UW Today

Environment


August 29, 2016

Plants’ future water use affects long-term drought estimates

farmers in field

Many popular long-term drought estimates ignore the fact that plants will be less thirsty as carbon dioxide goes up. Plants’ lower water use could roughly halve some current estimates for the extent of future drought, especially in central Africa and temperate Asia.


August 26, 2016

Interactive map shows where animals will move under climate change

animated map of U.S.

The University of Washington and The Nature Conservancy have created an animated map showing where mammals, birds and amphibians are projected to move in the Western Hemisphere in response to climate change.


August 19, 2016

UW will host 2017 summer institute on teaching urban environmental issues

Photo by Katherine Turner.

Faculty members from the UW College of Built Environments, Jackson School of International Studies and departments of French and Italian studies and history will team up in 2017 to give a new, three-week course for university and college instructors on urban environmental humanities.


August 18, 2016

From White House to Tacoma, WA, urban agriculture is growing

Sally Brown

UW professor Sally Brown and collaborators have published the most extensive compilation to date explaining how to grow urban agriculture, and how doing so could save American cities.


August 16, 2016

Big fish — and their pee — are key parts of coral reef ecosystems

The Almaco jack is a large predator fish, pictured here in the Caribbean.

Large, carnivorous fish excrete almost half of the key nutrients, phosphorus and nitrogen, that are essential for the survival of coral reefs.


August 15, 2016

Luna moth’s long tail could confuse bat sonar through its twist

moth on finger

A detailed look at how sound waves bounce off a flying moth’s body offers new clues for how its long, twisted tail might help it evade predatory bats.


August 12, 2016

Q&A: Phil Levin joins UW, The Nature Conservancy in new role

Phil Levin

Phil Levin, a former senior scientist at NOAA Fisheries, recently began a joint role at the University of Washington and The Nature Conservancy. UW Today sat down with Levin to find out why he took this job and what he hopes to accomplish.


August 9, 2016

Three UW Earth scientists elected as AGU fellows

AGUFellows2016

Charles Eriksen, Deborah Kelley and Stephen Warren are among 60 newly elected fellows from U.S. and international institutions.


August 4, 2016

UW geologist: Ancient Chinese flood is latest to match oral, geologic histories

Photo of Insights art

A Science commentary written by UW professor of Earth and space sciences David Montgomery discusses how recent geological findings support the historical basis for traditional tales about China’s Great Flood.


August 1, 2016

Twelve UW faculty elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences

campus-TILE

A dozen scientists and engineers from the University of Washington have been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences. According to a statement released by the organization, the new members were selected for “their outstanding record of scientific achievement and willingness to work on behalf of the academy in bringing the best available science…


July 27, 2016

Carbon-financed cookstove fails to deliver hoped-for benefits in the field

Photo of women using cookstoves in India

A study of the the first clean cookstove intervention in India financed through the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism found expected benefits from newer, more “efficient” stoves — based on their performance in lab tests — did not materialize in the field.


Middle schoolers build underwater robot in science summer camp

Alexander Riley works on the ROV during summer camp.

Middle school students tried their hands at designing and building underwater robots this week during a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration science summer camp in Seattle. The ROV workshop was a joint project by UW-based Washington Sea Grant, NOAA and Atlantis STEAM.


July 25, 2016

Marine carbon sinking rates confirm importance of polar oceans

white dots on blue background

Polar oceans pump organic carbon down to the deep sea about five times as efficiently as subtropical waters, because they can support larger, heavier organisms. The finding helps explain how the oceans may function under climate change.


July 19, 2016

UW professor is digitizing every fish species in the world

fish scan

UW professor Adam Summers is scanning and digitizing all 25,000 species of fish that live on Earth. Each species soon will have a high-resolution, 3-D visual replica online, available to all and downloadable for free.


UW oceanographers grow, sequence genome of ocean microbe important to climate change

Marine microbes were collected from a low-oxygen fjord in Barkley Sound, off the coast of British Columbia.

A University of Washington team has shed new light on a common but poorly understood bacteria known to live in low-oxygen areas in the ocean. By culturing and sequencing the microbe’s entire genome, the oceanographers found that it significantly contributes to the removal of life-supporting nitrogen from the water in new and surprising ways.


July 15, 2016

Joseph Wartman, David Montgomery honored for Oso landslide report

headshots of two researchers

The Geological Society of America has honored two UW professors and other authors of a 186-page report on the causes and consequences of the deadly March 2014 landslide in Oso, Washington.


July 14, 2016

Cougars could save lives by lowering vehicle collisions with deer

A cougar stands over its prey.

A research team including University of Washington’s Laura Prugh has found that within 30 years of cougars recolonizing the Eastern U.S., large cats could thin deer populations and reduce vehicle collisions by 22 percent — each year preventing five human fatalities, 680 injuries and avoiding costs of $50 million.


July 13, 2016

Opinion: Closing parts of the ocean to fishing not enough to protect marine ecosystems

Four line graphs showing rising trneds

In a three-page commentary in the journal Nature, fisheries professor Ray Hilborn argues that establishing marine protected areas is not as effective at protecting marine biodiversity as properly managing recreational and commercial fisheries.


July 7, 2016

Arctic sea ice volume, now tracking record low, stars in data visualization

four maps of Arctic Ocean

With Arctic sea ice roughly tied with previous record-low years, a University of Washington tool that tallies the total volume of ice in the Arctic Ocean is attracting attention.


July 5, 2016

Long-term Pacific climate cycle linked to expansion of Antarctic sea ice

white continent on blue background

A long-term Pacific climate cycle may be driving the expansion of Antarctic winter sea ice since 2000, but a new study finds that the trend may soon reverse.


