Recent News

Cal Poly Researchers Studying Food Challenges in San Luis Obispo County

Jul 22, 2021


Team Aims to Create Data-driven Food Policy for California

SAN LUIS OBISPO — An interdisciplinary team of Cal Poly faculty members is working to create a coherent, coordinated approach to food policy to replace outdated and uncoordinated policies currently governing food systems and nutrition education.

With a goal to address human and environmental health and address 21st century food system challenges including food insecurity, obesity, sustainable food production, and more, the student and faculty researchers have been working with the SLO Food System Coalition to help organize four roundtables to discuss local food system challenges. The group also started a food policy working group within the coalition.

Cal Poly Study Reveals Morro Bay Seagrass Loss Causes Shift in Fish Populations

Jul 9, 2021


New research highlights biological changes within Central Coast estuary when a primary eelgrass habitat is lost 

 Iliana Arroyos
SAN LUIS OBISPO — The loss of seagrass habitat caused a dramatic shift in fish species in Morro Bay, according to a recently published paper by Cal Poly researchers. Areas of the bay once covered with lush eelgrass meadows and unique fish species are now home to muddy-seafloor-loving flatfish. 

Seagrass meadows were previously common throughout the Morro Bay estuary, according to the study, “Effects of Estuary-Wide Seagrass Loss on Fish Populations,” which was published this spring in the journal Estuaries and Coasts.

“Seagrass, like the eelgrass in Morro Bay, is important because it supports a range of marine life,” said Jennifer O’Leary, who led the research as a California Sea Grant extension specialist based at Cal Poly. “It’s like the trees in a forest — these underwater plants provide food, structure and shelter to many of the marine animals that live in the bay.”

Cal Poly Political Science Student Accepted to Panetta Institute Congressional Internship Program

Jul 6, 2021


Desiree NunesSAN LUIS OBISPO — Desiree Nunes, a third-year political science major from Fremont, California, will serve as Cal Poly’s 2021 representative to the Panetta Institute Congressional Internship Program.

After a two-week training period at the Panetta Institute at CSU Monterey Bay, she will work in the capitol office of a California congressional representative in Washington, D.C., for 11 weeks in the fall. 

"Ultimately, I know that I want to work in the intersection of law and government, and I can't think of any better way to gain experience toward this goal than learning from the leaders in Congress themselves through the Panetta Institute," said Nunes. "I've appreciated my previous education about the effects of legislation through my courses and work experience, and I am thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to see these policies develop at the federal level."

Cal Poly Rodeo Team Advances to National Final

Jun 29, 2021


Livermore resident Grant Peterson places second in steer wrestling

Grant Peterson, a second-year agricultural systems management major, competes in the steer wrestling event at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming.
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Eleven members of Cal Poly’s Rodeo Team qualified to compete in the 72nd annual College National Finals Rodeo held June 11-19 in Casper, Wyoming, where one student-athlete came away with a second-place win: Grant Peterson, a second-year agricultural systems management major, placed second in the steer wrestling event.

Student-athletes who advanced to the finals are: Peterson, of Livermore, California, and regional champion Ethan Usher of Santa Ynez, California, in steer wrestling; Maggie Usher of Santa Ynez, California, and Hannah Steagall of Sanger, California, in goat tying; Karson Mebane of Bakersfield, California, and Quintin McWhorter of San Luis Obispo in saddle bronc riding; Cole Tart of San Luis Obispo in bareback riding; Kathryn Varian of Parkfield, California, and Kelsey Cadwell of Oakdale, California, in barrel racing; Jason Andersen of Salinas, California, in tie-down roping; and Tyree Cochrane of San Luis Obispo in team roping.

Rattlesnakes May Like Climate Change, Cal Poly Study Says

Jun 28, 2021


Former Cal Poly undergraduate Mallory Harmel radiotracks rattlesnakes at Montaña de Oro State Park on a foggy morning in summer 2018.
SAN LUIS OBISPO — When it comes to climate change, not all organisms will lose out. A new Cal Poly study finds that rattlesnakes are likely to benefit from a warming climate.

