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A Closer Look

A Hole in One for STEM Education

October 9, 2014

Category: A Closer Look

CSU teaching credential students are getting hands-on experience teaching scientific principles like Archimedes’ principle and Newton’s theory of gravity through their application in sports like baseball and golf.

The future teachers from CSU campuses across the state are serving as mentors in the Chevron STEM ZONE, an interactive exhibit that highlights the scientific side of sports through a variety of hands-on learning stations for kids. The idea is that sports can make science more engaging.

STEM ZONE travels to a number of golfing and sporting events throughout the state. At nearly each stop, local CSU students are invited to serve as exhibit mentors. CSU faculty prepare the teacher candidates to highlight scientific and engineering practices, depending on the sport.

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CSU Labs Recognized Globally for Shark Research

September 11, 2014

Category: A Closer Look

Students and faculty at the CSU’s Pacific Shark Research Center in Monterey have discovered dozens of new shark species. The Shark Lab at CSU Long Beach uses cutting edge technology developed by student engineers to track white sharks.

The two labs are recognized around the world for their research on sharks, which has been printed in countless journals and featured on TV networks including National Geographic, PBS, BBC and the Discovery Channel.

In both labs, much of this discovery and innovation comes from student researchers who get hands-on experience, training and guidance from faculty mentors Dave Ebert and Chris Lowe.

Students working in Dave Ebert’s Pacific Shark Research Center have discovered so many shark species, the lab has about 30 to be named.

“About one-fifth of all new shark species have only been discovered within the past ten years,” Ebert said. “My lab has been responsible for about 10 percent of those—making us the second-leading institute for discovering new species.”

The Pacific Shark Research Center is part of the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in Monterey, which serves a consortium of CSU campuses in Northern and Central California. Student researchers get hands-on experience using the lab’s state-of-the-art marine science equipment.

Paul Clerkin, a San José State graduate student working in Ebert’s lab, discovered eight new shark species during a 2012 expedition to the Southern Indian Ocean. His findings captured the attention of producers at the Discovery Channel and he was featured in the network’s “Shark Week” programming over the summer.

Ebert says he hopes that all of this attention can lead to more reliable sources of funding for research in his lab.

The CSULB Shark Lab focuses on understanding the behavior and migration patterns of sharks and rays. The lab aims to provide the public with science-based information about sharks so they will understand why they are important and why they are worth protecting.

Professor Chris Lowe is carrying on the legacy of Donald Nelson, who started the lab back in 1966. Nelson was a pioneer in shark research and the first to utilize tracking technology. Lowe continues to develop innovative tracking technology, his lab recently creating autonomous underwater robots to track tagged sharks.

Lowe’s lab often partners with the computer science and engineering departments at CSU Long Beach, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and other universities to develop and integrate much of this new technology.

“When biology students are working side by side with science and engineering students, they have the ability to get more done,” Lowe said. “Combining disciplines in this way is the wave of the future and something that is garnering interest and funding from major research organizations.”

Ebert and Lowe’s labs have teamed up for a number of projects, utilizing each other’s knowledge and resources.

“Our research is furthering conservation efforts,” Lowe said. “The more we know about sharks, the more likely we are to make changes that benefit both sharks and humans.”


Dr. Christopher Lowe highlights his lab’s research on white sharks, which serve a very important role in Southern California’s marine ecosystem.


Marine biology equipment at CSU Long Beach gives students hands-on learning experience.

Collaborative Research Leads to CSU Science Success

August 25, 2014

Category: A Closer Look

By Stephanie Thara

The juvenile gopher rockfish is one of the species that research faculty are working with to determine how fish are affected by climate change. (photo credit: Jocelyn Douglas)

The juvenile gopher rockfish is one of the species that research faculty are working with to determine how fish are affected by climate change. (photo credit: Jocelyn Douglas)

CSU faculty members continue to make waves in the science community as five CSU researchers have won a prestigious grant of nearly $900,000 from the National Science Foundation to conduct collaborative research on ocean acidification and hypoxia. Dr. Scott Hamilton from Moss Landing Marine Laboratory-San Jose State, Dr. Cheryl Logan from CSU Monterey Bay and Drs. Brian Tissot, Eric Bjorkstedt and Jeffrey Abell from Humboldt State will be combining their expertise to examine how climate change can affect the behavior, physiology and gene expression of rocky reef fishes.
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CSUMB Student Selected for Prestigious Marine Scholarship

August 14, 2014

Category: A Closer Look

Emily Aiken

CSU Monterey Bay Graduate Student Emily Aiken will be developing innovative technology to further advance research on the wonders of the deep sea thanks to the 2014 Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship.

Awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, this year’s scholarship was awarded to only three graduate-level students nationwide and recognizes scholars for their outstanding research.
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10 Inventions Made in the CSU

August 13, 2014

Category: A Closer Look

CSU campuses are hotbeds for innovation: campus resources and faculty mentorship gives students the support system to develop into entrepreneurs, while faculty research provides solutions and innovations to meet the needs of California’s changing economy.

Here are 10 inventions—ranging from scientific and medical breakthroughs to everyday household items—that you may not know came from the great minds of CSU faculty and alumni.

Student Researchers Connect with CSU President, Trustees

April 2, 2014

Category: A Closer Look

CSU Bakersfield student Kelsey Padilla discussing her research on the relationship between sea surface temperatures and precipitation levels with CSUB President Horace Mitchell and Governor Jerry Brown
CSU Bakersfield student Kelsey Padilla discussing her research on the relationship between sea surface temperatures and precipitation levels with CSUB President Horace Mitchell and Governor Jerry Brown

Student researchers and their faculty mentors spend years working on projects that help solve complex water and coastal zone challenges. For 25 student-faculty teams, their experiments culminated with presentations of their findings to Governor Jerry Brown, CSU campus presidents, Trustees and other CSU officials after the Board of Trustees meeting on March 25.

“It’s so nice that the Trustees and Presidents get to speak to students one-on-one , see what they are working on and hear what they have learned at the CSU,” said Dr. Krista Kamer, director of CSU’s Council on Ocean Affairs, Science & Technology (COAST). “These students are the end product of what our Trustees and Presidents are fighting for and why they do what they do.”
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Keeping the Water Flowing

March 21, 2014

Category: A Closer Look

Image courtesy of

It has been a dry year for the Golden State so far, and the drought is only projected to get worse. The rain received in February was not enough to be a drought-breaker, and California’s rainfall deficit is still rapidly reaching record highs. With the significant reduction in the number of crops being grown and devastatingly low river and reservoir ebb and flow tides, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency. Managing the state’s water resources is crucial in helping maintain the health of California, and the CSU is taking necessary actions to produce proficient leaders in the water industry.
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Research Takes Spotlight at CSU Symposium

January 28, 2014

Category: A Closer Look

Nearly 700 students, faculty, alumni, administrators and partners gathered at the 26th annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium in Santa Clara Jan. 9-11 to share research and advance innovation in the life sciences.

The symposium, organized by the CSU’s Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB), showcases the research of hundreds of students working toward high-demand science, technology, engineering and math degrees. More >>

Igniting Fire Research at HSU’S Fire Lab

November 15, 2013

Category: A Closer Look

HSU Fire Lab

In 2012, federal agencies spent $1.9 billion battling wildfires in the United States. Wildfires are getting larger, causing more damage and becoming more dangerous and expensive to fight. Humboldt State University’s Wildland Fire Laboratory is working to understand the flammability differences of fuels in an effort to better manage wildfires and lessen the negative impacts they can have on ecosystems.

As one of only three universities in the nation to have an active indoor fire research lab, HSU’s Wildland Fire Lab houses state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge technologies that allow students and faculty to work together to study fire behavior. Faculty and students conduct research that tests the flammability of different fuels (tree debris, grasses and decomposed organic matter that help spread wildfires) using the fire lab’s burning facility, thermal infrared imaging camera and fire modeling software.

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Archive Enables Salton Sea Solutions

October 31, 2013

Category: A Closer Look

Salton Sea

Southern California’s Salton Sea is a big, complicated problem, and for the past 30 years, lawmakers, farmers, environmentalists, water agencies and other stakeholders have been trying to solve it.

In fact, it’s hard to keep track of all the work that’s been done. The Salton Sea Authority, a joint powers authority that aims to revitalize the sea, fears that the same research is being recommissioned. That would waste valuable time and resources as the sea’s condition continues to deteriorate.

By creating a Salton Sea Repository, the Water Resources Institute (WRI) at CSU San Bernardino is facilitating potential solutions. The archives are expected to help the Salton Sea Authority and others assess and understand potential restoration plans—with all of the research and documents in one place, they don’t have to start from scratch.

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