UW Today

Research


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.


New discovery Proxima b is in host star’s habitable zone — but could it really be habitable?

Artist's impression of the planet orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri.

The world’s attention is now on Proxima Centauri b, a possibly Earth-like planet about 4.22 light-years away. It’s in its star’s habitable zone — but could it in fact be habitable? If so, the planet evolved very different than Earth, say researchers at the University of Washington-based Virtual Planetary Laboratory.


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 24, 2016

Statewide housing market strong in second quarter of 2016

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Washington state’s housing market remained strong in the second quarter of 2016. Home sale prices and the number of sales were up, although new building permits were down compared with a year ago, according to the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the UW.


August 21, 2016

Is divorce seasonal? UW research shows biannual spike in divorce filings

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To everything there is a season — even divorce, new research from University of Washington sociologists concludes. Associate sociology professor Julie Brines and doctoral candidate Brian Serafini found what is believed to be the first quantitative evidence of a seasonal, biannual pattern of filings for divorce. The researchers analyzed filings in Washington state between 2001…


August 20, 2016

‘I miss you so much’: How Twitter is broadening the conversation on death and mourning

Twitter bird and logo on blue background

Death and mourning were largely considered private matters in the 20th century, with the public remembrances common in previous eras replaced by intimate gatherings behind closed doors in funeral parlors and family homes. But social media is redefining how people grieve, and Twitter in particular — with its ephemeral mix of rapid-fire broadcast and personal…


August 18, 2016

Twins, especially male identical twins, live longer

Twin boys

Analysis of almost 3,000 pairs of Danish twins shows that they live longer than the general population, especially if they are identical.


Paleontologists with the UW’s Burke Museum discover major T. rex fossil

Paleontologists with the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture and the UW have discovered a Tyrannosaurus rex, including a very complete skull. The find, which paleontologists estimate to be about 20 percent of the animal, includes vertebrae, ribs, hips and lower jaw bones.


August 17, 2016

Study finds bias, disgust toward mixed-race couples

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Interracial marriage has grown in the United States over the past few decades, and polls show that most Americans are accepting of mixed-race relationships. A 2012 study by the Pew Research Center found that interracial marriages in the U.S. had doubled between 1980 and 2010 to about 15 percent, and just 11 percent of respondents…


Interscatter communication enables first-ever implanted devices, smart contact lenses, credit cards that ‘talk’ Wi-Fi

photo of three devices used in experiment

“Interscatter” communication developed by UW engineers allows power-limited devices such as brain implants, contact lenses, credit cards and smaller wearable electronics to talk to everyday devices such as smartphones and watches.


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.


UW research backs up ongoing efforts to protect the enigmatic Nautilus

Nautilus

University of Washington biologist Peter Ward’s body of research has helped policymakers recognize the impact nautiluses have on ocean ecosystems, as well as how they can — and cannot — replenish their numbers in the face of unrestricted, unregulated fishing. At a CITES meeting in September, Ward and his team hope nautiluses will get much-needed protections from trade and harvesting.


Unearthing trackers of the past: UW computer scientists reveal the history of third-party web tracking

security camera

At the USENIX Security Conference in Austin, Texas, a team of University of Washington researchers on Aug. 12 presented the first-ever comprehensive analysis of third-party web tracking across three decades and a new tool, TrackingExcavator, which they developed to extract and analyze tracking behaviors on a given web page. They saw a four-fold increase in third-party tracking on top sites from 1996 to 2016, and mapped the growing complexity of trackers stretching back decades.


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

New book ‘Cities that Think Like Planets’ imagines urban regions resilient to change

Marina Alberti's book "Cities that Think Like Planets: Complexity, Resilience, and Innovation in Hybrid Ecosystems" was published in July by University of Washington Press. Photo is the cover illustration of the book.

What does it mean for a city to “think like a planet”? Marina Alberti of the UW College of Built Environments discusses her new book, “Cities that Think Like Planets,” published by UW Press.


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.


Local media moments recalled in Seattle Television History project

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres talks with host Ross Shafer on after a funny monologue in a 1985 episode of the Seattle comedy show "Almost Live." A report on Seattle's rich comedy broadcasting history is among the exhibits in the Seattle Television Project archive, created by Stephen Groening of the Department of Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media.

A wild-eyed television preacher, uncensored public access nuttiness, even a young Ellen DeGeneres featured on a local comedy show segment — when Stephen Groening had students explore the history of local television for a class, they sure found a lot of good stuff.


