Publications and achievements submitted by our faculty, staff, and students. 


Faculty Jeffrey Black, Micaela Szykman Gunther and student Kristin Brzeski Wildlife

Wildlife Professors Jeffrey Black and Micaela Szykman Gunther recently co-authored a paper with student Kristin Brzeski in _The Journal of Wildlife Management_ evaluating the status of river otters in Humboldt Bay. River otters have experienced dramatic population declines in the last century and relatively few studies have evaluated their status, especially in California. Black, Gunther and Brzeski evaluated the population of river otters in Humboldt Bay by extracting DNA from the animals' scat. They analyzed the scat in the lab to create unique river otter "fingerprints." They pooled that data with visual observations from a citizen science project and determined that the Humboldt Bay is home to a larger number of river otters than previously expected. It also has a higher density of the creatures compared to other coastal systems. To read the full paper, visit

Submitted: November 25, 2013

Student Georgia Kaufman Biological Sciences

Georgia Kaufman, a Cellular & Molecular Biology major (adviser Professor Jacob Varkey) has been awarded the 2013 Jack and Maureen Yarnall Scholarship for a Student Athlete majoring in the Biological Sciences. Georgia is a junior and a member of the HSU Crew Team.

Submitted: November 20, 2013

Student Jairo Luque Villanueva Environmental Resources Engineering

Jairo Luque Villanueva ('15, Environmental Resources Engineering) was one of 33 students nationwide to receive a prestigious GRO Fellowship from the Environmental Protection Agency. GRO recipients are eligible to receive up to $50,000 over two years for their studies in the sciences and math. They also receive an EPA internship. Villanueva is interning with ERE professor Andrea Achilli. He is researching forward osmosis and membrane distillation wastewater treatment/water reuse. Villanueva previously served as a student assistant and tutor for HSU's Indian Natural Resource, Science and Engineering Program and as a summer research intern at the University of Minnesota.

Submitted: November 19, 2013

Alumni Jonathan Castro Geology

HSU alum Jonathan Castro ('93, Geology) recently co-authored a paper that provides scientists with the first direct insight into the rocky lava known as obsidian flow. Castro, a professor at the University of Mainz in Germany, captured footage and images of a volcanic eruption in Chile in 2012. He and his colleagues found that contrary to popular belief, the lava kept moving more than a year after the eruption. The findings were published in recent issue of Nature Communications. For the BBC News article, visit

Submitted: November 18, 2013

Staff Craig Kurumada Computer Science

Craig is playing the leader of the Kabuki muses in the Redwood Curtain Theatre's production of "Far East" by A.R. Gurney, directed by Craig Benson. The story is set in 1954 Japan where three American naval officers and one wife are stationed. Benson's interpretation has set the American play atop a traditional kabuki setting. For reviews of the play go to:…


HSU students Denise Truong and Cody Miranda are also cast in the play. Look for their achievements under Students.

Submitted: November 14, 2013

Faculty Tasha Souza, Eileen Cashman and Matthew Johnson

Three HSU faculty members received Fulbright awards in 2013-14, making Humboldt State a leading producer of Fulbright scholars among U.S. master’s institutions. Tasha Souza, a professor in the Communication Department, will partner with the Instructional Development Unit at the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill in Barbados to build faculty development programs, teach workshops and courses for faculty and lead faculty learning communities to enhance student learning and faculty innovation. Eileen Cashman, a professor in the Environmental Resources Engineering Department, will lecture and research hydroelectricity in Santarem, Brazil. Matthew Johnson, a professor in the Wildlife Department, will lecture and research the ecosystem of coffee farms in Bangalore, India.

Submitted: November 5, 2013

Student Araik Sinanyan and Gritidach Manakitivipart

Araik Sinanyan (Cellular/Molecular Biology) and Gritidach Manakitivipart (Wildlife Management & Conservation) won Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation at the 2013 SACNAS National Conference. SACNAS stands for the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos & Native Americans. Sinanyan's winning poster was titled "BPA Slows Down Medial and Lateral Giant Fiber Conduction Velocity and Disrupts Regeneration in Lumbriculus variegatus." His advisor was Biological Sciences Professor Bruce O'Gara. Manakitivipart's poster was titled "Engineering Low Cost Ocean Observation Systems: Their Potential In The Field And Education." His mentors were James Manning and Ambrose Jearld Jr. of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Both students are part of INRSEP, HSU's Indian Natural Resource Science and Engineering Program.

