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College of Arts and Sciences Environment

Interdisciplinary research to save amphibians worldwide

small frog sits on a person's fingerA diverse group of WSU scientists share a common, critial goal: to prevent the occurrence of a second fungal pandemic—an explosive threat looming just over the horizon.

Their collective efforts have put WSU in the national spotlight as an emerging center for amphibian research. » More …

Watershed planning for rural growth, threatened salmon

Salmon swimming down a stream.A report by scientists with WSU’s State of Washington Water Research Center could help inform decision makers and planners in watersheds across the state, as they develop projects that balance growth with the needs of threatened salmon and steelhead.

“Our guidance highlights available approaches that can benefit endangered species and their habitat, as well as Washingtonians’ increasing need for high-quality water,” said Stephen Katz, project lead and » More …

Saving sage-grouse by relocation

A grouse flying across the landscape with Mt. Rainier in the background.Moving can be tough, but eventually most of us acclimate to new surroundings. That’s true for humans, and research from Washington State University shows it’s the same for sage-grouse too.

A team of scientists successfully moved sage-grouse, a threatened bird species in Washington state, from one area of » More …

Reintroducing endangered northern leopard frogs

several frogs sitting on wetland reedsWith the help of WSU scientists, hundreds of endangered northern leopard frogs have taken a leap back into the wild in recent weeks at the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in Grant County.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) collected northern leopard frog eggs earlier this spring, and after months of growing in conservation labs at WSU and the Oregon Zoo, the frogs were ready for release in recent weeks.

“It was really exciting to see these frogs go out into » More …

Dr. Universe: How does the moon glow?

Ask Dr. Universe by Washington State UniversityOur moon is one of the brightest objects in the night sky. But unlike a lamp or our sun, the moon doesn’t produce its own light.

Light can travel in lots of different ways. Moonlight is actually sunlight that shines on the moon and bounces off. The light reflects off old volcanoes, craters, and lava flows on the moon’s surface.

That’s what I found out from my friend Julie Menard, a geologist and researcher at WSU who studies what makes up the rocky planets in our solar system. » More …

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 …