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131 posts in In the News

Piranha fish swap old teeth for new simultaneously

With the help of new technologies, a team led by the University of Washington has confirmed that piranhas — and their plant-eating cousins, pacus — do in fact lose and regrow all the teeth on one side of their face multiple times throughout their lives. How they do it may help explain why the fish go to such efforts to replace their teeth.

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A Tunnel to the Twilight Zone: Blue sharks ride deep-swirling currents to the ocean’s midwater at mealtime

Last year, researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Applied Physics Lab at the University of Washington (UW) discovered that when white sharks are ready to feast, they ride large, swirling ocean currents known as eddies to fast-track their way to the ocean twilight zone—a layer of the ocean between 200 and 1000 meters deep (656 to 3280 feet) containing the largest fish biomass on Earth. Now, according to a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists are seeing a similar activity with blue sharks, which dive through these natural, spinning tunnels at mealtime. The eddies draw warm water deep into the twilight zone where temperatures are normally considerably colder, allowing blue sharks to forage across areas of the open ocean that are often characterized by low prey abundance in surface waters.

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Researchers deploy new tech to explore depths of Gulf of Mexico

A multi-institution team consisting of the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (UW SAFS) Professor John Horne will deploy experimental technology next week to explore the deep scattering layers of the ocean. In addition to Horne, the UW team includes Ross Hytnen Jr. and summer intern Raymond Surya (a JISAO intern from the University of Michigan). Horne’s lab at SAFS uses active acoustic technologies to count and characterize aquatic organism distributions and dynamics throughout the world. 

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What motivates people to join — and stick with — citizen science projects?

COASST citizen science volunteers identifying a seabird carcass in Ocean Shores, Washington.

One of the most established hands-on, outdoor citizen science projects is the University of Washington-based Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, COASST, which trains beachgoers along the West Coast, from California to Alaska, to monitor their local beach for dead birds. With about 4,500 participants in its 21-year history and roughly 800 active participants today, COASST’s long-term success is now the subject of scientific study in its own right. What makes people join citizen science projects, and what motivates people to stick with them over years?

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