Latest Achievements

Updates about the latest accomplishments—including latest research, publications, and awards—by students, faculty, and staff

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November, 2022

Micaela Szykman Gunther, Ho Yi Wan, Wildlife
Drs. Micaela Szykman Gunther and Ho Yi Wan received a $170,000 grant from the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) to support a distribution study on the marten and fisher, two closely related members of the weasel family that are both species of special concern. The project aims to assess potential shifts in the species’ distributions after wildfires in Lassen County, and will support two Department of Wildlife graduate students. Findings will determine if certain management strategies or habitat types are more resilient to fire, potentially serving as refugia for martens and fishers.
Pedro Peloso, Biological Sciences
Research Associate Dr. Pedro Peloso and collaborators have discovered and described a new species of frog from South America (Brazil and French Guiana). They revealed this discovery in a paper titled "A new Chiasmocleis (Anura: Microhylidae) from the eastern Guiana Shield with an amended definition of C. haddadi", published in the Journal Zootaxa.
Laura Johnson, Geography
Dr. Laura Johnson, a lecturer in departments of Geography and Environmental Studies, was interviewed on the Sacred Community Project Podcast. Her conversation with host Sitaram Dass, MSW, revolved around ecological grief, rest as radical practice, embodied activism, and postcapitalist futures, among other related topics. Feel free to listen or share here: 
Bonnie Ludka, Adam Young, Robert Guza, William O’Reilly, Mark Merrifield, Environmental Resources Engineering
Dr. Bonnie Ludka and colleagues have published a paper in Coastal Engineering titled "Alongshore variability of a southern California beach, before and after nourishment." Their work investigates the link between wave-driven alongshore currents and hotspots of beach erosion and accretion on a southern California beach. Additionally, they analyze the effectiveness (both positive and negative impacts) of beach nourishment as a coastal management technique to manage the hotspots. The influence of alongshore sand transport on the migration and closure of a nearby river mouth is also discussed.
Frank Juma Ong'ondo, Frank Fogarty III, Peter Njoroge, and Matt Johnson, Wildlife
Wildlife graduate student Frank Juma Ong'ondo and his collaborators Drs. Frank Fogarty and Matt Johnson from Humboldt Wildlife, and Dr. Peter Njoroge from the National Museums of Kenya published a paper entitled "Bird abundance and diversity in shade coffee and natural forest in Kenya" in the journal Global Ecology & Conservation. Open access link here.
Dr. Oscar M. Vargas-Hernandez, Biological Sciences
Assistant Professor Dr. Oscar Vargas and collaborators published a paper titled "Evolutionary history constrains heat tolerance of native and exotic tropical Zingiberales." The paper studies the thermal tolerance of native and wild gingers in Costa Rica, discussing its implications to conservation and the biology of invasive species. 
Matt Johnson, Wildlife
Wildlife faculty member Matt Johnson has secured a new grant ($659,987) from the Agricultural Research Institute to investigate the use of nest boxes for bluebirds and swallows for insect pest control in winegrape vineyards. The 3-year project is in collaboration with researchers at UC Davis (Dr. Daniel Karp) and UC Riverside (Drs. Erin Wilson-Rankin and S. Houston Wilson), and it will fund a post-doctoral researcher and multiple undergraduate students from Cal Poly Humboldt, along with a PhD student at UC Davis. The research will occur in Napa Valley.
Brittany D. Light and Robert W. Zoellner, Chemistry
Professor Emeritus Robert W. Zoellner and his former student, Brittany D. Light, have published a "mini-review" entitled "Chemistry with a capital Z:  The superheavy elements, Flerovium" in the Summer 2022 issue of The Hexagon of Alpha Chi Sigma:  B. D. Light and R. W. Zoellner, The Hexagon of Alpha Chi Sigma2022113(2), 20-24.
Tara S. Caso, Robert W. Zoellner, Chemistry
Professor Emeritus Robert W. Zoellner and his former student, Tara S. Caso, have published a peer-reviewed article entitled "The effect of substituents on the hypothetical decomposition energies of triacetone triperoxide (TATP) derivatives:  Structures and properties from density functional calculations":  T. S Caso, R. W. Zoellner, Journal of Undergraduate Chemistry Research 202221, 106-110.