A combination of factors makes a warming climate beneficial to rattlesnakes that are found in almost every part of the continental United States but are especially common in the Southwest.

Rattlers are experts at thermoregulation. Researchers found that, when given a choice, the snakes prefer a body temperature of 86-89 degrees Fahrenheit, a much warmer temperature than they generally experience in nature. The average body temperature of coastal rattlesnakes in the study was 70 degrees, and for inland rattlers it was 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cal Poly Researchers Launch Project RattleCam, a Community Science Project to Study Rattlesnake Behavior

Jun 23, 2021


Pregnant prairie rattlesnakes bask on a rocky hillside near Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
SAN LUIS OBISPO — A multi-university team that includes Cal Poly researchers today launched a community science project that seeks to understand rattlesnake behavior by using cameras to view the snakes in their natural habitat.

Project RattleCam, which is hosted on the Zooniverse community science website, gives members of the public the chance to analyze thousands of time-lapse images taken at rattlesnake dens near Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Members of the public can register for a free Zooniverse account and immediately begin assisting with research by answering questions about the photos, including counting the number of adult and baby snakes in each photo, identifying predators, and more.

Cal Poly Names Damon Fleming as New Dean of Orfalea College of Business

Jun 18, 2021


Damon Fleming
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Damon Fleming, dean and professor of accounting of the Fogelman College of Business and Economics at the University of Memphis, has been named as the new dean of the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly. Fleming will begin in this role on Aug. 2, 2021.

“I look forward to welcoming Dr. Fleming to our campus and working with him to support the students, faculty and staff of the Orfalea College of Business,” said Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, Cal Poly’s provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “He brings a wealth of experience in both higher education and industry and a strong commitment to the success of the college and the university as a whole.”

Prior to his current role, Fleming spent nearly 13 years on the faculty of the Fowler College of Business at San Diego State University where he was professor of accounting, Ernst & Young Faculty Fellow, and William E. Cole Director of the Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy.

Cal Poly Funds 14 Faculty Research Projects

Jun 17, 2021


SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s division of Research, Economic Development & Graduate Education (R-EDGE) announced the awards for the 2021-22 cycle of the Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities (RSCA) grant program.

Supported by funds from the CSU Chancellor's Office and the Cal Poly Provost's Office, the RSCA faculty grant program is designed to enable faculty to contribute new knowledge through robust programs of scholarship focused on strengthening California socially, culturally and economically. The RSCA Program is one mechanism by which Cal Poly supports the teacher-scholar model, in which faculty integrate excellence in teaching with excellence in research, scholarly and creative activities.

Cal Poly Physics Professor Named California State University STEM-NET Faculty Fellow

Jun 15, 2021


Louise Edwards
SAN LUIS OBISPO – Louise Edwards, an assistant professor in Cal Poly’s Physics Department, has been appointed a faculty fellow to the California State University (CSU) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network (STEM-NET) affinity group.

STEM-NET is a multi-campus collaboration working with all 23 CSU campuses and areas of STEM research and education. STEM-NET connects and strengthens faculty research and educational collaborations across the CSU system and across disciplines. It expands opportunities for active learning and innovative pedagogy and supports CSU faculty in developing grant proposals with potential for scaling and sustainability with high impact and fundability.

Cal Poly Study Reveals How Weddell Seal Pups Learn to Swim

Jun 14, 2021


A young Weddell seal takes a break in a breathing hole during swimming lessons with its mother. Photo taken under NMFS permit 21006-01 and ACA permit 2018-013 M#1. Photo credit: Linnea Pearson
SAN LUIS OBISPO — They’re cute, they’re furry, and they start diving into frigid Antarctic waters at 2 weeks old. According to a new Cal Poly study, Weddell seal pups may be one of the only types of seals to learn to swim from their mothers. 

Weddell seals are the southernmost born mammal and come into the world in the coldest environment of any mammal. These extreme conditions may explain the unusually long time they spend with their mothers. 

The study, “Early Diving Behavior in Weddell Seal (Leptonychotes Weddellii) Pups,” was published earlier this month in the Journal of Mammalogy.

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