UW News

College of the Environment


August 3, 2020

New studies show how to save parasites and why it’s important

close up of a parasite

An international group of scientists has laid out an ambitious global conservation plan for parasites. A related paper led by the University of Washington found that responses of parasites to environmental change are likely to be complex, and that a changing world probably will see both outbreaks of some parasites and a total loss of other parasite species.


July 30, 2020

Deep-sea anglerfishes have evolved a new type of immune system

a female anglerfish with a male attached

Deep-sea anglerfishes employ an incredible reproductive strategy. Tiny dwarfed males become permanently attached to relatively gigantic females, fuse their tissues and then establish a common blood circulation. Now scientists have figured out why female anglerfishes so readily accept their male mates. Their findings are published July 30 in Science.


July 29, 2020

Expert FAQ: Wildfires in the Pacific Northwest during the COVID-19 pandemic

forest on fire

The University of Washington has a long history of leading research into the impacts of wildfires from an ecological and health perspective. We worked with two experts to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about wildfires in the Pacific Northwest, including the ways that the pandemic is increasing our community’s vulnerability to extreme wildfire events in the region.


July 27, 2020

Pristine air over Southern Ocean suggests early industrial era’s clouds not so different from today’s

southern ocean clouds seen from an aircraft

A new study led by the University of Washington and the University of Leeds uses satellite data over the Southern Hemisphere to understand the makeup of global clouds since the Industrial Revolution. This research tackles one of the largest uncertainties in today’s climate models — the long-term effect of tiny atmospheric particles on climate change.


July 16, 2020

7 University of Washington researchers elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences in 2020

Seven scientists and engineers at the University of Washington have been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences, according to an announcement July 15 by the academy.


Faculty/staff honors: ‘Architect’ magazine award, national society president-elect, library research honor — and runner-up for a national award for young scientists

A photo from the video installation "The Age of the Kampuchea Picture" at UW Libraries. 2017.

Recent honors to University of Washington faculty and staff have come from Architect magazine, the Center for Research Libraries, member states of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the American Society of Human Genetics.


June 30, 2020

UW EarthLab and The Nippon Foundation launch Ocean Nexus Center

image of people fishing

The University of Washington and The Nippon Foundation today announced the launch of the Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center, an interdisciplinary research group at the UW that studies changes, responses and solutions to societal issues that emerge in relationship with the oceans. The Center will bring uncompromised, critical voices to policy and public conversations to enable research and studies equaling $32.5 million spread over 10 years.


June 24, 2020

Puget Sound eelgrass beds create a ‘halo’ with fewer harmful algae, new method shows

gray skies and ocean

Genetic clues show that eelgrass growing underwater along Puget Sound shorelines is associated with fewer of the single-celled algae that produce harmful toxins in shellfish. The evidence shows this effect extends 45 feet beyond the edge of the eelgrass bed.


June 16, 2020

UW reinvents summer research, internships during COVID-19

Woman standing against outside of law school building

The COVID-19 Clearinghouse at UW Law is just one of the ways that faculty and staff across the university have revamped summer research internships and worked with outside partners and employers to involve students in a remote working environment, even for jobs that would normally be out in the field.


June 9, 2020

Volcanic activity and changes in Earth’s mantle were key to rise of atmospheric oxygen

layered brown rock

Evidence from rocks billions of years old suggest that volcanoes played a key role in the rise of oxygen in the atmosphere of the early Earth.


May 28, 2020

The most common organism in the oceans harbors a virus in its DNA

grey oval with orange circles attached

A new study in Nature Microbiology shows that the most common organism in the world’s oceans — and possibly the whole planet — harbors a virus in its DNA. This virus may have helped it survive and outcompete other organisms. The study began as a UW School of Oceanography senior thesis.


May 21, 2020

NOAA selects UW to host new, regional institute for climate, ocean and ecosystem research

atlantic ocean

A 5-year, up to $300 million grant from NOAA establishes the new Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean and Ecosystem Studies, a UW-based institute with partners at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Oregon State University. The institute will lead collaborative, multidisciplinary research and education activities around oceans and climate.


