UW News

College of the Environment


June 15, 2018

Study: Undergrad research experiences make a noticeable difference

Photo by Katherine Turner.

A new analysis suggests the value of structured research programs for undergraduates extends to society as a whole by encouraging participants to seek advanced degrees in scientific and technological fields.


June 14, 2018

Key ocean fish can prevail with changes to farmed fish, livestock diets

forage fish swimming

Anchovies, herring, sardines and other forage fish play an essential role in the food web as prey for seabirds, marine mammals and larger fish like salmon. When ground into fishmeal and oil, they are also a key food source for farmed seafood and land-based livestock such as pigs and poultry. As seafood consumption outpaces the…


June 11, 2018

Warmer climate will dramatically increase the volatility of global corn crops

corn field in sunshine

A study of global maize production in 2100 shows dramatic increases in the variability of corn yields from one year to the next under climate change, making simultaneous low yields across multiple high-producing regions more likely, which could lead to price hikes and global shortages.


Choice matters: The environmental costs of producing meat, seafood

beef cows

A new study led by the University of Washington considers which food type is more environmentally costly to produce: livestock, farmed seafood or wild-caught fish.


June 5, 2018

Ocean warming, ‘junk-food’ prey cause of massive seabird die-off, study finds

dead cassin's auklet

A new University of Washington-led paper pinpoints starvation as the cause of death for hundreds of thousands of Cassin’s auklet seabirds in late 2014 to early 2015.


June 4, 2018

Polar scientist Kristin Laidre documents perspectives of polar bear hunters in East Greenland

photograph of subsistence hunter

Twenty-five polar bear hunters in East Greenland were interviewed before the first formal assessment of this subpopulation, one of 19 subpopulations of polar bears in a changing Arctic.


May 25, 2018

Broccoli in space: How probiotics could help grow veggies in microgravity

broccoli going to space.

Astronauts at the International Space Station are spending more time away from Earth, but they still need their daily serving of vegetables. In the quest to find a viable way for crew to grow their own veggies while orbiting — and possibly one day on the moon or Mars — student researchers are sending broccoli…


May 23, 2018

A promising target in the quest for a 1-million-year-old Antarctic ice core

yellow tent on snow

The oldest ice core so far provides 800,000 years of our planet’s climate history. A UW field survey in Antarctica has pinpointed a location where an entire million years of undisturbed ice might be preserved intact.


May 15, 2018

Forest loss in one part of US can harm trees on the opposite coast

forest with dead trees

If an entire forest dies, new research shows, it has ricocheting effects in the atmosphere that can affect vegetation on the other side of the country.


May 10, 2018

New UW vessel, RV Rachel Carson, will explore regional waters

blue and white ship

The UW School of Oceanography has a new vessel, named after marine biologist, author and conservationist Rachel Carson. It will explore Puget Sound and nearby coasts.


May 8, 2018

UW researchers will survey Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier as part of major international effort

International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration logo

UW glaciologist Knut Christianson is part of a massive collaboration that will collect on-the-ground data about a key Antarctic glacier that shows signs it could be collapsing into the sea.


April 30, 2018

Q&A: Washington Sea Grant’s Penny Dalton a leader, mentor in ocean policy field

penny dalton phot

A Q&A with retiring Washington Sea Grant director Penny Dalton on her drive to serve the public, and the ways in which she has helped young marine policy experts get started in the field.


April 25, 2018

UW faculty selected as authors, editors of international report on climate change

IPCC 30th anniversary logo.

About twice each decade, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, looks at what is known about the science of climate change, the extent to which human activities are changing the Earth’s climate, and what risks these changes pose to human and natural systems. Organized into three working groups, each assessment is…


April 3, 2018

Bowhead whales, the ‘jazz musicians’ of the Arctic, sing many different songs

whale near floating ice

Bowhead whales are constantly changing their tune, unlike the only other whale species that sings, the humpback.


New arboretum trail daylights creek, gives greater access to wetlands

bridge with walker

A new trail that winds through Washington Park Arboretum is bringing to focus plants previously hidden and a stream that used to be underground in pipes and culverts. The UW together with Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Arboretum Foundation on Sunday, April 8 will celebrate the trail opening with festivities along the path.


April 2, 2018

Earth’s stable temperature past suggests other planets could also sustain life

image of early Earth with thermometer and pH strip overlaid

Earth has had moderate temperatures throughout its early history, and neutral seawater acidity. This means other rocky planets could likely also maintain this equilibrium and allow life to evolve.


March 22, 2018

A blind date in the deep sea: First-ever observations of a living anglerfish, a female with her tiny mate, coupled for life

fish swimming

A pair of anglerfish, a species never before seen alive by humans, was recorded recently on camera by researchers aboard the LULA1000, a submersible operated by the marine science-focused Rebikoff-Niggeler Foundation.


March 21, 2018

Partnering with indigenous communities to anticipate and adapt to ocean change

fishing boats

With a new $700,000 grant awarded from the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program, scientists from the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory, Washington Sea Grant and the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean have teamed with federal and tribal partners to study the social and ecological vulnerabilities of Olympic Coast ocean acidification.


March 6, 2018

Glaciers in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert actually shrank during the last ice age

researchers walking on ice

High in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, the climate is so dry and cold that glaciers shrank during the last ice age. Dating of rock deposits shows how glaciers in this less-studied region can behave very differently as the climate shifts.


March 2, 2018

Two species of ravens nevermore? New research finds evidence of ‘speciation reversal’

raven

A new study almost 20 years in the making provides some of the strongest evidence yet of the “speciation reversal” phenomenon in two lineages of common ravens.


