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College of Arts and Sciences Archives

Chuck Cody and the Abelson Greenhouse

Chuck Cody in the Ableson greenhouse.Chuck Cody, who has served as the Abelson Hall Greenhouse plant growth facilities manager since the facility opened in 1985, answered questions about the space, the plants, and his career for WSU Pullman’s #FacultyFriday Facebook feature.

High above the southern end of the Library Mall, the rooftop greenhouse houses roughly 500 different species within 4,000 square feet of space. It is divided into nine independently controlled » More …

Dr. Universe: How do birds know where to migrate?

Dr. UniverseThere are all kinds of different birds on our planet, and they migrate to different places.

My friend Heather Watts, a researcher at Washington State University, is really curious about bird migration and told me more about how birds know where to go.

She said there are some birds that make a round-trip flight when they migrate. For instance, the bar-tailed godwit will make long flights between Alaska and New Zealand, traveling more than » More …

A quest to improve science communication, funding

Milica Radanovic.In addition to winning first place in her division for a compelling, three-minute overview of her complex, years-long biological research project, Milica Radanovic won a place among 23 graduate students selected nationwide by the Ecological Society of America (ESA) to inform Congress about the importance of funding scientific research.

“We are living during a time of global change and scientists have a social responsibility to » More …

Identifying biomarkers linked to autism

Biomarkers in human sperm that can indicate a propensity to father children with autism spectrum disorder have been identified by a team of international researchers led by Michael Skinner, WSU professor of biological sciences.

The biomarkers are epigenetic, meaning they involve changes to molecular factors that regulate genome activity such as gene expression independent of DNA sequence, and can be passed down to future generations. » More …

Tasmanian devils may survive their own pandemic

Tasmanian devilAmid the global COVID-19 crisis, there is some good news about a wildlife pandemic—which may also help scientists better understand how other emerging diseases evolve.

WSU researchers have found strong evidence that a transmissible cancer that has decimated Tasmanian devil populations likely won’t spell their doom. » More …

Beavers may help amphibians threatened by climate change

The recovery of beavers may have beneficial consequences for amphibians because beaver dams can create the unique habitats that amphibians need.

“Beaver-dammed wetlands support more of the amphibian species that need a long time to develop in water as larvae before they are able to live on land as adults,” said Jonah Piovia-Scott, assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences and one of » More …

Wine and fungi: The perfect pairing?

Students on Tanya Cheeke's research team plant wine grape plants for their fungi experiment at WSU Tri-Cities.A team at WSU Tri-Cities is researching the impact that a type of fungus could have on vineyard growth and associated nutrient uptake, which could lead to less watering and less fertilizer required for a successful grape crop.

Tanya Cheeke, assistant professor of biology, was awarded a two-year $40,000 grant to support a field experiment from the BIOAg program of » More …

International workshop aims to boost number, success of women in STEM

Elissa Schwartz.Elissa Schwartz, an associate professor with faculty appointments in both the School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and an affiliate faculty member of the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), is committed to increasing the participation and success of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

In addition to a number of domestic and international activities in recent years, Schwartz recently organized a three-part, interactive forum featuring live mentoring by women scientists, mathematicians and » More …

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 …