May 15, 2020

ArtSci Roundup: Faculty recital: Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, ‘Developing Capacity Through Collaborative Action,’ and more

During this time of uncertainty and isolation, find solace in digital opportunities to connect, share, and engage. Each week, we will share upcoming events that bring the UW, and the greater community, together online.  Many of these online opportunities are streamed through Zoom. All UW faculty, staff, and students have access to Zoom Pro via UW-IT.  Faculty…


Ocean ‘breathability’ key to past, future habitat of West Coast marine species

silver fish

Historical observations collected off California since the 1950s suggest that anchovies thrive where the water is breathable — a combination of the oxygen levels in the water and the species’ oxygen needs, which are affected by temperature. Future projections suggest that the waters off Mexico and Southern California could be uninhabitable by 2100.


May 12, 2020

Seismologists to host virtual event on 40th anniversary of Mount St. Helens eruption

snow-covered mountain with smoke

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, based at the University of Washington, will host an online event on the 40th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, featuring seismologists from the UW and other institutions who can explain the events before, during and after the historic blast. The virtual event will take place from 6:30…


May 6, 2020

Faculty/staff honors: Distinguished contributions to Asian studies, social equity award, Swedish physical geography honor, new Cascade Public Media director

Recent honors to University of Washington faculty and staff have come from the Association of Asian Studies, the American Society of Public Administration, the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography and Cascade Public Media.


May 4, 2020

John Marzluff explores how farming, food production and wildlife can coexist in new book ‘In Search of Meadowlarks’

bird on a post

Farming and food production can be made more compatible with bird and wildlife conservation, says UW ornithologist John Marzluff in his latest book, “In Search of Meadowlarks: Birds, Farms, and Food in Harmony with the Land”


May 1, 2020

Pacific oysters in the Salish Sea may not contain as many microplastics as previously thought

oysters on beach

University of Washington researchers have discovered that the abundance of tiny microplastic contaminants in Pacific oysters from the Salish Sea is much lower than previously thought.


April 30, 2020

First results from NASA’s ICESat-2 map 16 years of melting ice sheets

colored map of Antarctica

Loss of ice from Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets since 2003 have contributed 0.55 inches to global sea level rise, with about two thirds coming from Greenland ice. The new, detailed satellite measurements provide a global picture of ice sheet change — and insights into the future of Greenland and Antarctica.


April 28, 2020

Agricultural pickers in US to see unsafely hot workdays double by 2050

pickers in field

A new study looks at temperature increases in counties across the United States where crops are grown. It also looks at different strategies the industry could adopt to protect workers’ health.


April 24, 2020

Faculty/staff honors: Education research, Salish Sea Prize, Association for Psychological Science award

The European green crab

Recent honors to UW faculty and staff have come from the American Education Research Association, the Association for Psychological Science and the SeaDoc Society.


April 16, 2020

Dose of nature at home could help mental health, well-being during COVID-19

In light of stay-at-home orders, University of Washington researchers say studies show there is much to be gained from nature close to home, whether in a yard, on neighborhood walks or even indoors.


‘Hands-on’ classes online? How some instructors are adapting to a new teaching environment

A postal service box with lab materials inside

When the UW announced it was moving its spring quarter 2020 classes entirely online to combat the novel coronavirus, instructors across campus faced a new, uncharted challenge.


April 8, 2020

ArtSci Roundup: Lecture with IVA Professor Whitney Lynn, In Plain Sight Screening, Childhood Bilingualism Talk, and more

collage of various art works and portraits

During this time of uncertainty and isolation, find solace in digital opportunities to connect, share, and engage. Each week, we will share upcoming events that bring the UW, and greater community, together online.  Many of these online opportunities are streamed through Zoom. All UW faculty, staff, and students have access to Zoom Pro via UW-IT.  Earth Day…


April 1, 2020

Study synthesizes what climate change means for Northwest wildfires

bare trunks

A University of Washington study, published this winter in Fire Ecology, takes a big-picture look at what climate change could mean for wildfires in the Northwest, considering Washington, Oregon, Idaho and western Montana.


March 24, 2020

Ships’ emissions create measurable regional change in clouds

aerial image of ships' tracks

Years of cloud data over a shipping route between Europe and South Africa shows that pollution from ships has significantly increased the reflectivity of the clouds. More generally, the results suggest that industrial pollution’s effect on clouds has masked about a third of the warming due to fossil fuel burning since the late 1800s.


