UW News

July 30, 2015

Four West Coast universities funded for earthquake early warning system

map with concentric circles

The U.S. Geological Survey today announced $5 million in funding that will allow the University of Washington and three other institutions to help transition the prototype ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system, under development since 2005, into a public-facing tool.

July 29, 2015

Two UW researchers elected AGU fellows

Two University of Washington scientists have been elected as new fellows of the American Geophysical Union. The Earth sciences group recognizes only one in 1,000 members each year for major scientific work and sustained impact. The UW honorees are among 60 new 2015 fellows from U.S. and international institutions. They will both be honored in…

NOAA funds UW, partners to investigate West Coast harmful algal bloom

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced last week it is committing $88,000 in event-response funding for our state to monitor and analyze an unusually large and long-lived bloom of toxic algae that has been affecting shellfish in the region. UW-based Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems, or NANOOS, was awarded $75,000 of the…

July 17, 2015

Marine plankton brighten clouds over Southern Ocean

an image showing clouds and sun.

New research led by the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory suggests tiny ocean life in vast stretches of the Southern Ocean plays a significant role in generating brighter clouds overhead.

July 15, 2015

Students, researchers at sea working on recently erupted deep-sea volcano

Students onboard the R/V Thompson collect velella velella (by-the-wind-sailors) off the starboard side during the first leg of the expedition.

A team of researchers, engineers and students is now at sea to check the equipment in a massive seafloor laboratory, where underwater stations off the Pacific Northwest coast collect data and provide a real-time, virtual eye on the deep sea for people on shore.

July 10, 2015

Ice core records show how huge volcanic eruptions cooled the planet

When big volcanoes like Mount St. Helens or Mount Pinatubo really blow their tops, the skies darken and temperatures drop. But since such massive eruptions – luckily for us – are fairly uncommon, scientists have few examples to help them piece together the details of how much it cools, and how far and long the…

July 8, 2015

Seafloor hot springs a significant source of iron in the oceans

seafloor topography with colored water above

A two-month voyage tracking a deep current flowing from one of the most active underwater volcanoes proves that iron released from hydrothermal vents travels thousands of miles, providing a significant source of iron to support life in the broader oceans.

July 6, 2015

Risk of interbreeding due to climate change lower than expected

light brown baby bear

Despite worries about interbreeding due to climate change, a new study finds that only about 6 percent of closely related species in the Americas are likely to come into contact by the end of this century.

July 1, 2015

International meeting on the inner life of ocean diatoms

A meeting on campus the week of July 7, “Molecular Life of Diatoms 2015” will bring together leading experts on diatoms—the same type of drifting algae now causing a huge harmful algal bloom off the West Coast—to discuss the perils and promise of these microscopic algae that live throughout the world’s oceans. A dazzling variety…

June 25, 2015

UW researcher helping pinpoint massive harmful algal bloom

researcher looking into microscope

A UW research analyst who monitors harmful algae in Washington state is aboard a federal research vessel surveying a massive bloom that stretches from California up to Canada.

June 18, 2015

Evidence from ivory DNA identifies two main elephant poaching hotspots

elephants socializing

University of Washington biologist Samuel Wasser uses DNA evidence to trace the origin of illegal ivory and help police an international trade that is decimating African elephant populations. New results show that over the past decade, ivory has largely come from just two areas in Africa.

June 15, 2015

New magazine highlights Northwest climate research

Researchers at the UW and many federal, state, municipal and Tribal agencies are looking at what climate change may bring for our region. A new magazine brings together some of these stories, including many featuring UW climate scientists. The inaugural edition of the annual Northwest Climate Magazine was published in May by three regional federal…

Genetic switch lets marine diatoms do less work at higher CO2

green cylinder on black background

Oceanographers found the genetic ‘needles in a haystack’ to gain the first hints at how diatoms — tiny drifting algae that carry out a large part of Earth’s photosynthesis — detect and respond to increasing carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels.

