Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Archives

The power of symbiosis

Stephanie Porter.“Understanding the complex and often positive role the microbiome plays in the health of plants and animals has precipitated a real renaissance in biology,” says microbiologist Stephanie Porter, who studies the evolution of cooperation and plant–microbe symbiosis. “There’s been a blossoming of ideas due to new genomic tools for understanding this microbiome—the set of all microbes that live in and on plants and animals.”

“But there’s also been a shift in our thinking about microbes. We’ve moved from microbes being viewed strictly as the cause of diseases or that they are at best harmless, to thinking they have » More …

More economic worries mean less caution about COVID‑19

Hands and hand sanitizer.Workers experiencing job and financial insecurity are less likely to follow the CDC’s guidelines for COVID-19, such as physical distancing, limiting trips from home and washing hands, according to a study led by WSU Vancouver psychology professor Tahira Probst.

“We all have a finite set of resources at our disposal, whether it’s money, time or social support, and individuals who have fewer of those resources appear » More …

War songs and lullabies behind origins of music

Horns in a marching band.Love is not the reason why we sing and create symphonies—at least not the primary reason, according to a new evolutionary theory of the origins of music.

“Sex and mating are a part of the story, but music seems to expand far beyond that particular domain,” said Ed Hagen, WSU evolutionary anthropologist and a co-author of a study recently published in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

“The sexual selection hypothesis doesn’t really explain » More …

More than just noise

fish artwork over blue backgroundAllison Coffin, a neuroscientist in the College of Arts and Sciences at WSU Vancouver, focuses on hearing, hear-loss prevention, and even on sensory cell regeneration—something no mammal is known to be able to do, unlike many birds and fish.

For sound to get from the air around us to our brains, it passes through a kind of Rube Goldberg device, funneling through a canal, stopping to play a drum solo, then moving through the cochlea where the vibrations tickle tiny cilia sticking out of » More …

Family, career, and an educational journey

Samantha Edgerton.Before she decided to pursue a graduate degree in history, Samantha Edgerton worked in the disability and insurance industry for 18 years.

“I was hesitant to start a master’s program because of my age,” Edgerton said, “but my adviser encouraged me to not let that prevent me. It has been a dream of mine to finish my degree and to actually be able to call myself a historian,” Edgerton said. “While it has been incredibly difficult, so many people encouraged me not to quit.” » More …

A world without insects?

Insect Illustration.Over the past couple of decades an increasing number of reports have warned of dramatic declines in insect populations worldwide. Faced with data sufficient to cause grave concern, WSU scientists embrace a mixture of trust in insect resilience and a determination that despair is not an option.

Referring to her efforts to restore pollinator habitat and rebuild threatened butterfly populations, WSU Vancouver conservation biologist Cheryl Schultz says, “I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think there was hope.” » More …

International scholars join Electronic Literature Lab

Electronic Literature Lab.Two internationally renowned scholars will spend the 2020-21 academic year at WSU Vancouver as research affiliates in the Electronic Literature Lab (ELL).

One of only a handful of media archaeology labs in the United States, the ELL is used for advanced inquiry into the curation, documentation, preservation and production of born-digital literary works and other media.

The two will collaborate with ELL director and WSU professor Dene Grigar on projects such as » More …

Blackwell to lead new human biology program

Aaron Blackwell.An expert in human evolution and immune function development, Aaron Blackwell, associate professor of anthropology, will direct the new human biology degree program at WSU, consisting primarily of courses in anthropology and biological sciences.

CAS launched the four-year, interdisciplinary bachelor of arts program this fall to help meet global demand for skilled professionals in health, social and environmental sciences and public policy. It melds approaches and content from social and biological sciences to provide students a vibrant understanding of » More …

Meet the new faculty of fall 2020

College of Arts and Sciences - Washington State University.Meet the college’s newest faculty, whose disciplinary expertise—from origin of life and supermassive black holes to political psychology, ancient economics, and interdisciplinary art—enriches and expands the arts and sciences at WSU. » More …

Small towns have highest risk of intimate partner violence

Ariel shot of a small town.“In criminology, we often have this urban bias. We assume big cities are the worst and paint other places as idyllic,” said Kathryn DuBois, associate professor at WSU Vancouver. “We tend to think in a continuum from urban to suburban to rural, but for intimate partner violence, it’s actually the suburban areas that are the safest, and small towns that have the highest risk.”

In a recent study, DuBois, analyzed the responses of more than 570,000 women from the National Crime Victimization Survey from 1994 to 2015. She found that women from small towns were 42% more likely to be victims of intimate partner violence than women from the suburbs and » More …