provides training for high school teachers, will provide opportunities for high school students to use this cutting-edge instrument.

The Juno/Biomark system will be used by a broad range of researchers across multiple departments and scientific disciplines (Biology, Fisheries, Wildlife, and Psychology) at HSU. The hallmark of the instrumentation is its capacity to support a diversity of applications and its versatility to accommodate different throughput needs, including high-throughput options. Researchers Andrew Kinziger, Sean Craig, Ehtan Gahtan, Micaela Szykman Gunther, Brian Tissot, Darren Ward, Margaret Wilzbach, Jianmin Zhong and colleagues will use the instrumentation to conduct investigations in the areas of conservation and management of fishes, ecology and evolution of invasive species, behavioral neuroscience, behavior and social interactions of mammals, conservation ecology of marine fishes and invertebrates, and detection and control of tick-borne diseases. The new instrumentation will enhance existing research programs and allow investigations that are essentially impossible with existing equipment. The Juno/Biomark system will substantially improve research infrastructure at HSU and the region by providing access to high throughput genetic capabilities to a rural area of northern California far from other universities with comparable instrumentation.

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