October, 2022

Alison O'Dowd, Environmental Science & Management
Dr. Alison O'Dowd, with collaborators in the Yurok Tribe and Hoopa Valley Tribe, was awarded $123,000 by the Trinity River Restoration Program to explore the effects of scour and marginal inundation on Trinity River invertebrate communities. River invertebrates are an important food resource for salmonids and this study will investigate if longer periods of winter inundation can bolster invertebrate populations.  The other aspect of the study will use monthly invertebrate sampling to see if high-flow winter scouring events can 're-set' the system and increase fish food later in the season (as has been shown in other research).
Pedro Peloso and Brandice Guerra, Biological Sciences
Dr. Pedro Peloso and Brandice Guerra, M.F.A., received a $10,000 grant from the Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation to support a scientific illustration residency program at Cal Poly Humboldt. The program will recruit a student or recent graduate from anywhere in the world to work with faculty from the departments of Art+Film and Biology. The intern will create a series of illustrations of recently extinct Brazilian frogs, and share their work and artistic process through a lecture or exhibition on campus.
Linda Kuckuk, English
Linda J. Kuckuk (graduate student, M.A. English, Applied English Studies) is presenting a paper titled "Interwoven Stories/Embroidered Identity" at the 119th Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA) Conference in November 2022. The conference theme is "Geographies of the Fantastic and the Quotidian." Linda's presentation will be part of a session on ideas about "Auto/biography."     
Alexandra Papesh and Tanner Hooven, Physics & Astronomy
Congratulations to Physics & Astronomy majors Alexandra Papesh and Tanner Hooven who presented Cal Poly Humboldt gravitational physics research at the 2022 Far West Section Meeting of the American Physical Society. This year around 100 researchers were welcomed by the University of Hawai'i, Manoa in Honolulu to share knowledge, network, and learn about recent groundbreaking results. Great work!!
Dr. Christopher Hopper (KINS), Dr. Sheila Rocker Heppe (CEEGE), Joy Hermsen (LDRS), and Betsy Rogers (LDRS), School of Applied Health
Dr. Christopher Hopper, Program Director; Dr. Sheila Rocker Heppe, Director of Extended Education; Joy Hermsen, faculty; and Betsy Rogers, Academic Advisor, presented at the California Community College Association for Occupational Education Conference (CCCAOE) to an audience of faculty and administrators representing vocational/technical degrees throughout the CCC system. The presentation highlighted transfer pathways for members of the vocational and technical workforce to earn their bachelor’s degree in Leadership Studies, a fully online major at Cal Poly Humboldt, and shared how California community college programs can build transfer agreements that cater to working adults.
Molly Parren, Daniel Barton, and Barbara Clucas, Wildlife
Molly Parren, MS graduate in Wildlife, published results from her MS thesis research, "Drought and coyotes mediate mesopredator response to human disturbance" in the ESA open-access journal Ecosphere, co-authored with Cal Poly Humboldt faculty Drs. Daniel Barton and Barbara Clucas and CDFW scientists Dr. Brett Furnas and Misty Nelson. This work addressed how California's extreme drought and coyotes in 2013-16 influenced interactions between bobcats, kit foxes, raccoons, and human disturbance at 585 study sites throught California's Central Valley and Mojave Deserts.
Alan Tepley, Forestry, Fire & Rangeland Management
Alan Tepley was the lead author on a paper that evaluates trends in wildfire evacuations across Canada's forested regions over the last four decades. The study summarizes spatial variation in the characteristics of the fires that led to evacuations (e.g., the size, seasonality, and ignition sources) and the communities exposed (e.g., population, access to the road network, and trends in evacuations on First Nations reserves vs. non-reserves). Understanding the key risk factors and how they vary spatially across Canada and temporally over the fire season will aid in planning for future fire seasons.    
Hunter Harrill, Will Goldenberg, Forestry, Fire & Rangeland Management
Dr. Hunter Harrill (Forestry, Fire, and Rangeland Management) was invited to deliver a presentation titled, "Creating Immersive Field Trips and Assignments During COVID" for a panel session on Forest Operations Education at the COFE-FORMEC-IUFRO Division 3 International Conference of Forest Engineering, in Corvallis, Oregon, October 4-7th, 2022. His presentation featured the high quality virtual field trips that were filmed and produced by Humboldt alumni Will Goldenberg, that are now helping professors from other universities around the world, to educate their students. Dr. Harrill also served as a moderator for a panel session on Forest Operations Planning Issues and Opportunities. 
