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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Biological Sciences

CAS staff, student honored with safety awards

WSU Spirit Mark.The annual system-wide WSU President’s Awards for Safety, Health, and Security recognize community members who contribute significantly to the well-being of the University. In 2021, three CAS staff members and one CAS undergraduate student were honored for their exceptional work. » More …

A new wave of aquatic biology technology

Students in a lab view frogs in a plastic tub.Bolstered by a $1 million upgrade in equipment and facilities, WSU researchers in biology, neuroscience, agriculture, veterinary medicine, and related fields anticipate significant breakthroughs in aquatic phenomics research with wide-ranging applications for human and animal health and ecology.

“The new aquatic phenomics system (APS) technology will enable rigorous » More …

Dr. Universe: Why can’t we breathe in space?

Dr. UniverseOn Earth, humans have oxygen to breathe. But there’s very little oxygen to breathe in space.

Space is actually a kind of vacuum, which means there isn’t a whole lot of matter, or stuff, out there between the planets and the stars.

For Earthlings like you and me, oxygen is an essential part of life. While 21% of Earth’s atmosphere is oxygen, my friend Yimo Liu reminded me it wasn’t always that way. » More …

$3M grant supports transformative graduate student research

Dylan Bugden, Erica Crespi, and Alexander Fremier.Washington State University will soon be preparing graduate students to tackle a difficult, interdisciplinary problem that is more than 1,200 miles long: the Columbia River.

With the support of a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation, WSU will develop a research training program focused on the relationships among rivers, watersheds, and communities. The program is intended to » More …

Meet the new faculty of fall 2021

College of Arts and Sciences - Washington State University.Meet the college’s newest faculty, whose scholarly expertise and interests—from transnational geographies to transgender studies, culturally relevant music to immigration law, and mind and body awareness to fluids in the Earth’s crust—enrich and expand the arts and sciences at WSU. » More …

Book review: The Whaler and the Girl in the Deadfall

Book cover: The Whaler and the Girl in the Deadfall, by Mahlon E. Kriebel.Influenced by real events of fall 1998 to spring 1999, when the Makah harvested their first whale in seven decades and made headlines worldwide, Mahlon Kriebel (’58 zoology) blends fact with fiction and explores the history of the whale hunt as well as complex cultural issues and tensions past and present. He provides historical context peppered with references to Native works of art, fiction, films, museum exhibits, and more. » More …

Wildfire changes songbird plumage

Red backed fairywren.Fire can put a tropical songbird’s sex life on ice.

Following habitat-destroying wildfires in Australia, a team of researchers led by WSU biology doctoral student Jordan Boersma found that many male red-backed fairywrens failed to molt into their red-and-black ornamental plumage, making them less attractive to potential mates. They also had lowered circulating testosterone, which has been associated with their showy feathers. » More …

Dr. Universe: How do trees give us air to breathe?

Dr. UniverseOur planet is home to all kinds of different plants, and they help make a lot of the oxygen we breathe. To find out how plants make oxygen, I asked my friend Balasaheb Sonawane, a scientist at WSU who researches photosynthesis, or the ways plants use energy from the sun and make oxygen. He said that in a way, plants breathe, too. » More …

Q&A with alumnus Edward Felt

Edward Felt.A biology and organizational communication double major, Edward Felt (’09) is the north American sales manager for VMRD, Inc., a Pullman-based company that develops and manufactures veterinary diagnostic test kits and reagents for distribution in more than 77 countries, as well as performing specialized testing for the global serum, veterinary, and pharmaceutical industries. » More …

Q&A with Heather Watts

Heather Well.Providing excellent training and mentoring for students in a supportive and inclusive environment that values diversity is a priority for Heather Watts. An associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences, she integrates behavior, physiology, ecology and evolution to investigate the relationships between environmental variation, life history patterns, and the behavior and physiology of individuals. » More …