Environment

Most-read research stories of 2021

As the pandemic dragged into its second year, Washington State University research that grabbed the most media attention either provided some comfort and hope or warned of more dangers ahead. CAS faculty featured in four of the top 10 most popular stories—including the number one spot—and were well-represented in the next 76 press releases tracked […]

Advancing nutrition for exotic animals

Building on experiences gained at Washington State University, alumnus Troy Tollefson helps black rhinos, giraffes, maned wolves, and other exotic animals live healthier lives in zoos and sanctuaries as an animal nutritionist. After earning a trio of degrees at WSU—bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology in 2002 and 2004, followed by

Getting the ratio right

A high protein diet appears linked to kidney disease and shortened lifespans for captive polar bears, a relationship similarly suspected in humans, according to a review led by WSU wildlife biologist Charlie Robbins. “Zoos made some assumptions in the past about the nutritional requirements of polar bears because their diet is almost exclusively

Undergraduates tackle important questions in sciences, humanities

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, relieving chronic pain, understanding protest behavior, and conserving wildlife are among the goals of eight undergraduate research projects funded this spring by the College of Arts and Sciences. Students from across the college—in mathematics, chemistry, foreign languages, and political, psychological, environmental, and biological sciences—are working with faculty mentors to solve questions […]

Increasing trend of concurrent wildfire air pollution and severe heat

Large wildfires and severe heat events are happening more often at the same time, worsening air pollution across the western United States, a study led by Washington State University researchers has found. In 2020, more than 68% of the western U.S.—representing about 43 million people—were affected in one day by the resulting harmful-levels of air […]

Concurrent heat waves becoming more frequent

In a study of climate data from 1979 to 2019, WSU environmental researchers found the number of large-area heatwaves occurring simultaneously in the mid- to high-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere was seven times greater in the 2010s than in the 1980s. On average, there were concurrent heatwaves on 143 days each year of the 2010s—almost […]

Melting sea ice forces polar bears to travel farther for food

In recent years, polar bears in the Beaufort Sea have had to travel far outside of their traditional arctic hunting grounds which has contributed to an almost 30% decrease in their population. “Having to travel farther means these bears are expending more energy which can threaten their survival,” said Anthony Pagano, a postdoctoral researcher in […]

Tribal connection inspires efforts to save salmon

In her research of toxic runoff to help save iconic salmon species, WSU scholar Stephanie Blair draws on her science background as well as the knowledge and connections of her Native American community. “We’re taught to think seven generations ahead, about people we won’t see in our lifetime,” Blair said. “Having experienced what happened to […]

Dr. Universe: Why do leaves fall in the fall?

Each year during the fall, we often see a lot of trees dropping their leaves. To find out exactly what happens when leaves fall, I talked to my friend Henry Adams, a researcher at Washington State University. Adams is very curious about the lives of trees and how they can survive harsh conditions. He reminded […]