UW Today


September 4, 2015

Poplar trees are best bet for biofuel in UW-led research project

Poplar materials, including bark, leaves and wood, are used to make cellulosic ethanol.

A five-year, $40 million study is laying the foundation for a Pacific Northwest industry that converts sustainably produced poplar feedstock into fuels and chemicals. The research, led by the University of Washington, will seed the world’s first wood-based cellulosic ethanol production facility.


August 26, 2015

New Bering Sea climate change project focuses on fish, management strategies

As a subarctic, seasonally ice-filled ocean that produces about 40 percent of the nation’s annual fish catch, the Bering Sea is of particular interest to researchers as the climate changes and forces wildlife and fishing practices to adapt. The UW is a partner in a new effort to understand how changes to the Bering Sea’s…


August 24, 2015

Power lines restrict sage grouse movement in Washington

male sage grouse

Transmission lines that funnel power from hydroelectric dams and wind turbines across Eastern Washington affect greater sage grouse habitat by isolating fragile populations and limiting movement, a new study finds.


August 12, 2015

CO2 emissions change with size of streams and rivers

A stream in Wyoming.

Researchers have shown that CO2 appears in streams by way of two different sources — either as a direct pipeline for groundwater and carbon-rich soils, or from aquatic organisms releasing the gas through respiration and natural decay.


August 4, 2015

New fish genus and species named for its red, fingerlike fins

Red, orange and pink color variation.

University of Washington scientists recently announced the name of a new genus and species of frogfish, which are small, stocky creatures found in most tropical and subtropical oceans around the world.


August 3, 2015

UW gets top green honor from Princeton Review

The University of Washington has again been named to Princeton Review’s Green Rating Honor Roll, receiving the highest possible score for the 2014-15 school year. This is the fifth year in a row the UW has achieved this distinction and the seventh year overall since the program began eight years ago. The UW was among…


July 29, 2015

Healthier Puget Sound depends on healthy people, report finds

man jumping into the water in puget sound

The Puget Sound Partnership on Wednesday adopted new targets that seek to quantify aspects of the natural environment that boost our collective happiness and wellness. These people-focused benchmarks will help inform restoration plans and assess future progress in cleaning up Puget Sound.


‘Odd’ Puget Sound conditions prompt multi-agency awareness day

It’s been a strange summer for Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean that feeds it. Water temperatures are warmer than usual, shellfish harvesting has been closed because of a long-lived toxic algae bloom, and oxygen levels in some areas continue to drop, meaning fish kills could be a reality this fall. Local scientists from multiple…


July 23, 2015

Free oil-spill prevention kits for Washington boaters

Recreational boaters and commercial fishing boats in Western Washington can get free oil-spill reporting and cleanup kits this summer as part of a new campaign to prevent spills in Puget Sound. Washington Sea Grant, based at the UW, along with U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, the Washington Department of Ecology and the state’s Clean…


July 9, 2015

UW Botanic Gardens ranked top in nation

The University of Washington Botanic Gardens is one of the best university gardens in the nation, according to a new ranking by Best Colleges Online. The UW tied for first place along with three other universities for the top honor. UW Botanic Gardens, which includes the gardens and programs at the Washington Park Arboretum and…


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 24, 2015

Group at UW shows how to account for nature’s benefits in decisions

Planting mangroves for coastal protection in Placencia, Belize.

The Natural Capital Project, with offices at UW, wants to integrate the socioeconomic, cultural and spiritual values of nature into all major decisions affecting the environment and human well-being.


June 19, 2015

Access to electricity is linked to reduced sleep

A Toba/Qom child sleeps.

New research comparing traditional hunter-gatherer living conditions to a more modern setting shows that access to artificial light and electricity has shortened the amount of sleep humans get each night.


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 9, 2015

Early intervention improves long-term outcomes for children with autism

A toddler takes part in early intervention activities at the UW Autism Center.

