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210 posts in Research

Cracking the genetic code of Washington’s eelgrass

In the Pacific Northwest, eelgrass serves an important function in the ecosystem by binding sediments, storing carbon, and providing essential habitat for Pacific herring, juvenile salmon, and many other species. Concerningly, eelgrass populations are susceptible to human impacts related to water quality changes or direct disturbance. Eelgrass mitigation and restoration strategies often result in plants being transplanted to new locations where eelgrass may already be present. However, these efforts often lack information on the genetic population structure in an ever-changing environment. A team of interdisciplinary researchers at the University of Washington is developing baseline data for native eelgrass to make the first comprehensive geographic map of state eelgrass population structure and describe the relationship between eelgrass population structure, phenotypic diversity, and local adaptation and resistance to environmental stressors.

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Community science effort helps UW researchers understand local seabird populations

For nearly two decades, volunteers on Whidbey Island have been monitoring a curious little seabird—the pigeon guillemot, small in size, black with white patches on the wings and a fire-engine-red mouth and feet. Using binoculars, they observe and record the comings and goings of the island’s resident seabirds along the seaside cliffs.
Pigeon guillemots have been identified as a Puget Sound indicator species due to their abundance throughout the region, but what they might indicate is not yet clear. 

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A rising tide of marine disease? How parasites respond to a warming world

Warming events are increasing in magnitude and severity, threatening many ecosystems worldwide. As the global temperatures continue to climb, it also raises uncertainties as to the relationship, prevalence, and spread of parasites and disease. A recent study from the University of Washington explores the ways parasitism will respond to climate change, providing researchers new insights into disease transmission.

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SAFS researchers and graduates coauthor international letter addressing transboundary mining pollution

A number of UW researchers have joined an international group of science and policy experts to publish a joint commentary in the journal Science, calling on U.S. and Canadian leaders to address damages and risks caused by Canadian mine pollution flowing downstream into U.S. states. Led by researchers at the University of Montana, the cohort included five graduates and one PhD candidate from the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

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

In a recent interdisciplinary study, University of Washington researchers at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Department of Materials Science and Engineering used advanced methodologies to accurately identify and catalog microplastics in Pacific oysters from the Salish Sea. They have discovered that the abundance of tiny microplastic contaminants in these oysters is much lower than previously thought. The findings were published in January in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

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Sockeye salmon fuel a win-win for bears and people in Alaska’s Bristol Bay

In a world where valuable natural resources can be scarce, nature often loses when humans set their sights on something they want. But a new study published in the journal Ecological Applications shows that doesn’t always have to be true. Researchers found that with proper management of salmon fisheries, both humans and bears — who depend on a healthy supply of the fatty, oily fish — can thrive.

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