Dennis Lindelof, Lisa Elconin, Huntington Paulson, Amanda Admire, Geology
On Saturday October 1st, the Geology Club officers, Dennis Lindelof, Lisa Elconin and Huntington Paulson, joined the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group and Humboldt Earthquake Education Center to participate in Pastels on the Plaza. Their design promoted the Great ShakeOut happening on October 20th at 10:20 am, and it highlighted the importance of earthquake and tsunami awareness and preparedness. Check out their design on the Arcata Plaza! We encourage everyone to sign up and participate in ShakeOut during Safety Week so you too can practice your earthquake and tsunami drill. Preparedness makes a difference! 
Karolyn Fagundes, Hunter Harrill, Susan Marshall, Andrew Stubblefield, Han-Sup Han, Forestry, Fire & Rangeland Management
Karolyn Fagundes (Forestry, Fire, and Rangeland Management) was invited to deliver a presentation highlighting her Master's thesis research, titled, "Assessing Soil Disturbance from a Tethered Feller Buncher on Steep Slopes in Northern California." The presentation was part of a panel session on Environmental Impacts at the COFE-FORMEC-IUFRO Division 3 International Conference of Forest Engineering, in Corvallis, Oregon, October 4-7th, 2022. 
Logan Hysen, Wildlife
Logan Hysen, M.S. student from the Department of Wildlife, was selected to be the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship given by the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the California Association of Environmental Professionals. The scholarship supports students pursuing a career in the environmental field. Logan is conducting research on environmental impacts on northern spotted owl for his thesis.
Hunter Harrill, Forestry, Fire & Rangeland Management
Dr. Hunter Harrill received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service to conduct a study that will determine the size, scale, and capabilities of the logging industry in California. The main objective of the project is to survey the industry to quantify the number of crews that exist and their characteristics (e.g. capacity, employment, equipment, capabilities), and improve our understanding of their challenges, opinions, business outlook, and vision for the future. Findings will inform land managers about the potential for types of forest operations and available capacity in their respective area.
David Adams, School of Applied Health
David Adams published the following article. Adams, D., Bittner, M., Lavay, B., & Silliman-French, L. (2022). Adapted Physical Education Teachers Prior Training and Current use of Action Research to Monitor Student Progress. PALAESTRA, 36(3) 35-43.    
Logan Hysen, Danial Nayeri, Ho Yi Wan, Wildlife
In Summer 2022, Logan Hysen and Danial Nayeri, graduate students of the Wildlife Department, were awarded a $1,000 research grant from the California North Coast Chapter of the Wildlife Society. This grant will be used to conduct a pilot research on northern spotted owl prey species in recently burned forest landscapes. They will be conducting the research under the supervision of Dr. Ho Yi Wan.
Jen Maguire, Centers for Equitable Higher Education
Dr. Jen Maguire received a $150,000 grant from the College Futures Foundation to support strategic planning for the Centers for Equitable Higher Education (CEHE) at CSU Long Beach and Cal Poly Humboldt. The initiative will allow CEHE to define an expanded effort to generate research that advances policy and practice changes to better meet student basic needs in California.
Nievita Bueno Watts, Indian Natural Resources, Science & Engineering Program
Dr. Nievita Bueno Watts received a $1.3 million Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Program grant from the US Department of Education. McNair is a prestigious national program that prepares selected first generation college students from low income backgrounds for doctoral studies by providing opportunities for research and other scholarly activities, summer research institute, seminars, and academic counseling. This includes assistance to students in securing admission to graduate programs. The McNair Scholars program is the latest in a suite of TRiO programs available at Cal Poly Humboldt which include EOP/Student Support Services, Educational Talent Search, and Upward Bound.