Early intervention for toddlers with autism spectrum disorder helps improve their intellectual ability and reduces autism symptoms years after originally getting treatment, a new study shows.


June 3, 2015

Ocean Modeling Forum to bring human element to herring fishery, others

An albatross catches a herring.

The Ocean Modeling Forum is trying something very rare — bringing together multiple science models and people who care about a particular ocean resource or fishery to decide what’s most important for its vitality and the communities it serves.


June 2, 2015

Public policy, business graduate student named next UW student regent

Vanessa Kritzer

Gov. Jay Inslee has named Vanessa Kritzer, a graduate student at the University of Washington, as the next student member of the UW Board of Regents. The year-long appointment is effective July 1.


May 26, 2015

Seattle sushi chef to speak May 29 on converting to all sustainable fish

How can a sushi bar eliminate some of its most popular fish from the menu and still be profitable? One local establishment accomplished this, claiming that sustainable seafood is more important than profits in the long term. Hajime Sato, owner of Mashiko Japanese restaurant in West Seattle, will speak about his experience converting his sushi…


May 15, 2015

Chemical tags in ear bones track Alaska’s Bristol Bay salmon

Chinook-TILE

A chemical signature recorded on the ear bones of Chinook salmon from Alaska’s Bristol Bay region could tell scientists and resource managers where they are born and how they spend their first year of life.


May 13, 2015

Friday Harbor Labs event May 16 features marine science, scuba demos

If you’re looking for an escape this weekend, hop a ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island and check out UW marine science research ranging from invertebrates and plankton to quirky fish and ocean acidification. The UW’s Friday Harbor Laboratories will host its annual open house Saturday, May 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m….


May 12, 2015

Top student climate change films to screen May 15 at Town Hall

Short clips ranging from Claymation and music videos to documentary and animated shorts that tell the story of what climate change means to local high school and college students will be shown in a first-ever video contest put on by the UW’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. Update: Watch the winning videos Ten of the…


May 6, 2015

Fishermen, communities need more than healthy fish stocks

A typical day at the fish market in Dakar, Senegal.

The Fishery Performance Indicators are the most comprehensive, global tool that considers social factors in addition to the usual biological measures when gauging a fishery’s health.


May 4, 2015

Puget Sound’s clingfish could inspire better medical devices, whale tags

Northern clingfish.

Researchers at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories are looking at how the biomechanics of clingfish could be helpful in designing devices and instruments to be used in surgery and even to tag and track whales in the ocean.


April 30, 2015

Sustainability progress should precede seafood market access, researchers urge

A fish market in the Solomon Islands, near Papua New Guinea.

A team of researchers has evaluated fishery improvement projects, which are designed to bring seafood from wild fisheries to the certified market while promising sustainability in the future. In a policy paper appearing May 1 in Science, they conclude these projects need to be fine tuned to ensure that fisheries are delivering on their promises.


April 16, 2015

Interim President Ana Mari Cauce opens a dialogue about race and equity on campus

UW Interim President Ana Mari Cauce will give remarks and lead a conversation about equity, racism and difference Thursday afternoon on campus at the Intellectual House. Updated 4/14: Transcript of Cauce’s remarks The roundtable event, which starts at 2 p.m., will encourage students to participate in a discussion about these issues. Space is limited and…


April 15, 2015

3-D printed blossoms a growing tool for ecology

A hawk moth probes a flower with its proboscis.

3-D printing has been used to make everything from cars to medical implants. Now, University of Washington ecologists are using the technology to make artificial flowers, which they say could revolutionize our understanding of plant-pollinator interactions.


April 7, 2015

Common birds bring economic vitality to cities, new study finds

House finch

A new study finds the economic value of enjoying urban birds to be $120 million each year for Seattle residents and $70 million for people living in Berlin. Residents in both cities spend more than the average U.S. adult on bird-supporting activities, which then benefit the local economies as residents invest in bird food and conservation.