March 19, 2020

‘Sushi parasites’ have increased 283-fold in past 40 years

anisakis in salmon filet

A new study led by the University of Washington finds dramatic increases in the abundance of a worm that can be transmitted to humans who eat raw or undercooked seafood. Its 283-fold increase in abundance since the 1970s could have implications for the health of humans and marine mammals, which both can inadvertently eat the worm.


March 18, 2020

‘Fatal attraction’: Small carnivores drawn to kill sites, then ambushed by larger kin

cougar on wildlife camera

University of Washington researchers have discovered that large predators play a key yet unexpected role in keeping smaller predators and deer in check. Their “fatal attraction” theory finds that smaller predators are drawn to the kill sites of large predators by the promise of leftover scraps, but the scavengers may be killed themselves if their larger kin return for seconds.


March 12, 2020

Ocean acidification impacts oysters’ memory of environmental stress

shucked oysters

Researchers from the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences have discovered that ocean acidification impacts the ability of some oysters to pass down “memories” of environmental trauma to their offspring.


March 10, 2020

‘Age of A.I.’ documentary on YouTube features UW experts

three people stare at graph on screen

A documentary series produced and released this winter by YouTube features UW computer scientist Pedro Domingos and members of the UW-based Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.


March 5, 2020

Visitors should avoid coming to UW campus to see cherry blossoms amid COVID-19 outbreak

blossoms up close

The University is asking people to avoid coming to campus this year to comply with Gov. Inslee’s March 11 proclamation that prohibits large gatherings of more than 250 people as our region combats the spread of COVID-19.


March 2, 2020

New honors for scientists studying ‘ecosystem sentinels’

P. Dee Boersma, a UW professor of biology and director of the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels, is a finalist for the 2020 Indianapolis Prize for conservation, to be awarded later this year by the Indianapolis Zoological Society. Sue Moore, a scientist with the center and a UW affiliate professor of biology and of aquatic and fishery sciences, has won the 2020 IASC Medal, also known as the Arctic Medal, from the International Arctic Science Committee.


February 27, 2020

Thinning, prescribed burns protected forests during the massive Carlton Complex wildfire

treated forest

In the first major study following the devastating Carlton Complex fire in north central Washington, researchers from the University of Washington and U.S. Forest Service found that previous tree thinning and prescribed burns helped forests survive the fire.


February 26, 2020

Wildness in urban parks important for human well-being

beach in seattle

A new University of Washington study has found that not all forms of nature are created equal when considering benefits to people’s well-being. Experiencing wildness, specifically, is particularly important for physical and mental health.


February 13, 2020

Researchers at AAAS to discuss latest science on Cascadia earthquake hazards

earthquake damage to brick building

At a Saturday afternoon session, researchers from the University of Washington and federal agencies will discuss the emerging research on Pacific Northwest megaquakes.


February 12, 2020

Polar bears in Baffin Bay skinnier, having fewer cubs due to less sea ice

polar bear walking

Satellite tracking of adult females and visual monitoring of polar bears in Baffin Bay show changes from the 1990s to the period from 2009 to 2015. Bears in Baffin Bay are getting thinner and adult females are having fewer cubs than when sea ice was more available.


February 10, 2020

Faculty/staff honors: Awards in architecture education, biomaterials research; nursing, cloud computing fellowships; and drama leader named among most Seattle’s most influential

statue of George Washington on UW campus

Recent honors to UW faculty and staff members include awards for architectural education and biomaterials research, fellowships in nursing and cloud computing, a professor named among Seattle’s most influential people and a big news year for “a burgeoning band of embodied carbon busters.”


January 30, 2020

UW’s new broadcast meteorology course is first on West Coast

two people in front of green screen

The University of Washington has long boasted one of the country’s top programs in atmospheric sciences. Now, the UW is also teaching undergraduates how to share that knowledge online and on TV as a broadcast meteorologist.


January 28, 2020

Rethinking land conservation to protect species that will need to move with climate change

high alpine landscape in washington state

Researchers from the UW and Evergreen found that many species of animals and plants likely will need to migrate under climate change, and that conservation efforts will also need to shift to be effective.


January 24, 2020

Tiny, ancient meteorites suggest early Earth’s atmosphere was rich in carbon dioxide

shiny black balls on red background

Tiny meteorites that fell to Earth 2.7 billion years ago suggest that the atmosphere at that time was high in carbon dioxide, which agrees with current understanding of how our planet’s atmospheric gases changed over time.



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