UW News

College of the Environment


January 11, 2021

More management measures lead to healthier fish populations

Fish populations tend to do better in places where rigorous fisheries management practices are used, and the more measures employed, the better for fish populations and food production, according to a new paper published Jan. 11 in Nature Sustainability.


December 23, 2020

Bait and switch: Mislabeled salmon, shrimp have biggest environmental toll

pink piece of salmon

A study co-authored by UW’s Sunny Jardine finds that farmed Atlantic salmon, often labeled and sold as Pacific salmon or rainbow trout, is the second-most-consumed mislabeled seafood product in the U.S. Although not the most frequently mislabeled seafood, salmon’s popularity means it has one of the biggest environmental impacts.


December 18, 2020

Coral recovery during a prolonged heatwave offers new hope

The pressing concerns of climate change have placed the long-term health of the world’s coral reefs in jeopardy. However, new research inspires hope as some corals managed to survive a recent and globally unprecedented heatwave.


December 15, 2020

UW announces Maggie Walker Deanship in the College of the Environment

headshot

The University of Washington today announced a major gift that elevates the importance of climate change and secures the legacy of Seattle philanthropist Maggie Walker by creating a namesake deanship for the College of the Environment.


A.I. model shows promise to generate faster, more accurate weather forecasts

globe split into gridded squares

A model based solely on the past 40 years of weather events uses 7,000 times less computer power than today’s weather forecasting tools. An A.I.-powered model could someday provide more accurate forecasts for rain, snow and other weather events.


December 9, 2020

Warm oceans helped first human migration from Asia to North America

colored map of North Pacific

New research reveals significant changes to the circulation of the North Pacific and its impact on the initial migration of humans from Asia to North America. It provides a new picture of the circulation and climate of the North Pacific at the end of the last ice age, with implications for early human migration.


December 8, 2020

NSF-funded deep ice core to be drilled at Hercules Dome, Antarctica

closeup of ice in metal barrel

Antarctica’s next deep ice core, a 1.5-mile core reaching back to 130,000-year-old ice, will be carried out by a multi-institutional U.S. team led by UW’s Eric Steig. The site hundreds of miles from today’s coastline could provide clues to the most recent collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.


December 7, 2020

Military flights biggest cause of noise pollution on Olympic Peninsula

path through a forested area

A new University of Washington study provides the first look at how much noise pollution is impacting the Olympic Peninsula. The paper found that aircraft were audible across a large swath of the peninsula at least 20% of weekday hours, or for about one hour during a six-hour period. About 88% of all audible aircraft in the pre-pandemic study were military planes.


December 2, 2020

Scientists organize to tackle crisis of coral bleaching

bleached corals in the sea

At the current rate of global warming, mass coral bleaching is expected to become more frequent and severe worldwide. An international consortium of scientists, including a coral researcher from the University of Washington, has created the first-ever common framework for increasing comparability of research findings on coral bleaching.


November 24, 2020

Microbes help unlock phosphorus for plant growth

poplar trees along a river

A research team led by the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has shown that microbes taken from trees growing beside pristine mountain-fed streams in Western Washington could make phosphorus trapped in soils more accessible to agricultural crops. The findings were published in October in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science.


November 23, 2020

US seafood industry flounders due to COVID-19

fish being harvested

The global pandemic is hurting the seafood industry, and American fishmongers may flounder without more government aid, according to the largest study of COVID-19’s impacts on U.S. fisheries.


November 18, 2020

Lisa Graumlich, dean of UW College of the Environment, named president-elect of AGU

portrait

The American Geophysical Union announced that its members have elected Lisa Graumlich, dean of the UW College of the Environment, as the president-elect starting Jan. 1. After two years in this role Graumlich will begin a two-year term as president of the AGU board beginning in 2023.


November 5, 2020

New global archive logs changes in behavior of Arctic animals

moose in field

Scientists from around the world, including the University of Washington, have established the Arctic Animal Movement Archive, an online repository for data documenting the movements of animals in the Arctic and Subarctic. With this archive, scientists can share their knowledge and collaborate to ask questions about how animals are responding to a changing climate.