February 27, 2018

Largest Chinook salmon disappearing from West Coast

chinook salmon

The largest and oldest Chinook salmon — fish also known as “kings” and prized for their exceptional size — have mostly disappeared along the West Coast, according to a new study led by the University of Washington.


February 20, 2018

Beluga whales dive deeper, longer to find food in Arctic

beluga whales

Reductions in sea ice in the Arctic have a clear impact on animals such as polar bears that rely on frozen surfaces for feeding, mating and migrating. But sea ice loss is changing Arctic habitat and affecting other species in more indirect ways, new research finds. Beluga whales that spend summers feeding in the Arctic…


February 8, 2018

Simple rules can help fishery managers cope with ecological complexity

herring fish

A team of ecologists and economists is the first to test whether real-life ecological interactions produce economic benefits for the fishing industry. The results were published online Jan. 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


February 7, 2018

Ice core shows North American ice sheet’s retreat affected Antarctic weather

iceberg from above

A study from the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Washington finds that the retreat of the ice sheet covering North America made Antarctic weather more similar from one year to the next.


February 6, 2018

University of Washington, other leading research universities form international coalition to speed local climate action

clean energy testbeds

The University of Washington joins 12 other leading North American research universities in the new University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3, a group committed to leveraging its research and resources to help communities accelerate climate action.


February 5, 2018

UW atmospheric scientists flying through clouds above Antarctica’s Southern Ocean

clouds

UW atmospheric sciences faculty and graduate students are in Tasmania studying how clouds form over Antarctica’s Southern Ocean.


February 1, 2018

UW’s large research vessel, R/V Thomas G. Thompson, gets back to work

ship in shipyard

After an “extreme makeover” that went from stem to stern on five decks of the ship, the R/V Thomas G. Thompson is ready to get back to work exploring the world’s oceans. The University of Washington’s School of Oceanography, part of the College of the Environment, operates the 274-foot ship, which arrived on campus in…


January 24, 2018

A new ‘atmospheric disequilibrium’ could help detect life on other planets

illustration of telescope and planets

A University of Washington study has found a simple approach to look for life that might be more promising than just looking for oxygen.


January 22, 2018

Small hydroelectric dams increase globally with little research, regulations

example of small hydropower

University of Washington researchers have published the first major assessment of small hydropower dams around the world — including their potential for growth — and highlight the incredibly variability in how dams of varying sizes are categorized, regulated and studied.


January 18, 2018

Temporary ‘bathtub drains’ in the ocean concentrate flotsam

white plastic drifter on ship deck

An experiment using hundreds of plastic drifters in the Gulf of Mexico shows that rather than simply spread out, as current calculations would predict, many of them clumped together in a tight cluster.


Q&A: Forgotten fish illustrator remembered through first publication

Large Scaled Gurnard

More than three centuries ago, a French monk made thousands of drawings of plants and animals, traveling under the authority of King Louis XIV to the French Antilles to collect and document the natural history of the islands. These drawings were often the first ever recorded for each species and were completed in remarkable detail….


How the Elwha dam removals changed the river’s mouth

Elwha River - Olympic National Park

A new study in the Journal PLOS ONE details what removing the two dams on the Elwha River meant for the nearshore marine ecosystem.


Civil War-era U.S. Navy ships’ logs to be explored for climate data, maritime history

soldiers on shore

A new grant will let a University of Washington-based project add a new fleet to its quest to learn more about past climate from the records of long-gone mariners. The UW is among the winners of the 2017 “Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives” awards, announced Jan. 4 by the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Library…


January 17, 2018

Scale-eating fish adopt clever parasitic methods to survive

scan

A small group of fishes — possibly the world’s cleverest carnivorous grazers — feeds on the scales of other fish in the tropics. A team led by biologists at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories is trying to understand these scale-feeding fish and how this odd diet influences their body evolution and behavior.


December 18, 2017

Partnership will use robotic network to explore Antarctic ice shelves

yellow instrument in dark water

A new partnership between the UW and Paul G. Allen Philanthropies will use a network of robots to observe conditions beneath a floating Antarctic ice shelf.


Fish to benefit if large dams adopt new operating approach

dam

Recognizing that many large dams are here to stay, a University of Washington team is investigating an emerging solution to help achieve freshwater conservation goals by re-envisioning the ways in which water is released by dams.


December 14, 2017

Loose skin and slime protect hagfishes from sharks

A hagfish, left, is pursued by a predator.

Researchers from the University of Washington, Chapman University and University of Guelph have published new research showing how hagfishes survive an initial attack from predators before they release large volumes of slime to defend themselves.


December 13, 2017

UW project seeks sustainable blueprint for hydropower dams

children fishing

A new NSF-funded project will use findings in the Mekong River basin as an example of how three critical issues — feeding people, generating energy and maintaining functioning ecosystems — can be addressed thoughtfully and progressively in the developing world.


December 11, 2017

Q&A: UW’s Shuyi Chen on hurricane science, forecasting and the 2017 hurricane season

satellite image of three hurricanes

New faculty member Shuyi Chen answers some questions about hurricane science, hurricane forecasting and the 2017 storm season.


December 7, 2017

New research shows hydropower dams can be managed without an all-or-nothing choice between energy and food

A women fishes in Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia.

The University of Washington, Arizona State University and other collaborators have proposed a method in the Dec. 8 issue of Science that allows hydroelectric dam operators to generate power in ways that protect — and possibly improve — food supplies and businesses throughout the Mekong river basin in Southeast Asia.



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