June 11, 2015

Conference next week will discuss future of Arctic, sub-Arctic seas

While the Shell drilling platform sits in a Seattle port and its future is hotly debated, a conference on changing Northern waters – including the Chukchi Sea where the oil company plans to use the rig to search for oil – will be held June 15-17 on the UW campus. The symposium is the 10th…

June 4, 2015

Warmer, lower-oxygen oceans will shift marine habitats

shark in the water

Warming temperatures and decreasing levels of dissolved oxygen will act together to create metabolic stress for marine animals. Habitats will shift to places in the ocean where the oxygen supply can meet the animals’ increasing future needs.

May 27, 2015

Invisible helpers of the sea: Marine bacteria boost growth of tiny ocean algae

mosaic made out of different shaped diatoms

Using seawater collected in Seattle, Whidbey Island and other sites, UW oceanographers show that just as with plants on land, a common species of ocean diatom grows faster in the presence of helpful bacteria.

May 19, 2015

UW’s Deborah Kelley publishes atlas of seafloor volcanoes and deep-ocean life

book cover with photo of tall pillars

Oceanographer Deborah Kelley is one of the lead authors of a first-of-its-kind atlas of the deep sea, titled “Discovering the Deep.”

May 12, 2015

UW wave expert to appear tonight on TV’s ‘The Deadliest Catch’

The lead-up to the 11th season of The Deadliest Catch, the hit reality TV show about crab fishing in Alaska, is “The Bait,” in which captains of crab boats discuss some of the elements featured on the program. Tonight a University of Washington oceanographer will talk to the captains about one of the main reasons…

May 11, 2015

Atmospheric scientist Bob Houze awarded Symons Gold Medal

The Royal Meteorological Society has awarded Robert Houze, a UW professor of atmospheric sciences, the Symons Gold Medal. The London-based society awards this international honor every two years to recognize distinguished work in meteorology, and it is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the field. Houze will deliver the society’s Symons Gold Medal…

May 1, 2015

UW biologist wins Saruhashi Prize for top woman scientist

Keiko Torii, a UW professor of biology, this month was awarded the 35th annual Saruhashi Prize, given each year to a female researcher in the natural sciences. Each year, one woman scientist receives the award recognizing both exceptional research accomplishments and mentoring of other women scientists. “I am especially pleased that the selection committee recognized…

April 30, 2015

Seafloor sensors record possible eruption of underwater volcano

sensor on ocean floor

Sensors on the ocean’s floor installed by UW researchers show that late on April 23, a seismic event took place on the 3,000-foot underwater volcano off Oregon’s coast.

April 29, 2015

Antarctic ice core shows northern trigger for ice age climate shifts

closeup of ice

UW glaciologists were part of a team that used a new Antarctic ice core to discover which region triggered sudden global-scale climate shifts during the last ice age.

April 28, 2015

UW apparatus measures single electron’s radiation to try to weigh a neutrino

colorful block figure

UW researchers and their collaborators used an experiment in the physics building to measure the energy of a single electron emitted by radioactive decay, a key step in their strategy to measure the mass of the elusive neutrino.

April 27, 2015

Tidal tugs on Teflon faults drive slow-slipping earthquakes

diagram showing brown slab below grey slab

Teasing out how slow, silent earthquakes respond to tidal forces lets researchers calculate the friction inside the fault, which could help understand when and how the more hazardous earthquakes occur.

April 22, 2015

Guggenheim Foundation honors UW mathematician Tatiana Toro

Tatiana Toro, a University of Washington professor and associate chair of mathematics, is among 175 new fellows from the U.S. and Canada recognized this year by the Guggenheim Foundation. Winners, chosen from more than 3,100 applicants, receive grants of varying amounts that allow them to pursue creative projects of six to 12 months in the…

April 17, 2015

Workshop to explore the scientific potential of a hardwired seafloor volcano

Last summer, a team of University of Washington oceanographers successfully installed hardware deep underwater for an Internet-connected observatory off the Washington and Oregon coasts. Now scientists from around the country are meeting to discuss how this will change how people monitor and study seafloor geology. The Networked Observations and Visualizations of the Axial Environment, or…

UW will investigate seaweed as a tool to fight ocean acidification in Puget Sound

The University of Washington will be working with the Bainbridge Island-based Puget Sound Restoration Fund to see whether growing seaweed could help combat ocean acidification in Puget Sound waters. Like plants on land, kelps and other seaweeds naturally take up carbon dioxide. Puget Sound waters are already high in carbon dioxide and are projected to…

April 9, 2015

‘Warm blob’ in Pacific Ocean linked to weird weather across the U.S.

colored map

A patch of warm water off the West Coast, nicknamed “the blob” by a UW scientist, is part of a larger shift in the Pacific Ocean that may be responsible for widespread weather changes.