November 4, 2020

Faculty/staff honors: New atmospheric research board trustee; prize-winning fiction; PBS show consultant

Shuyi Chen, UW professor of atmospheric sciences, has been elected one of five new trustees to the board of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, the group that manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

A University of Washington meteorologist joins a national board for atmospheric research, an English professor’s story is honored and a Jackson School faculty member helps with research for a PBS show.


November 2, 2020

Flying through wildfire smoke plumes could improve smoke forecasts

propeller with smoke plume in background

The biggest study yet of West Coast wildfire plumes shows how a smoke plume’s chemistry changes over time. Results suggest current models may not accurately predict the air quality downwind of a wildfire.


October 29, 2020

UW Space Policy and Research Center brings researchers, policymakers together for online symposium Nov. 6

A preview of the Nov. 6 SPARC Symposium, which will feature a conversation with Andy Weir, author of “The Martian.”


UW awarded $23.5M to build floating robots as part of NSF project to monitor the world’s oceans

two people drop instrument in water

The University of Washington is among leading U.S. oceanographic institutions that have received National Science Foundation funding to build and deploy 500 robotic ocean-monitoring floats to monitor the chemistry and biology of the world’s oceans.


October 19, 2020

Early-arriving endangered Chinook salmon take the brunt of sea lion predation on the Columbia

sea lion eating a salmon

A new University of Washington and NOAA Fisheries study found that sea lions have the largest negative effect on early-arriving endangered Chinook salmon in the lower Columbia River. The results of this study will publish Oct. 18 in the Journal of Applied Ecology.


October 15, 2020

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?

stormcloud in front of field

Climate science has focused on avoiding false alarms when linking extreme weather to climate change. But when meteorologists warn of hazardous weather, they include a second key measure of success — the probability of detection.


September 30, 2020

Greenland is on track to lose ice faster than in any century over the past 12,000 years, study finds

ridged ice from above

A new study combines ice cores, geologic records and computer models to understand the past, present and future of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The results show that emissions this century have a big influence on how much ice will be lost from Greenland.


September 29, 2020

Aquatic hitchhikers: Using mobile technology to predict invasive species transmission

A new University of Washington study uses passive data from a fishing technology company to model the movement of anglers and predict where aquatic invasive species may be spreading.


September 23, 2020

Some polar bears in far north are getting short-term benefit from thinning ice

polar bear with ice and water in background

The small subpopulation of polar bears in Kane Basin were doing better, on average, in recent years than in the 1990s. The bears are experiencing short-term benefits from thinning and shrinking multiyear sea ice that allows more sunlight to reach the ocean surface, which makes the system more ecologically productive.


September 16, 2020

Most landslides in western Oregon triggered by heavy rainfall, not big earthquakes

bare slope and mountains in distance

Researchers at the University of Washington, Portland State University and the University of Oregon have shown that deep-seated landslides in the central Oregon Coast Range are triggered mostly by rainfall, not by large offshore earthquakes. The open-access paper was published Sept. 16 in Science Advances. “Geomorphologists have long understood the importance of rainfall in triggering…


Marine animals live where ocean is most ‘breathable,’ but ranges could shrink with climate change

New research shows that a wide variety of marine animals — from vertebrates to crustaceans to mollusks — already inhabit the maximum range of breathable ocean that their physiology will allow. The findings provide a warning about climate change: Since warmer waters will harbor less oxygen, some stretches of ocean that are breathable today for a given species may not be in the future.


September 3, 2020

Fighting fire with fire in the Methow Valley

Agencies that are well practiced in putting out wildfires are now learning a new skill: how to set the spark and fan the flames. That’s the case for the state Department of Natural Resources, which is starting to use prescribed burning as part of its strategy for fighting wildfires.


August 20, 2020

February lockdown in China caused a drop in some types of air pollution, but not others

colored maps of China

Atmospheric nitrogen dioxide, which comes from transportation, was half of what would be expected over China in February 2020. Other emissions and cloud properties, however, showed no significant changes.


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.



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