June 28, 2016

UW geologist wins early career award from American Geophysical Union

headshot

Alison Duvall, a UW assistant professor of Earth and space sciences, was selected for the Luna B. Leopold Award for early-career scientists.


June 23, 2016

UW is top producer of earth and environment research

image of a wooded path

The University of Washington published the most earth and environmental science research last year, outpacing all other universities worldwide, according to a new report from Nature Index.


June 22, 2016

Ocean forecast offers seasonal outlook for Pacific Northwest waters

colored maps of Pacific Northwest coast

A new study evaluates the performance of a seasonal forecast, developed by researchers at the UW and NOAA, that predicts conditions over the coming months in the Pacific Northwest marine environment.


June 16, 2016

UW’s large research vessel, R/V Thomas G. Thompson, gets a midlife overhaul

graphic of boat

The R/V Thomas G. Thompson, the 274-foot-long research vessel operated by the University of Washington, has spent 25 years carrying researchers, students and teachers out to sea. The ship has collected material from the bottom of the deepest ocean trenches and braved storms near Antarctica. This week, the ship will begin a yearlong stay in…


June 15, 2016

Adam Summers advises Pixar on fish movements in new ‘Finding Dory’ film

dory and hank image

University of Washington fish biomechanist Adam Summers advised Pixar on animal movement for the animation company’s second movie about life under the sea.


Falling fish catches could mean malnutrition in the developing world

fishing

The world won’t be able to fish its way to feeding 10 billion people by midcentury, but a shift in management practices could save hundreds of millions of fish-dependent poor from malnutrition, according to a new analysis by researchers at Harvard, the University of Washington and other universities.


‘Bright spots’ shine light on the future of coral reefs

a photo of a sailfin tang fish

Researchers have discovered a handful of “bright spots” among the world’s embattled coral reefs, offering the promise of a radical new approach to conservation.


June 13, 2016

Arc volcano releases mix of material from Earth’s mantle and crust

black rock and green rock

Rock from a common type of volcano shows surprising evidence of the descending tectonic plate. Analyses show that magnesium atoms are somehow drawn out of the crust, deep below the surface.


Eastern U.S. needs ‘connectivity’ to help species escape climate change

map showing different migration scenarios across US

A new study has found that only 2 percent of the eastern U.S. provides the kind of climate connectivity required by species that will likely need to migrate, compared to 51 percent of the western U.S.


June 9, 2016

Jerry Franklin named 2016’s ‘Eminent Ecologist’ by leading ecological group

Jerry Franklin, far right, teaches a class in the forest.

The Ecological Society of America has named University of Washington professor Jerry Franklin its “Eminent Ecologist” of 2016. The award, considered the organization’s most prestigious accolade, honors a senior ecologist who has made significant, long-standing contributions to the field of ecology.


June 6, 2016

See, hear and study the deep sea: Ocean Observatories Initiative data now live

camera illuminating seafloor

Data is now streaming from the deep sea, thanks to an observatory installed in this region by the University of Washington as part of a larger National Science Foundation initiative to usher in a new age of oceanographic research.


June 3, 2016

Q&A: Peter Kahn on nature interaction, wildness in cities

photo of peter kahn

University of Washington professor Peter Kahn recently co-authored an opinion piece in the journal Science about the importance of interacting with nature in urban areas. UW Today asked Kahn a few more questions about the broader implications of his work.


Finding connections to nature in cities is key to healthy urban living

baby with sandy feet

The authors of a Science perspective piece discuss the growing tension between an arguably necessary role urban areas play in society and the numbing, even debilitating, aspects of cities that disconnect humans from the natural world.


June 1, 2016

UW researchers attend sea ice conference — above the Arctic Circle

three people in blue coats

University of Washington polar scientists are on Alaska’s North Slope this week for the 2016 Barrow Sea Ice Camp. Supported by the National Science Foundation, the event brings together U.S.-based sea ice observers, satellite experts and modelers at various career stages to collect data and discuss issues related to measuring and modeling sea ice. The…


May 30, 2016

Deep, old water explains why Antarctic Ocean hasn’t warmed

global map red at top, blue at bottom

The waters surrounding Antarctica may be one of the last places on Earth to experience human-driven climate change, because of its unique ocean currents.


May 26, 2016

Ray Hilborn receives international fisheries science prize

photo of ray hilborn

Ray Hilborn, a UW professor of aquatic and fishery sciences, this week will receive the 2016 International Fisheries Science Prize at the World Fisheries Congress in Busan, South Korea.


May 25, 2016

UW, NOAA deploy ocean robot to monitor harmful algal blooms off Washington coast

The box surround by purple contains an automated laboratory that will analyze seawater for algal species and toxin. Researchers deployed it May 23 about 13 miles off Washington's coast.

Oceanographers from the UW and NOAA deployed a new tool that will automatically test for harmful algal blooms and help warn of when they could hit local beaches.


May 24, 2016

Chickens on campus and a mood shift at EPA: Relevant projects are nature of environmental studies capstone

moving a new chicken coop at uw farm.

A cohort of UW Environmental Studies majors will present projects and research findings at at symposium from 1:30-5:30 p.m. May 25 at Alder Hall and Wallace Hall.


May 20, 2016

Lingcod meet rockfish: Catching one improves chances for the other

A lingcod fish

In a new study, scientists found that selectively fishing for lingcod in protected areas actually avoided hampering the recovery of other fish, including rockfish species listed as overfished.


Bacteria in branches naturally fertilize trees

Young poplar and willow trees along the Snoqualmie River.

A University of Washington team has demonstrated that poplar trees growing in rocky, inhospitable terrain harbor bacteria within them that could provide valuable nutrients to help the plant grow.



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