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College of Arts and Sciences Environment

A point of reference

A waterway at Meyer's Point“There are oysters out there,” says Ed Bassett, “and they are good.”

Out there are the mudflats of Henderson Inlet where a thriving community shellfish garden supplies delicacies for neighborhood parties and celebrations. Bassett (’89 Ed.) is standing in the eelgrass on the shoreline of WSU’s Meyer’s Point Environmental Field Station. He’s a science teacher at nearby Olympia High School (OHS), and he, his students in the OHS Earth Corps, and Meyer’s Point facilities manager Chuck Cody (’84 MS Hort.) have been planting native trees here since » More …

In search of microplastics in food

portrait outsideWhile shocking images of giant gyres of plastic trash in the world’s oceans cause widespread alarm, a more insidious threat to ecological and human health may be the nearly invisible microplastics in local waters, said environmental science professor Alex Fremier.

Supported by a Fulbright Global Scholar Award, Fremier will spend four months in Belém, Brazil, collecting water, fish and sediment samples in the Lower Amazon River Basin with the aim » More …

CAS student-athletes earn PAC-12 academic honors in rowing

multiple rowing oars on the grassEleven CAS student-athletes on the WSU women’s rowing team earned Pac-12 academic honors for 2018-2019. The WSU team led the league with a total of 23 honorees, followed by Stanford and the University of Washington.

To be eligible for selection to the PAC-12 academic teams, a student-athlete must have a minimum » More …

New faculty seed grants kick-start research, creativity

Office of ResearchSpanning  biosynthetic pharmaceuticals, intermedia art, and wildfires, three College of Arts and Sciences faculty have been awarded New Faculty Seed Grants (NFSG) to encourage the development of their research, scholarly, and creative programs.

The grants support projects that will significantly contribute to the researcher’s long range goals by kick-starting a more complex project or idea. The seed funding to junior faculty helps build » More …

$1.4M DoD grant supports new eDNA techniques

Caren Goldberg near an Idaho pond.Freshly drawn from an Idaho pond, the half-liter of water running through Caren Goldberg’s funnel-shaped filter carries trace cells and tiny fragments bearing DNA—genetic code from native frogs and salamanders.

Those few strands of code say a lot to Goldberg, a WSU scientist who studies environmental DNA, or eDNA—genetic material sampled from soil or water rather than directly from an organism. The samples not only identify the animals who live in this pond, they hold the potential to » More …

International internships, research inspire new direction

Collecting samples in Portland. Heading next to Switzerland in search of new insights about aquatic invasive species, world traveler and newly minted Ph.D. Eric Dexter is a late-blooming research success story.

Dexter was planning to become an acupuncturist when he inadvertently discovered a love for scientific research. » More …

Annual awards honor faculty, staff, student achievement

group photo on the stageSixteen faculty, six staff, and six graduate students were honored for outstanding achievement at the 2019 College of Arts and Sciences Appreciation and Recognition Social earlier this month.

Professor Mechthild Tegedar, an international leader in plant biology, and Gary Collins, a pioneer in the study of material defects, received the top two faculty awards. Chuck Cody and Paul Wheeler, both in » More …

Scientists seek causes, better predictions for South Asia’s changing monsoon

Deepti Singh, assistant professor in the School of the Environment, is trying to understand how and why the South Asian summer monsoon is changing.

Weather patterns in the region are becoming harder to predict, with rain falling in unusual amounts and locations, putting billions of lives and livelihoods at risk.

Working with colleagues in the U.S. and India, Singh has authored a new review exploring » More …

Dr. Universe: How do volcanoes erupt?

Dr. Universe behind a sleeping volcano.Wherever we find a volcano on the surface of our planet, we can find the source of an eruption beneath it. That’s what I found out from my friend John Wolff, a volcanologist at Washington State University in Pullman.

Our planet is home to all kinds of volcanoes that erupt in different ways. Some eruptions are quiet and continuous, with a slow flow of lava. Other volcanoes erupt explosively and » More …

Dr. Universe: All about bunnies

Dr. UniverseBunnies are hopping all over our planet. Some hop through snow and deserts while others hop through wetlands and woods. There are lots of different kinds of rabbits and they are all a little different. For the most part, a bunny hops, or actually runs, anywhere between 25 and 45 mph That’s even faster than most house cats can run.

My friend Paul Jensen, a graduate student researcher at WSU, studies snowshoe hares in northcentral Washington state to learn more about » More …