Robert Steury

Eugene, OR, United States

About Robert

Bio

Robert Steury
Eugene, OR 97405 EDUCATION B.S. Biological Science and Environmental Studies University of Oregon Summer 2013 AWARDS Acceptance into PhD program UO Institute of Ecology and Evolution Fall 2013 McNair Scholarship 2010 UnderGrEBES Research Grant 2011
RESEARCH EXPERIENCE
Microbial Traits in the Zebrafish-Gut Microbial Community
Advisor DR. BRENDAN BOHANNAN
Focusing on the ecology, that is the processes that determine the spatial and temporal structure of the gut-microbiota in the model vertebrate, zebrafish (Danio rario), my research aims to investigate the role of various microbial traits in the gut microbiota. I analyzed the microbial traits (e.g. motility, motility speed, growth rate, hemolysis, biofilm adherence, in vivo colonization and competition) in 19 unique bacterial strains that we derived from conventionally-reared zebrafish gut.
Oregon Aquatic Invasion: The Ecological Perspective
Adviser DR. BARBARA “BITTY” ROY
Early after my return to academia, I noted gaps between science, policy, and industry regarding environmental regulation. I helped bridge this gap by designing and teaching a one hour, state-accredited course on applied ecology for industry professionals.
PRESENTATIONS SACNAS National Conference Diversity of Microbial Traits in Zebrafish Gut Microbiota 2012
UnderGrEBES Research Sysmposium 2012 McNair Summer Research Symposium 2012 Oregon Contractor’s Board Seminar Oregon Aquatic Invasion: The Ecological Approach 2011
WORK EXPERIENCE Undergraduate researcher in Dr. Brendan Bohannan Lab, Institute of Ecology and Evolution at University of Oregon 2009-present Isolation and characterization of bacterial constituents of zebrafish gut, Culture-dependent methods and sterile technique, microscopy, DNA extraction, PCR, and gels. President, Stone of Oregon Inc. 2009- 2011 Operations and sales manager, Product innovator,Manufacturing supervisor Owner and Operator, Elements Open Studio LLC. 1998- 2010 Operations and sales manager, Project designer and supervisor, Contractor

Areas of Expertise

Microbiology, Landscape / Garden Design, Stone Masonry

An idea worth spreading

We take for granted our microbial partners, even give them a poor reputation. We choose to act at war with them, blaming them for diseases, which we've mostly created ourselves. In our anthropocentric view we've ignored the evolutionary fact that these microbes make our existence possible. It is time for a wholesale reconciliation with these microbial organisms that have been here billions of years engineering life. It is time we respect these ubiquitous ancestors of ours that have survived harshness and extreme environmental events that we hope to never endure. We need to listen to them, the oldest and perhaps wisest life forms to ever exist, and learn the secrets to having a sustainable life.

I'm passionate about

Life on earth is far too rare a phenomenon to not investigate, hence I am devoting my future to biological research. Presently, the microbiome is my focus.