Submitted: November 4, 2013

Staff Craig Kurumada Computer Science

will be performing as a Kabuki Muse in Redwood Curtain's production of Far East, a play by A.R.Gurney, directed by Craig Benson. The play runs Oct. 31 - Nov. 23, Thurs-Saturday, 8 p.m.

Submitted: October 31, 2013

Alumni Amanda Admire Environmental Science & Management

Amanda Admire ('13, Environmental Systems) presented on her master's thesis at the International Tsunami Symposium in Göcek, Turkey on September 28.

Submitted: October 23, 2013

Faculty Professor Terry Henkel Biological Sciences

Professor Terry Henkel was one of several authors who contributed to a paper in the Oct. 18 issue of "Science" titled "Hyperdominance in the Amazonian tree flora," a massive meta-analysis of tree distribution patterns over tropical South America based on data from 1,430 plots across the entire region. Terry contributed data from a number of these plots from the Guianas region, which were unique to the dataset in exhibiting the highest levels of single species dominance and lowest overall woody plant alpha-diversity.

Submitted: October 18, 2013

Student Graeme Lock & Derrick Hicks

The Humboldt State University team of fisheries biology major Graeme Lock of Arcata, and business major Derrick Hicks of Lincoln, Calif., won the FLW College Fishing Western Conference Invitational tournament on Clear Lake with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 1 ounce. Their two-day total of 10 bass weighing 41-10 earned the club $4,000 and qualified the team for the 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

Submitted: October 15, 2013

Student Phil Chaon, Alisa Muniz, Justin Purnell, Felicia Aragon, Andrew Wiegardt and Brendan Higgins Wildlife

Humboldt State University's Wildlife Quizbowl Team placed second in the student Quizbowl of the National Meeting of the Wildlife Society in Milwaukee. The single elimination tournament included 17 teams. HSU won the first match against University of Montana 95-25. The team won its second match against University of Wisconsin, Madison, 125-10, and its third match against Michigan Tech 85-70. The team was narrowly defeated in the final round by the University of Minnesota, Crookston, 105 to 100. This year marks the 13th time HSU competed at the National Quizbowl, with nine wins to date.

The quizbowl team included Phil Chaon (captain), Alisa Muniz, Justin Purnell, Felicia Aragon, and Andrew Wiegardt (alternate player).

The national meeting also included students presented "research in progress" posters. Muniz placed in top 20 (among 100+ posters, most by graduate and doctoral students). Student Brendan Higgins won several awards for some of his photos, including best of show.

Submitted: October 10, 2013

Student Travis DiGennaro and Crystal Welch Forestry, Fire & Rangeland Management

Rangeland Resources Science majors Travis DiGennaro and Crystal Welch will share the $1,000 Paul Zinke Memorial Scholarship Award for 2013. Travis is an assistant for the introductory soils course, is enrolled in the Wildland Soils option of the range major, and hails from Napa, CA. Crystal Welch is also in the Wildland Soils option and has called Humboldt County and Port Orford, Oregon home. Travis and Crystal will be presenting an undergraduate research poster on actinomycetes found in mushroom compost at the Soil Science Society of America Annual Meetings in Tampa, Florida in November 2013. They join seven past HSU Zinke Award winners: Barbara Witmore (’05), M.S. New Mexico State University, currently employed by the Bureau of Land Management; Rosemary Records (‘06) now in a Ph.D. program at Colorado State University; Sarah Schuette (‘09), co-owner of Dirty Business Consulting of Arcata; Allison Rofe, (‘12) who is a rangeland management specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Ukiah, CA; Jasmine Westbrook (‘12), currently enrolled in a M.S. program at Montana State University; and Stephanie Winters (‘13), a seasonal employee with BKS Environmental of Gillette, WY.

Submitted: October 1, 2013

Faculty Mark Colwell Wildlife

Mark Colwell delivered an invited plenary talk on the challenges of conserving threatened species at the 5th Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group meeting in Santa Marta, Colombia on 20 September 2013.