April 6, 2015

Fishing amplifies forage fish collapses

Pacific herring

A new study implicates fishing in the collapse of forage fish stocks and recommends risk-based management tools that would track a fishery’s numbers and suspend fishing when necessary.


March 30, 2015

Lecture April 2 looks at how to fill nature void for kids, adults

We are attached to our devices nearly 24/7. As our number of activities and time spent outdoors shrinks, it’s perhaps no coincidence that the larger society faces higher occurrences of depression, child and adult obesity and attention deficit disorder. Getting more people outside and engaged with nature is the topic of this year’s School of…


March 18, 2015

New Air Force center at UW learns from animals for better flight

Yonatan Munk, a postdoctoral researcher in biology, studies how moths fly.

A new center at the University of Washington funded by the U.S. Air Force will focus on how elements in nature can help solve challenging engineering and technological problems related to building small, remotely operated aircraft.


March 17, 2015

AG Ferguson appoints senior attorney to top UW Division post

Attorney General Bob Ferguson has appointed Senior Counsel Karin Nyrop as the new chief of his office’s University of Washington Division. The division provides legal services to the university, including UW Bothell, UW Tacoma and the UW Medical Center. “The University of Washington will be well served by Karin’s impressive combination of legal expertise, leadership…


March 13, 2015

2015 UW cherry tree watch: Full bloom by March 14

Blossom update: 100 percent in bloom as of March 14. Follow @uwcherryblossom for more info. The cherry trees in the Quad at the UW reached full bloom March 14. Exact timing always depends on the weather — if we have sunny, warm days, the trees reach full bloom faster, but colder weather stretches out the timing. Still, full bloom…


February 27, 2015

‘Handathon’ challenges students to build better 3-D printed prosthetic hands

Seattle’s first-ever “Handathon” will bring together students, faculty and clinicians in a hackathon-style, 24-hour event that challenges two dozen graduate and undergraduate students to design creative improvements to an existing 3-D printed prosthetic hand. Research teams from the University of Washington, UW Bothell and Seattle Pacific University have been designing and printing prosthetic hands, and…


February 26, 2015

Embrace unknowns, opt for flexibility in environmental policies

image of a mountain landscape

Two University of Washington professors argue in a Science perspectives article that ecosystem managers must learn to make decisions based on an uncertain future.


Student video contest: Climate change impacts in 3 minutes

What does climate change mean to you, in three minutes or less? That’s what the UW’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences is asking all high school and undergraduate students in the state of Washington in a video competition that will award up to $5,000 to the top entries in each age category. The UW…


February 13, 2015

AAAS symposium looks at how to bring big-data skills to academia

word cloud

A session Feb. 15 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting will explore how big data scientists can find careers at universities and within academic settings.


AAAS talk: Some bilinguals use emoticons more when chatting in non-native language

8010790199_1156db894e_o (2)

A research team has found that one group of bilingual speakers used emoticons more often when typing in their second language in casual, online communication than they did when typing in their native tongue.


February 11, 2015

14 UW researchers win 2015 Innovation Awards

The University of Washington has chosen 14 researchers across campus to receive this year’s UW Innovation Awards. The awards are given to encourage early and mid-career scientists to pursue projects that may not yet qualify for outside funding, but show future promise and will engage students in innovative, creative work. “These are some of the…


February 9, 2015

Six Green Seed Fund winners selected for 2015

The Green Seed Fund, a grant fund for sustainability research projects at the UW, will award money to six projects that contribute to the university’s sustainability goals, are well-planned and achievable and will help the UW reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The six winning projects for 2015 will share about $250,000 in grant money and…


February 5, 2015

New tool monitors effects of tidal, wave energy on marine habitat

From left to right: UW researchers Ben Rush, Nick Michel-Hart, James Joslin and Paul Gibbs prepare to test the monitoring device underwater in a tank on campus.

A robot developed at the University of Washington will deploy instruments to gather information in unprecedented detail about how marine life interacts with underwater equipment used to harvest wave and tidal energy.



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