People don't know I'm good at

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Comments & conversations

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Robert Steury
Posted about 2 years ago
What will happen when the world speaks only a few languages?
This is an interesting point. It makes me think of how much fun it is to mingle with multilingual people at school. I am pretty sure that in our conversations, in attempting to overcome the language barrier, we have done our share of contributing to urban slang. Gallagher makes fun of language: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDFQXxWIyvQ
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Robert Steury
Posted about 2 years ago
What will happen when the world speaks only a few languages?
In the 1990s the idea of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) was developed in order to establish a universal value for indigenous cultures that would hopefully help protect them. One very practical and global incentive for preserving indigenous language is that if the language is lost, then TEK may be lost with it. This is possible as there may be no English or other major language with words to articulate many traditional ecological concepts. However, TEK can be observed if cultures and languages are protected along with the habitats in which they practice TEK. Perhaps we should protect indigenous cultures for many reasons, but one Eurocentric reason is that embedded in TEK are many of the ideas that developed nations ought to consider in order to correct the consequences of centuries of biosphere mismanagement. http://www.nerist.ac.in/department/forestry/faculty/khan/PDFs/Journals/The%20mega-cultural%20landscape_UNESCO.pdf
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Robert Steury
Posted about 2 years ago
How do we justify consumption of palm oil? What can we do to stop palm oil companies from destroying the African rainforest?
Tify, you may find it ironic that in the National Geographic's coverage of Chimpanzee conservation in Borneo, the reporter ends her rant against palm oil and deforestation by stating that the solution is to get a hypothetical future Bornean boy an iphone. Because he is entitled to one after enduring all the abuse from palm oil companies. I found it to outrageous! http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/borneo/white-text/1
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Robert Steury
Posted about 2 years ago
How do we justify consumption of palm oil? What can we do to stop palm oil companies from destroying the African rainforest?
LaMar, your point about product replacement may be valid where consumer choice is concerned. One of my concerns in raising this question was that people all empathize differently, so how do I capture a broad audience? For instance, while one person may feel more compelled to save primates, another may be more concerned about climate change or indigenous people's rights. My hope was that was that we could address a general theme playing out in the world. That is that criminal exploitation of resources for products that are not necessary, are occurring today at the expense of all creatures both today and tomorrow. And if we value all creatures and life in general, how is it that we justify destroying that for some crap product with corn, soy, or palm , etc. as filler in it? Are we inherently bad? Or are we capable of justifying just about any decision we make, despite our value system? Chances are, most of us intrinsically don't want everything beautiful and ecologically valuable to die. But, we do want soap, butter, and fuel. So why do we avoid educational information, go against our values and make these choices?
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Robert Steury
Posted about 2 years ago
How do we justify consumption of palm oil? What can we do to stop palm oil companies from destroying the African rainforest?
Thanks Laurel. I read the article and viewed the photos. The notion that "hungry people can't appreciate nature" or that "an orangutan is just another monkey" are not views that I encountered in my limited research. However, Ryan did his research in Tai National Park. He may have a first hand sense of this through talking with locals. I think that the Red Colobus in Ivory Coast is the best analogy for the chimpanzee in Borneo. Hopefully Ryan comments on this.
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Robert Steury
Posted about 2 years ago
How do we justify consumption of palm oil? What can we do to stop palm oil companies from destroying the African rainforest?
Thanks for the point LaMar. You prompted me to do a bit of digging on outreach programs presently active in this area. To my delight I found several on short order, here are couple of major outreach organizations in this area: http://redapes.org/ http://www.orangutan.org/ Nestle caves to pressure from activists: http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0517-hance_nestle.html
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Robert Steury
Posted about 2 years ago
How do we justify consumption of palm oil? What can we do to stop palm oil companies from destroying the African rainforest?
You guys touch on a good point. The ecological crisis has generated a new market for the energy and fuel industries. This process of finding new energy technologies to solve the ecological dilemma is a learning process, to be sure. Unfortunately, some players have a large profit incentive clouding their objectivity when it comes to the scientific facts. Thanks for the input.
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Robert Steury
Posted about 2 years ago
How do we justify consumption of palm oil? What can we do to stop palm oil companies from destroying the African rainforest?
I watched both the TED talk and the Animate. Dan's point about our actions being shaded by incentives, incentives that are constructed by social structure, is a very valid perspective regarding the palm oil question. Thank you for sharing this Bernard! I also read a bit about the social psych theory of cognitive dissonance. If I understand it correctly, this theory posits that when we find ourselves deciding between our value system and wanting for something, we alter reality in our minds in a way that allows us to rationalize taking what we want, despite much evidence that doing so is against our value system. Often this involves intentionally avoiding being educated about how the thing we want goes against our values. To illustrate, I'll tell on myself. I ate a Girl Scout cookie. Because I thought it looked yummy and it would help little girls get patches on their uniforms. Mounting evidence suggests that the ingredients in these cookies are bad for me. Further, the environments and people in the regions from which these ingredients come (including palm oil) are threatened by this. I was able to slide these facts that go against my value system under the rug by justifying eating a cookie on the grounds that my wife bought them, not me, The cookie was not tasty and afterward I felt guilty and sick to my stomach. However, I can't promise that it won't happen again.
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Robert Steury
Posted about 2 years ago
How do we justify consumption of palm oil? What can we do to stop palm oil companies from destroying the African rainforest?
The book you suggested looks relevant. Makes me recall the Prisoners Dilemma, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/prisoner-dilemma/ This game theory describes how individuals faced with the choice between liberating themselves now at the expense of everyone later will trump the choice to make a small personal sacrifice, which if all players reciprocate leads to liberation for all players eventually. This sad paradox is what happens in situations where the greed of a few overarches the struggle of many. It's the notion that, someone is going to exploit palm oil, so I might as well be that one even if no one else benefits and there is no rainforest. Another part of this is that the generations that will we be hurt most are not yet living (our grands). So it harder to feel a moral obligation to someone who does not yet exist than it is to feel morally obligated to oneself or children who are hungry today.