August 1, 2016

Twelve UW faculty elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences

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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 28, 2016

Runstad Center report: Addressing condo construction defect liability may help promote affordable housing in Seattle

A new study from the UW’s Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies suggests that Seattle and Washington state could invite development of more affordable housing by easing the legal risk — or the appearance of risk — in condominium development, construction, liability and insurance.


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.


July 25, 2016

Minimum Wage Study: Effects of Seattle wage hike modest, may be overshadowed by strong economy

Photo by Katherine Turner.

The lot of Seattle’s lowest-paid workers improved following the city’s minimum wage increase to $11 in 2015, but that was more due to the robust regional economy than the wage hike itself, according to a research team headed by the UW Evans School.


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 21, 2016

University of Washington sets new record with $542.4 million in private support and contributions in FY 2016

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The University of Washington received a record $542.4 million in the 2016 fiscal year, ending June 30, breaking the previous record of $482.5 million set in 2013-14. The funds came in the form of private gifts and grants earmarked by individuals, corporations and foundations for specific areas of research, labs, faculty, and student scholarships and programs.


An engineered protein can disrupt tumor-promoting ‘messages’ in human cells

Cellular protein

A team of researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Trento in Italy unveiled an engineered protein that they designed to repress a specific cancer-promoting message within cells.


From crop-raiding monkeys to political unrest: UW’s Randy Kyes embarks on 100th field course

Randy Kyes, left, with UW and Indonesian students on Tinjil Island, Indonesia.

A chance meeting with a fellow scientist 27 years ago forever changed Randy Kyes’ life — catapulting him from North Carolina to Indonesia and beyond. As the founding director of the University of Washington’s Center for Global Field Study and head of the Division of Global Programs at the Washington National Primate Research Center, Kyes…


Imaging software predicts how you look with different hair styles, colors, appearances

These examples show a single input photo (left) and Dreambit's automatically synthesized appearances of the input photo with "curly hair" (top row), in "India" (2nd row), and at "1930" (3rd row).

A personalized image search engine developed by a University of Washington researcher lets a person imagine how they would look a with different a hairstyle, if they lived in a different time period or any other appearance change that can be synthesized with internet photos.


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 14, 2016

Study: Perceived threats from police officers, black men predict support for policing reforms

Image of police officer from back

At a time of intense national attention on law enforcement and race, a new University of Washington study suggests that racially based fear plays a role in public support for policing reforms. The research, conducted by UW postdoctoral researcher Allison Skinner and published online July 12 in the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology, used a…


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 11, 2016

UW researchers improve microscopy method to ‘swell’ cellular structures, bringing fine details into view

Proteins in a cell.

Scientists from the University of Washington recently reported a relatively simple method swell the tiny, complex structures within cells, bringing them within range of a common microscope’s resolving range.


July 8, 2016

Researchers show phone calls can forecast dengue fever outbreaks

Predictions from the research team's model about where dengue fever cases would appear based on phone calls (in red) closely track suspected dengue cases actually reported by Pakistani hospitals (in black).

A UW computer science and engineering doctoral student has helped develop a system that can forecast the outbreak of dengue fever by simply analyzing the calling behavior of citizens to a public-health hotline.


‘Excitations’: Summer Institute in the Arts to explore energy

Student participants in the 2104 Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities study and share together on a sunny day.

“Excitation” is not just a scientific term or perfect Beach Boys lyric, it’s also the topic of this year’s cross-disciplinary Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities, an intensive summer research program for undergraduate students.


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.


UW, Microsoft researchers break record for DNA data storage

photo of researchers

University of Washington and Microsoft researchers have broken what they believe is the world record for the amount of digital data successfully stored — and retrieved — in DNA molecules by encoding, among other things, an OK Go video.


July 6, 2016

Acid attack — can mussels hang on for much longer?

Mussels

Scientists from the University of Washington have found evidence that ocean acidification caused by carbon emissions can prevent mussels attaching themselves to rocks and other substrates, making them easy targets for predators and threatening the mussel farming industry.


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

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


June 24, 2016

UW’s Clean Energy Institute to participate in national smart manufacturing initiative

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The University of Washington’s Clean Energy Institute will partner with regional industry and academic institutions as part of the new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, according to an announcement June 20 by the White House.



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