The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Andy Blaustein Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen.

February 3, 2017


“Unravelling and Combatting Amphibian Decline”  February 3, 2017  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Blaustein describes his New York City roots and his upbringing on Long Island. He likewise notes his early interest in insects and animals, as well as his initial experiences in the working world that strengthened his desire to pursue a college education. From there, Blaustein traces his undergraduate years at Southampton College as well as his graduate research and teaching at the University of Nevada - Reno and the University of California - Santa Barbara.

The session then turns its attention to Blaustein's years on faculty at Oregon State University. In reflecting on his OSU career, Blaustein notes his initial hire as an instructor, the path that he took to a tenure-track position, and his strong interest in OSU's athletic programs. He likewise comments on OSU colleagues who made an impact on him; setting up his research program; and important studies that he has conducted in the areas of host-pathogen biology, amphibian deformities and population decline, animal behavior, and chemical ecology. In discussing his research, Blaustein notes the controversy that it has sometimes engendered and speaks of his experiences as a target of conservative media outlets. He also touches upon his work on asteroid collisions with Earth; outlines his views on climate change; and shares his thoughts on the importance of scientists acting as public citizens.

As it nears its conclusion, the interview touches upon Blaustein's field work, his sense of the culture for ecologists at OSU, and his years as an administrator in the Environmental Science program. The session winds up with Blaustein's thoughts on his work as an editor of scientific journals, his methods for staying positive in the face of ecological decline, and his reflections on OSU as it looks toward its 150th anniversary.