Submitted: September 28, 2013

Faculty Barbara Clucas Wildlife

Wildlife faculty member Barbara Clucas recently co-authored a study suggesting that crows can recognize human faces. For the study, Clucas and her team approached crows in Seattle while directly looking at them and while averting their gaze. The crows scattered earlier when they were being directly stared at, suggesting that they have adapted to living in urban areas. The full article was published in the April issue of the journal _Ethology_.

Submitted: September 16, 2013

Staff Michael Kauffman Biological Sciences

Michael Kauffman, of HSU's Redwood Science Project, has published _Conifers of the Pacific Slope_, a contemporary field guide for identifying Pacific Slope conifers. The book includes color plates for identifying 65 species, photos, maps and destinations for finding conifers in the field. In 2012, Kauffmann published _Conifer Country_, a natural history and hiking guide to the biodiversity of the region—as seen through the eyes of conifers.

Submitted: September 12, 2013

Student Practivistas Dominicana Environmental Resources Engineering

Students in Engineering lecturer Lonny Grafman's Practivistas Dominicana program recently returned from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where they worked with community members and local students to develop sustainable, appropriate technologies. Among the projects they completed this summer: designing and building a rural, public pharmacy from plastic bottles and blocks made from rice husks, rice husk ash, lime, cement and sand; redesigning and installing a rainwater catchment system to serve a grade school in the inner-city barrio of La Yuca; developing and constructing renewable energy systems for a local animal shelter. In 2014, students will return to La Yuca and in Las Malvinas, Dominican Republic.

Submitted: September 11, 2013

Student William McMeekin, Simone Groves Environmental Resources Engineering

Two HSU students in the Practivistas Dominicana Program worked with a team to design and build solar power cubes for a hard-to-adopt animal shelter in Dominican Republic. The student project upcycles intermediate bulk containers and uses photovoltaics to power vaccine refrigeration, kennel lighting, cell phones and laptops.

The animal shelter project named Ghetto2Garden is still under construction in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The students work is highlighted by Inhabitat at and documented on Appropedia at

Submitted: September 3, 2013

Student Faith Neff Environmental Resources Engineering

Faith Neff ('15, Environmental Resources Engineering) was one of 26 students from around the country to participate in the 2013 Harvard Forest Summer Research Program, an 11-week program in ecological research for undergraduate and graduate students.

Neff was part of a two-person team that created and designed an aerial tram under the supervision of Paul Siquiera, an engineering professor at the University of Massachusetts and Mark Van Scoy, a Harvard Forest research assistant. Neff will present their study, “Monitoring ecosystem physiology and vegetation structure in recent clearings," at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union Dec. 9-13 in San Francisco.

The annual Harvard Forest Summer Research Program runs May to August in the Harvard Forest located in Petersham, Mass. Students conduct paid, supervised research focusing on the effects of natural and human disturbances on forest ecosystems, including global climate change, hurricanes, forest harvest, changing wildlife dynamics, and invasive species. The program is funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA and several U.S. universities.

Submitted: August 20, 2013

Student Zoe Merrill, Rachelle Dilley, Stephanie Winters, Kyle Garvey, and Braden Pitcher Forestry, Fire & Rangeland Management

Five Humboldt State University students passed the rigorous “Fundamentals of Soil Science” exam offered on April 15, 2013, becoming Associate Professional Soil Scientists, according to test results from the Council of Soil Science Examiners. Zoe Merrill, Kyle Garvey and Braden Pitcher graduated with degrees in Wildland Soils in the Rangeland Resource Science major. Stephanie Winters graduated with the Rangeland Resources option and completed sufficient soils courses to be a federal Soil Scientist. Rachelle Dilley graduated with a degree in Botany.

The national pass rate for the spring 2013 exam was 63%. Those who pass the fundamentals exam will be eligible to take the Professional Practice exam after five years of professional experience, an additional step in becoming a Certified Professional Soil Scientist. Recent Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) discussions about program self-certification have included the fundamentals exam as one indicator of program quality. Humboldt State University Wildland Soils students (an option under the Rangeland Resource Science major) spend more than 200 hours in field or laboratory learning experiences, honing hands-on skills and field judgment of soil properties, limitations, and capabilities.

Submitted: August 15, 2013