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College of Arts and Sciences Environment

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 …

Crimson Spirit Award: Michelle Hendrickson

Michelle Hendrickson.Michelle Hendrickson, a fiscal analyst with the School of the Environment, received a 2020 Crimson Spirit recognition.

As one of her four nominators explained, “She is kind, tenacious, attentive to details, and displays a superior Crimson spirit. She maintains calm under pressure and exceeds all expectations, by continuously seeking knowledge to better serve the WSU community in and outside of SOE.” » 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 …

Faculty recognized for teaching excellence

CAS logo on white with borderSeventeen CAS faculty members from 9 academic areas and 3 campuses are among the newest members of the WSU President’s Teaching Academy, the institution’s premier organization dedicated to teaching excellence.

Members “are all committed to delivering outstanding teaching experiences to our students and advancing the practice of great teaching,” said Clif Stratton, chair. » More …

Hutton honored with Crimson Spirit award

Sophia Hutton.Sophia Hutton, administrative manager for the School of the Environment, received a 2020 Crimson Spirit award in recognition of her creative problem-solving skills and outstanding service to her unit and the University.

Hutton manages the  School of the Environment main office and staff, and assists the director and faculty, facilitates faculty searches, helps advise graduate students, and more.

A critical thinker who is always solving problems and anticipating » More …

Canada lynx disappearing from Washington state

A lynx.Canada lynx are losing ground in Washington state, even as federal officials are taking steps to remove the species’ threatened status under the Endangered Species Act.

A massive monitoring study led by WSU researchers has found lynx on only about 20% of its potential habitat in the state. The results paint an alarming picture not only for the persistence of lynx but also many other cold-adapted species, said Dan Thornton, an assistant professor in the School of the Environment.

“Lynx are good sentinel species for climate change,” said Thornton, the corresponding author on » More …

Dr. Universe: How do earthquakes happen?

Dr. UniverseWe’ve had a lot of earthquakes on our planet this year. Maybe you’ve learned about them from the news or felt one shaking up your own neighborhood. Earthquakes can happen in a few different ways.

First, it is important to know a bit about the Earth’s outer layer, or crust. The crust is made of seven big pieces called “plates.” They are about 60 miles thick and sort of float on the molten rock beneath them. That’s what I found out from my friend Sean Long, a WSU geology professor who knows a lot about earthquakes. » More …

2019 news recap: CAS research made headlines worldwide

CAS logo on white with borderFrom Instagram selfies to an ancient tattoo tool, research from the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) made headlines around the world in 2019. The University distributed press releases for more than 65 scientific papers last year, including many from CAS faculty and scientists. Together, the findings were seen potentially billions of times by readers and viewers worldwide, elevating WSU’s profile as a premier public research university.

Four CAS stories graced the top 10, and eight more rounded out the top 50 stories. » More …

Mapping natural and legal boundaries to help wildlife move

A forest stream.Wildlife need to move to survive: to find food, reproduce and escape wildfires and other hazards. Yet as soon as they leave protected areas like national forests or parks, they often wind up on a landscape that is very fragmented in terms of natural boundaries and human ones.

To help create more corridors for wildlife movement, a team led by School of Environment graduate student Amanda Stahl has developed a way to map » More …