WSU Pullman

Polar bears unlikely to adapt to longer summers

More time stranded on land means greater risk of starvation for polar bears, a new study indicates. During three summer weeks, 20 polar bears closely observed by scientists tried different strategies to maintain energy reserves, including resting, scavenging and foraging. Yet nearly all of them lost weight rapidly: on average around 1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, per day. […]

Top research coverage of 2023

Whisky, contraception, cannabis: many of the Washington State University studies that garnered the most attention from news media in 2023 seemed to involve human pleasures—and their consequences. That focus may say something about the global mood in the first post-pandemic year, but it also speaks to the real-world impact of WSU’s research enterprise. Three initiatives […]

Potential link found between high maternal cortisol, unpredicted birth complications

A snippet of hair can reveal a pregnant person’s stress level and may one day help warn of unexpected birth problems, a study indicates. Washington State University researchers measured the stress hormone cortisol in hair samples of 53 women in their third trimester. Of that group, 13 women who had elevated cortisol levels later experienced […]

WSU research addresses climate change on multiple fronts

Here’s a question with a thousand answers: How do we create a livable future amid climate change? Such a big challenge demands an equally expansive approach to solutions. At Washington State University, more than 60 departments are active in climate-related research, work that in many cases has been under way for decades. It’s a priority […]

WSU Pullman hosting high school linguistics competition

Washington State University’s Pullman campus is a host site for the initial round of this year’s North American Computational Linguistics Open Competition. As part of the annual contest, high school students from around the country use their logic skills to work through complex linguistics puzzles, often centered on decoding ciphers. Students who do well in […]

Guide on how to use climate data to inform human adaptation

A framework for combining climate and social data could help scientists better support climate change adaptation ahead of future weather-related disasters. The Washington State University-led research draws on the expertise of climate and social scientists to show how data on different characteristics of climate variability can be used to study the effectiveness of various human […]

Tasmanian devil die‑off appears to be affecting genetics of fellow predator

Population declines in the Tasmanian devil, a top predator species, caused by a transmissible cancer, may be affecting the evolutionary genetics of a subordinate predator species, the spotted-tailed quoll, research published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution reports. Top predator declines are occurring globally and have cascading ecological effects, one of which is to reduce competition and […]

WSU experts offer advice on turning New Year’s resolutions into reality

From ancient Babylonians making new commitments to their gods to today’s average office worker pledging to give up soda, humans have been struggling with New Year’s resolutions for a very long time. Yet there is hope, according to a group of Washington State University experts who offer their insights into keeping positive lifestyle changes going […]

Aging societies more vulnerable to collapse

Societies and political structures, like the humans they serve, appear to become more fragile as they age, according to an analysis of hundreds of pre-modern societies. The study, which holds implications for the modern world, provides the first quantitative support for the theory that resilience of political states decreases over time. Triggers of societal collapse […]