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College of Arts and Sciences research

Bear butter: Studying tiny moths as a rich food source

Grizzly bear and cub.A team of international scientists led by a WSU graduate student are trekking the high peaks of the greater Glacier National Park ecosystem this summer to better understand a tiny but important food source for grizzly bears—the army cutworm moth.

Erik Peterson, a master’s student in the School of the Environment, partnered with WSU professor Daniel Thornton and seven colleagues to collect data, map, and model the alpine habitats where grizzlies forage on moths by the thousands, finding calorie-rich meals in » More …

Sniffing out patterns

Jaime Chambers.Dogs and humans have been inseparable for many millennia. Dogs eat, sleep, play, and work with us in relationships so intimate that we call them people, family members, and, as novelist Spencer Quinn puts it, members of “a nation within a nation.” Or so it would seem to your typical American dog owner.

In fact, says WSU anthropology graduate student Jaime Chambers, “the ways we interact with dogs are extremely varied” once you start looking at the relationship across cultures. » More …

Field work yields science and cultural understanding

Boersma and friends,Iridescent little fairywrens drew doctoral student Jordan Boersma to the grasslands of Papua New Guinea, but it was the unexpected generosity of the people that captured the researcher’s heart.

“I’ve traveled all over Asia and never experienced this level of hospitality. If you accept their culture, they’ll really take you in and look after you,” he says.

Hubert Schwabl, professor in the WSU School of Biological Sciences, says Boersma is one of the rare students who is able » More …

Compliance with CDC guidelines: what makes a difference?

Washing hands.Until there is a vaccine or effective treatments in place for COVID-19, public health experts are recommending preventative health behaviors such social distancing and wearing facial coverings in public to help stem the spread of the disease. But not everyone can or will enact these prevention behaviors.

Based on her lab’s prior work linking economic stressors (such as job insecurity and financial strain) with workplace safety behaviors, Tahira Probst, professor of psychology and an expert in occupational health » More …

Defending against invasive mussels

Mussels covering hydro dam equipment.So far, the Columbia River Basin, which spans an area the size of France and includes portions of seven states and parts of Canada, is the only major river basin in the United States that hasn’t been impacted by invasive quagga or zebra mussels. Researchers in the Aquatic Ecology Lab at WSU Vancouver are developing strategies to help keep it that way.

Preventing new introductions, quickly detect new arrivals, and controlling the bivalves’ spread is not an easy task: females can produce a million eggs a year and the size of larvae » More …

Interdisciplinary research on COVID-19 impact

Mother holding sleeping baby.Fifteen faculty and graduate student researchers from multiple colleges and campuses across the University recently joined forces to form the WSU COVID‑19 Infant, Maternal, and Family Health Research Collaborative.

Spanning a variety of disciplines, including biological sciences, anthropology, and psychology, the collective already has a half dozen studies lined up to address critical questions related to the impact of COVID‑19 on the health of mothers, babies, and families. » More …

Exhibition studies students research presidential art collection

Painting, “Snow and Stubble,” Z. Vanessa Helder.In 1935, Washington State College President Ernest Holland wrote to Charles Duveneck, the brother of American figure and portrait painter Frank Duveneck, who created a portrait of Charles in 1890. Holland had acquired the portrait for his personal collection. “I am fortunate to have been able to purchase the pastel portrait of yourself; and I shall be grateful to have you tell me if you know of some paintings by your brother which I might obtain…at a reasonable price,” wrote Holland.

With such gently persuasive letters, Holland was able to acquire close to 100 artworks that eventually became a founding collection for » More …

Mt. St. Helens: next generation of research

Mount St. Helens.When Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980, it leveled more than 230 square miles of forest, but it also opened a rare scientific opportunity to study how an ecosystem responds after an extreme disturbance.

WSU ecologists John Bishop and Mark Swanson have been involved in Mount St. Helens long-term research for decades and are preparing for the next generation of work. They each focus on different areas affected by the blast. No matter how severe the damage on the landscape, life has found a way to return and brought valuable » More …

Four junior faculty awarded seed grants

Seed grant awardees.From the impact of a Universal Basic Income to safer nuclear fuel, scholarly and creative work by this year’s CAS recipients of New Faculty Seed Grant awards spans a range of topics and disciplines.

The grant program helps junior faculty build a foundation for their research and creative programs. This kick-start funding creates opportunities for professional growth and also provides a basis for » More …