April 2, 2015

UW, NASA prepare for effort to measure rain, snow on Olympic Peninsula

Clouds on the Olympic Peninsula's Hurricane Ridge.

The University of Washington and NASA are preparing for an effort next winter to measure rain in America’s rainiest place: Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. As part of the current gear-up phase, they are looking for volunteers to help track rain.

March 31, 2015

Anne Greenbaum a 2015 fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

Each year the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the fields of applied mathematics and computational science. A University of Washington mathematician is among 31 new fellows honored this year from academic, industrial and government institutions around the world. Anne Greenbaum, a UW professor of applied mathematics,…

March 30, 2015

Huge whirlpools help set oceanic spring bloom

On the UW campus, most people’s focus at this time of year is on pink cherry blossoms. But this time of year in the northern Atlantic Ocean, a massive bloom soon to appear at the ocean’s surface is a major event in our planet’s carbon cycle. Now UW-developed robots have captured what happens to these…

March 27, 2015

UW-built mic records noisy glacier melt

One would imagine a glacier’s melt to be fairly quiet. That would be wrong. Recordings by current and former University of Washington researchers in fjords shows that melting at glacier edges in the narrow rock-edged canyons are some of the noisiest places in the sea. The study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, recorded the sound…

March 20, 2015

UW and local company unveil new five-person submarine

The University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory and Everett-based company OceanGate this month unveiled the first model of its joint project to build a new type of submarine for human research and exploration in the deep sea. Cyclops 1 was a developed over the past year and a half in the Applied Physics Lab’s co-laboratory…

March 19, 2015

UW geologist, engineer reflect back one year later on nation’s deadliest landslide

An aerial photo of the Oso, Wash., mudslide.

A UW geologist and geotechnical engineer look back at what the past year has meant, personally and professionally, as they helped recovery efforts from the nation’s deadliest landslide in our own backyard.

March 18, 2015

UW TechConnect conference Tuesday: The Future of IT

Members of the UW community are invited to a free daylong conference for technology professionals at the 2015 UW TechConnect Conference on March 24. Explore, learn and connect with other IT colleagues and choose from a dozen presentations about the future of information technology at the UW – from human resources and payroll modernization to…

March 17, 2015

First global review on the status, future of Arctic marine mammals

closeup of polar bear

A University of Washington scientist is lead author on the first census of all Arctic marine mammals, including whales, walruses, seals and polar bears. The multinational report assesses the current status of these populations and makes recommendations for conservation of these species under climate change.

March 12, 2015

Naturally acidic waters of Puget Sound surround UW’s Friday Harbor Labs

photo of dock in sunshine

For more than 100 years, marine biologists at Friday Harbor Laboratories have studied the ecology of everything from tiny marine plants to giant sea stars. Now, as the oceans are undergoing a historic shift in chemistry, the lab is establishing itself as a place to study what that will mean for marine life. And the…

March 3, 2015

On thin ice: Combined Arctic ice observations show decades of loss

submarine poking through ice and people disembarking

Historic submarine and modern satellite records show that ice thickness in the central Arctic Ocean dropped by 65 percent from 1975 to 2012. September ice thickness, when the ice cover is at a minimum, dropped by 85 percent.

February 27, 2015

Watch UW team test a new asteroid-sampling rocket

Take five minutes and experience the life of a rocket scientist building a prototype to bring back samples of objects in space. In these tests, success is nose-diving into the California desert, which stands in for the surface of an asteroid. In the “Asteroid Sampler” video, which aired Jan. 15 on Discovery Channel Canada, a…

February 24, 2015

10th annual Polar Science Weekend kicks off Friday

Polar Science Weekend, held in partnership with the UW Applied Physics Laboratory, blows into the Pacific Science Center this Friday through Sunday. For the 10th year, this event will give visitors a taste of exploration at the ends of the Earth. Discover why polar regions are crucial to climate change, examine real ice cores from…

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